THE WESLEY FAMILY;
ITS EARLIER BRANCHES.
Such a family I have never read of, heard of, or known ; nor since the days of
ABRAHAM and SARAH, and JOSEPH and MARY of Nazareth, hat there ever been a
family to which the human race has been more indebted.
DR. ADAM CLARKE.
SIMPKIN & MARSHALL, STATIONERS HALL COURT;
AND HENRY SPINK, LEEDS.
The eventful and important Life of the venerable
Founder of Arminian Methodism has been fre
quently laid before the Public ; but there is reason
to believe that the history of his Paternal and
Maternal ANCESTORS is only partially known,
even amongst the members of the Methodist So
ciety. The late DR. ADAM CLARKE, published
in 1822, " Memoirs of the Wesley Family" in a
large octavo volume, but which, on account of
the introduction of a vast quantity of extraneous
and unnecessary matter, is not well adapted for
general circulation. The Price also prevented
many from purchasing it.
On these grounds the Compiler of the following
Work is of opinion, that a condensed, and well
arranged Memoir of the Wesley Family, at a
moderate price, and written "with special refer
ence to general readers," was still wanting. This
conviction led him to prepare the present Work,
which he hopes contains all that is really in
teresting in Dr. Clarke s publication, together
with a considerable quantity of new matter,
collected from a great variety of sources. It has
been his endeavour to free the narrative from
all those details "which are comparatively
uninteresting beyond the immediate circle of
Wesleyan Methodism," and to adapt it to the
perusal of the Public at large.
This volume being designed as introductory to
MR. WATSON S excellent Life of the Founder of
Methodism, the Lives of MESSRS. JOHN and
CHARLES WESLEY are not given; as all that
is interesting to the general reader, respecting
those eminent Ministers, is furnished with great
judgment and propriety by Mr. Watson, in his
December 24, 1832.
The Origin of the Wesley Family. The orthography of the
name. Mr. Wesley s Ancestors Non-conformists. The Act of
Uniformity. Archbishop Sheldon s intolerance. The noble con
duct of the ejected Ministers. The Conventicle Act. The
Corporation Act. The Test Act. Sufferings of the Non
conformists.... .. 1 15
Ejected from Charmouth, Dorset. Practices as a Physician.
Affected by the death of his son. Anthony Wood s notice of him.
Bishop Burnet s character of Wood 15 19
JOHN WESLEY, VICAR OF WHITCHURCH.
Sent to Oxford university, where he obtains the confidence of
Dr. Owen. Settles at Whitchurch, in Dorsetshire, and marries.
His interview with Bishop Ironside. Mr. Wesley committed to
prison for not reading the Book of Common Prayer. His trial
and answers to the judge. Wishes to visit South America as a
Missionary. His further sufferings in the cause of Non-conformity.
His death and character. His widow 19 32
DR. SAMUEL ANNESLEY.
His birth and relationship. His early piety. Sent to the
university of Oxford. Settles at Cliffe, in Kent. Preaches before
the House of Commons. Promoted to St. Paul s and St Giles s
Cripplegate. Ejected by the Act of Uniformity. Becomes pastor
of a church in Little St. Helen s. Has the chief management of
the Morning Lecture. Daniel de Foe and John Dunton attend
his ministry. Their account of Dr. Annesley. His temperance.
His death. His character by Dr. Williams, Baxter, and
Calamy. His works 32 43
DR. ANNESLEY S CHILDREN.
SAMUEL ANNESLEY JUN. Goes to the East Indies. Acquires
a large fortune, but is suddenly cut off. Mrs. Wesley s letter
to him. His widow s bequest to the Wesley family. Miss
ELIZABETH ANNESLEY. Marries John Dunton, the celebrated
bookseller. Their strong attachment to each other. Her death
and character. Miss JUDITH ANNESLEY. Her personal appear
ance and piety. Miss ANNE ANNESLEY. Her character by
Dunton. Miss SUSANNA ANNESLEY 43 66
Studies medicine. Visits his brother at Epworth. Mrs.
Wesley s account of that visit. Matthew s mean-spirited letter to
his brother. The Rector s reply. Mrs. Wright s verses to the
memory of her uncle. 66 80
SAMUEL WESLEY, RECTOR OF EPWORTH.
Educated in a Dissenting academy. Goes to the university of
Oxford. His reasons for leaving the Dissenters. Writes against
their Academies. Marries Dr. Annesley s youngest daughter.
Solicited to favour Popery by the friends of James II. Writes in
favour of the Revolution of 1688. Presented to the Rectory of
Epworth. Mrs. Wesley and her husband differ as to the title of
William III. The Rector proposed for an Irish bishoprick.
Archbishop Sharp a kind friend to him. His letters to the
Archbishop. The Parsonage-house destroyed by fire. Mrs-
Wesley s account of that calamity. Strange Phenomena in the
Parsonage-house after it was rebuilt. Dr. Priestley s opinion of
these disturbances. Mr. Wesley s Dissertations on the book of
Job. This book presented to the Queen by his son John. The
Rector s death, as detailed by his son Charles. His character.
Anecdotes respecting him. His works 80 152
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
Becomes the wife of Mr. Samuel Wesley. Her numerous
family, and excellent management. Her mode of educating the
children. Her religious character. When her husband was from
home, she publicly read sermons at the Parsonage-house. Is
censured for this exercise. Her admirable defence of it to her
husband. The conduct of the Epworth curate in this matter.
Her excellent letters to her son John. Unworthy reflections upon
her religious experience. Is visited by Mr. Whitfield. Her
death, character, and epitaph 152 179
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
Sent to Westminster school. Mrs. Wesley s excellent letter
to him. Noticed by Bishop Sprat. Removes to Christ Church.
Oxford. Appointed one of the Ushers in Westminster school.
His intimacy with Bishop Atterbury. His Epigrams against Sir
Robert Walpole. Accepts the Mastership of Tiverton school,
Devonshire. His letter to his mother on her countenancing the
Methodists. Publishes a volume of Poems. Intimate with Lord
Oxford and Mr. Pope. Their letters to him,. His death, cha
racter, and epitaph 179 220
THE RECTOR OF EPWORTH S DAUGHTERS.
Miss EMILIA WESLEY. Marries Mr. Harper, Her letter to
her brother John. Her character by Mrs. Wright. Her death.
Miss MARY WESLEY. Marries Mr. Whitelamb. Her character
and epitaph by Mrs. Wright. Miss ANNE WESLEY. Marries
Mr. Lambert. Verses on her marriage by her brother Samuel.
Miss SUSANNA WESLEY Marries Mr. Ellison. This union
proves unhappy. Account of their children. MR. JOHN WESLEY.
Baptized John Benjamin. Miss MEHETABEL WESLEY
Marries Mr. Wright. Possesses a fine poetic talent. Her
marriage unhappy. Addresses some lines to her husband. Also
to her dying infant, &c. Her death. Miss MARTHA WESLEY
A favourite with her mother. Marries Mr. Hall, who also addres
ses her sister Ke/zia. Charles Wesley s severe verses to Martha.
Dr. Clarke s vindication of Mrs. Hall. Mr. John Wesley s
opinion of Hall. His licentious conduct. Mrs. Hall s behaviour
under this affliction. Her acquaintance with Dr. Samuel Johnson.
-Her death. MR. CHARLES WESLEY Anecdote respecting
him. Miss KEZZIA WESLEY Her letter to her brother John.
Her death 220-268
A. On the Doctrine of Passive Obedience.
B. Biographical Sketch of John Dunton.
C. The History of the Calves -head Club.
D. Disturbances in the Parsonage-house, at Epworth.
THE WESLEY FAMILY.
THE ORIGIN OF THE WESLEY FAMILY. THE ORTHOGRAPHY OF
THE NAME. MR. WESLEY S ANCESTORS NON-CONFORMISTS.
THE ACT OF UNIFORMITY. ARCHBISHOP SHELDON S INTOLER
ANCE. THE NOBLE CONDUCT OF THE EJECTED MINISTERS.
THE CONVENTICLE ACT. THE CORPORATION ACT. THE TEST
ACT. SUFFERINGS OF THE NON-CONFORMISTS.
Of the Wesley Family little is known previously
to the seventeenth century. Some persons have given
the family a Spanish origin. The Wesleys themselves
believed they came originally from Saxony, and that
a branch of the paternal tree was planted in Ireland.
DR. ADAM CLARKE states that he met with a family in
the county of Antrim called Posley or Postlcy, who
said that their name was originally Wesley, but which
had been corrupted by a provincial pronunciation of
P. for W.
As to the orthography of the name, it appears by the
autographs of all the family, from the rector of Epworth
down to the present time, to have been written Wesley.
When Samuel Wesley, sen. entered at Oxford, he signed
Wesdey, but afterwards dropped the t, which he said
was restoring the name to its original orthography.
That some of the remote branches of the Wesley family
had been in the Crusades, or went on a pilgrimage to
the Holy Land, may be inferred from their bearing the
escallop shell in their arms.
The ANCESTORS of Mr. John Wesley, both in the
paternal and maternal line, were strict and conscientious
Non-conformists. They suffered great persecution
during the reign of the Stuarts, and especially in that
of Charles II. As the acts then passed for the
restriction of religious liberty, had a most important
influence on the circumstances and situation of the
grandfathers, and great grandfather of the founder of
Methodism, it may not be thought irrelevant, previous
ly to entering on the personal history of the family, to
give a brief account of these enactments, and also to
point out their intolerant nature, and the effects they
produced on the nation.
THE " ACT OF UNIFORMITY" obtained the royal as
sent May 19th, 1662, and was enforced throughout the
kingdom after the 24th of August following. This memo
rable act, which was chiefly promoted by LORD CLAREN
DON and BISHOP SHELDON, required, that all clergymen,
all residents in the Universities, schoolmasters, and even
private tutors, should profess their unfeigned assent and
consent to all and every thing contained in the book of
Common Prayer, and to pledge themselves to the then
fashionable doctrine of passive obedience. It was urged
by a few sober men, that the volume referred to was of
considerable extent, and related to topics of great va
riety and importance; and that in many instances the
ministers could not procure the book before the law
required them to swear to it. But arguments of this
kind were lost upon the impassioned theologians of the
lower house. LOCKE observes of this act, that " it
was fatal to the church and religion, in throwing out a
very great number of worthy, learned, pious and or
thodox divines, who could not come up to all the things
in the act. So great was the zeal in carrying on this
church affair, and so blind was the obedience required,
that if we compute the time of passing this act with
the time allowed the clergy to subscribe the book of
Common Prayer, we shall find it could not be printed
and distributed, so as that one man in forty could have
seen and read the book to which they were to assent
SHELDON, Bishop of London, afterwards Archbishop
of Canterbury, confessed to the EARL of MANCHESTER,
that the design of the Act of Uniformity was to compel the
Presbyterians to become Non-conformists, or knaves.*
* This prelate, who was at the head of the persecutors in the church, as
Clarendon was in the state, and who BISHOP B0RNET said "regarded reli
gion only as an engine of state," seems to have been as insensible to the de
corum belonging to religion, as he was to good feeling and humanity. Of
this, PEPYS has recorded the following piece of buffoonery and profaneness
acted at Lambeth Palace when he was dining there. "May 14,1669. At
noon to dine with the Archbishop at Lambeth ; where I met a great deal of
company, though an ordinary day, and exceeding good cheer, no where
better, or so much that ever I saw. Most of the company being gone, I was
informed by a gentleman of a sermon that was to be preached ; and so I
staid to hear it, thinking it serious, till the gentleman told me it was a
mockery by one CORN ET BOLTON, who, behind a chair, did pray and preach
like a Presbyterian Scot, with all the possible imitations in grimace and voice.
And his text was about hanging up theirharpsupon the willows, exclaiming
against Bishops, and crying up of my good LoKD F.GLING1ON , till it made
us all burst. I did wonder the Archbishop made sport with things of this kind,
but I perceived it was shown him as a rarity. And he took care to have
the room door shut; but there was about twenty gentlemen and myself
present, infinitely pleased with the novelty."
When, however, the appointed day arrived, above two
thousand clergymen made the better choice. They
were most of them needy, and with dependent families,
but cast themselves on Providence. After the act had
come into operation, DR. ALLEN said to SHELDON, that
"it was a pity the door was made so strait;" to which
the bishop answered, " It is no pity at all ; if we had
thought so many would have conformed, we would have
made it straiter."*
The day chosen for this unrighteous exercise of
power was the feast of St. Bartholomew;, a season al
ready memorable in the annals of ecclesiastical in
tolerance. The massacre of the Parisian protestants,
and the policy then adopted toward the English non
conformists, were alike in their principle. It is not to
be supposed that this day was selected to aid the
sufferers in making such a comparison; but it was
chosen for a reason which makes the resemblance less
distant than it would otherwise have been. The tithes
for the year became due from the feast of St. Bartholo
mew ; and by removing the incumbents on that day,
the punishment of deprivation was followed in many
cases, by the pressure of immediate want ; while the
clergy, who succeeded their ejected brethren, were
empowered to reap where they had not sown.
The severity of these proceedings is without
parallel in the history of English protestantism. On
the accession of ELIZABETH, many Catholic priests
were deprived of their livings, but they were all pro
vided for by the government, though known to be its
enemies. The same was the case with the Episcopalian
* Neal s History of the Puritans.
clergy during the then late commotions : a fifth of their
revenue being secured to them. But here were men
whose loyalty had proved itself to be most ardent;
men who could appeal to the royal promise as grossly
belied by this aggression, and who were nevertheless
expelled, with circumstances of studied violence and
. , c^
cruelty, and in a season of profound peace.*
Ecclesiastical history does not previously furnish
such an instance of so noble an army of confessors,
taking joyfully the spoiling of their goods, rather than
violate their consciences. This honour was reserved
for the English dissenters. Never before did the world
see such a sacrifice. A person, who was no dissenter,
observed at the time, "I am glad so many have chosen
suffering, rather than conformity to the establishment;
for had they complied, the world would have thought
there had been nothing in religion; but now they have
a striking proof, that there are some who are sincere
in their profession."
Men who are acquainted with the character of the
Non-conformists, must often be surprised at the lan
guage adopted concerning them by certain writers, who
would be thought particularly enlightened on these
subjects. It is amusing to observe the airs of wisdom
with which these persons affect to deplore the weakness
of so many well-meaning individuals, who, to escape
kneeling at an altar, or wearing a surplice, could expose
* CLARENDON determined to know the Non-conformists in no other
character than as "promoters of the rebellion, and as having no title to their
lives, hut the king s mercy." Their pleading for liberty of conscience, he
ascribes to their characteristic "impudence" and "malice," and to the
" want of more severity in the government."
themselves to so much suffering.* But these persons
should be reminded that the sum HAMPDEN was called
to pay under the name of ship-money , was a very small
sum ; but inasmuch as it was a tax imposed by an
authority which had no right to impose taxes, it was a
trifle involving a momentous precedent. The men
who stood forth in 1662, waging the war of freedom
against the powers of intolerance, were in no small
measure the saviours of their country; and well would
it be if thousands who have since bestowed pity on
their weakness, could manifest a fair portion of their
strength strength, we mean, to lay hold on important
principles, and to suffer with a martyr s firmness in the
defence of them. Such men as OWEN, BAXTER, HOWE,
and CALAMY, had few equals in their day, either in
learning or in judgment, as their opponents well
knew. They were as capable of forming enlarged and
* Even BISHOP HEBER, with all his amiableness and intelligence, can
speak of the scruples of the Non-conformists as being merely the "colour of
a garment, the wording of a prayer, or kneeling at the sacrament." It must
be recollected that the case was not whether men might observe the Lord s
supper kneeling, but whether it should be refused to all who \vouldnotkneel.
To do justice to the Bartholomew confessors, we ought to place ourselves
in their circumstances. Suppose that the rulers of the church of England
were now to determine "That, on or before the 24th of August, 1833, the
present occupants of livings, curacies, &c. shall subscribe a declaration, en
gaging themselves to baptise no child, without the employment of salt, oil,
and spittle, as a part of the ordinance of baptism ; to administer the Lord s
supper to those only who should previously bow to the sacred chalice, and
submit to a bread wafer being put upon their tongues." What would the
serious clergy of the church of England think to such a demand? Would
they submit to it as a just exercise of ecclesiastical authority ? Would they
not to a man abandon their livings, rather than allow their consciences thus
to be lorded over and defiled ? Or if they submitted to such exactions,
would they not be justly regarded by their flocks and countrymen, as traitors
and time-servers ? Yet this supposed case is not stronger than that of the
comprehensive views of truth and duty, as PEARSON,
GUNNING, MORLEY, or any other of their episcopal adver
saries ; whilst, as it regards the evidences of Christian
character, there are few of the class from which they
seceded, who can be compared with them.
The Protestant dissenters of every denomination
have ever been accustomed to revere the memory of
the Non-conformist divines, though they may differ
widely from them in doctrinal sentiments. The words of
DR. JOHN TAYLOR, formerly of Norwich, are remarkable
in this view. In remonstrating against the design of
some dissenters in Lancashire to introduce a liturgy,
he refers them to their forefathers as having set them
a better example, of whom he gives the following
character : " The principles and worship of dissenters
are not formed upon such slight foundation as the un
learned and thoughtless may imagine. They were
thoroughly considered, and judiciously reduced to the
standard of scripture, and the writings of antiquity ;
the Bartholomew divines were men prepared to lose
all, and to suffer martyrdom itself, and who actually
resigned their livings (which with most of them were,
under God, all that they and their families had to sub
sist upon) rather than desert the cause of civil and
religious liberty ; which, together with serious religion,
would, I am persuaded, have sunk to a very low ebb in
the nation, had it not been for the bold and noble stand
that these worthies made against imposition upon con
science, profaneness and arbitrary power. They had
the best education England could then afford; most
of them were excellent scholars, judicious divines,
pious, faithful and laborious ministers; of great zeal
for God and religion; undaunted and courageous in
their Master s work ; keeping close to their people in
the worst of times; diligent in their studies, solid, af
fectionate, powerful, lively, awakening preachers ; aim
ing at the advancement of real vital religion in the
hearts and lives of men, which it cannot be denied,
flourished greatly wherever they could influence. Par
ticularly they were men of great devotion, and eminent
abilities in prayer, uttered as God enabled them, from
the abundance of their hearts and affections ; men of
divine eloquence in pleading at the throne of grace ;
raising and melting the affections of their hearers, and
being happily instrumental in transfusing into their
souls the same spirit and heavenly gift. And this was
the ground of all their other qualifications; they were
excellent men, because excellent, instant and fervent
in prayer. Such were the fathers, the first formers of
the dissenting interest. And you here in Lancashire
had a large share of those burning and shining lights.
Those who knew them not might despise them, but
your forefathers, wiser and less prejudiced, esteemed
them highly in love for their works sake. You were
once happy in your NEWCOMBES, JOLLIES, and HEY-
WOODS, who left all to follow Christ; but Providence
cared for them, and they had great comfort in their
ministerial services. The presence and blessing of
God appeared in their assemblies, and attended their
labours. How many were converted and built up in
godliness and sobriety by their prayers, pains, doctrines
and conversations ! How many days, on particular oc
casions, were set apart and, spent in warm addresses to
the throne of grace, and how much to the comfort of
those who joined in them ! But now, alas ! we are
pursuing measures which have a manifest tendency to
extinguish the light which they kindled, to damp the
spirit which they enlivened, and to dissipate and dis
solve the societies which they raised and formed!
Let my soul for ever be with the souls of these men."
Of the "Act of Uniformity," DR. ADAM CLARKE says,
" I am not surprised that so great a number of ministers
then left the church, as that one conscientious man
was found to retain his living. High churchmen may
extol the authors of this act as deserving the everlast
ing praises of the church ! but while honesty can be
considered a blessing in society; while humanity and
mercy are esteemed the choicest characteristics of man,
and while sound learning is valued as the ornament and
handmaid of religion, this act must be regarded a* a
scandal to the state, and a reproach to the church."*
In addition to this infamous statute, there was
another passed in 1664, called THE CONVENTICLE ACT.
It was pretended that disaffected persons might as
semble on the plea of religious worship, to promote
treasonable designs ; and a bill was passed, in which
all private meetings for religious exercises, including
more than fine persons, besides the members of the
family, were insultingly described as Conventicles, and
declared to be unlawful and seditious. The offender
against this act was fined in the first instance 5, or
imprisoned three months ; for the second 10, or im
prisoned six months ; for a third offence the penalty of
100, or transportation for seven years. All this was
* After the passing of the " Act of Uniformity," the name of Puritan was
changed to that of Non-conformist.
done in contempt of that sacred institute trial by jury,
the awarding of these penalties being left to the dis
cretion of any justice of the peace. "The calamity of
this act," says BAXTER, " in addition to the main mat
ter, is, that it was made so ambiguous, that no man
could tell what was a violation of it, and what was not,
not knowing 1 what was allowed by the liturgy or prac
tice of the church of England, in families ; and among
the diversity of family practice, no man knowing what
to call the practice of the church. According to the
plain words of the act, if a man did but preach and
pray, or read some licensed book, and sing psalms, he
might have more than four present, because these are
allowed by the practice of the church ; and the act
seemeth to grant indulgence for place and number,
if the quality of the exercise be allowed by the church,
which must be meant publicly. But when it comes to
trial, these pleas, with the justices, are. vain; for if
men did but pray, it was considered an exercise not
allowed by the church, and to jail they went." "The
people were in great strait," continues Baxter, " those
especially who dwelt near any busy officer, or malicious
enemy. Many durst not pray in their families, if above
four persons came in to dine with them. In a gentle
man s house, where it was ordinary for more than four
visiters to be at dinner, many durst not then go to
prayer, and some scarcely durst crave a blessing on
their meat, or give God thanks for it. Some thought
they might venture, if they withdrew into another room,
and left the strangers by themselves : but others said,
it is all one if they be in the same house, though out of
hearing, when it cometh to the judgment of justices."
INTRODUCTION. 1 1
All classes of dissenters were comprehended in the
prohibition of this act. But the QUAKERS, who pro
fessed themselves to be moved to assemble openly,
heedless of the law of man, were the greatest sufferers.
The jails were crowded with them, and became scenes
of wretchedness, to which a modern slave-ship affords
the only resemblance.*
But the triumph of the oppressor was not yet
complete. Most of the non-conforming clergy remained
in the midst of the people who had constituted their
charge, and gave so much of a religious character to
their more frequent intercourse with them, as in some
measure supplied the place of their former services as
preachers. By this means also, much of that pecu
niary support of which their ejectment was expected to
deprive them, continued to be received ; and their in
fluence through the country was not lessened by their
appearing among their followers in the light of sufferers,
on the score of integrity and true religion.
There was also another circumstance which served
about this time to place the Non-conformist clergy in
an advantageous contrast with their opponents. During
the recess of parliament in 1665, many of the latter fled
from London to avoid the ravages of the plague,
leaving, as hirelings, their flocks when they see the
wolf coming; while the Non-conformist ministers
chose rather to share in the danger of their friends.
* Had the Dissenters generally evinced the same determined spirit as the
Quakers, the sufferings of all parties would sooner have come to an end;
for government must have given way. The conduct of the Friends, in this
instance, is highly to their honour.
Some of them presumed to ascend the vacant pulpits,
and preacli to the affrighted inhabitants.
The parliament, to escape the infection from the
plague, held its next session at Oxford ; and amongst
its earliest proceedings was the passing of a bill which
required every person in holy orders, who had not
complied with the "Act of Uniformity," to take the oath
respecting passive obedience,* and to bind himself
against any endeavour towards an alteration in the
government of the church or the state. The persons
refusing this oath were prohibited from acting as
tutors or schoolmasters ; and were not to be seen
within_/?Bc miles of any city, corporate town, or borough.
Thus most of the ejected ministers were banished to
obscure villages, where they were not only separated
from their friends, but were generally surrounded by a
people sunk in the grossest ignorance, and easily
wrought upon to treat them with the most rancorous
It is due to the memory of BISHOPS RAINBOW,
WILKINS and WILLIAMS, to record, that they had the
* See APPENDIX A.
+ The passage which follows is descriptive of a state of things which
became common to nearly every county in the kingdom. BAXTER informs us
that "Mr. Taverner, then late minister of Uxbridge, was sentenced to
Newgate/or teaching a/ei< children at Brentford. Mr. Button, of Brent
ford, a most humble, godly man, who never had been in orders, or a preacher,
but orator to the university of Oxford, was sent to gaol Jor teaching tn<o
knights sons in his house, not having taken the Oxford oath. Many of his
neighbours at lirentford were sent to the same prison for worshipping God
in private together, where they alllay several months." PEPYS says in his
diary, August, 1004, "I saw several poor creatures carried to-day to gaol by
constables, for being at a conventicle. They go like lambs, without any
resistance. I would to God they would conform, or be more wise, and not
be catched ."
courage to oppose the Conventicle Act, as a barbarous
invasion of the liberties of the country. The king re
quested BISHOP WILLIAMS not to speak against the bill,
or to stay from the house whilst it was debated ; but he
told His Majesty that as an Englishman, and a senator,
he was bound to speak his mind. BISHOP EARLE also
did the same by the Oxford Act ; concerning which the
Lord Treasurer Southampton shrewdly observed, that
"though he liked Episcopacy, he would not be sworn
to it, because he might hereafter be of another opinion."
The number of tolerant prelates, however, was too small
to have a decisive influence ; though they had the ar
gument on the score of policy, as well as of good morals.
This was well illustrated by BISHOP WILKINS, in a
conversation with COSIN, Bishop of Durham, who had
censured him for his moderation. "Wilkius frankly
told the bishop that he was a better friend to the church
than his Lordship; "For while," says he, "you are
for setting the top on the piqued end downwards, you
wont be able to keep it up any longer than you continue
whipping and scourging; whereas, I am for setting the
broad end downwards, and so twill stand of itself."
But the cup of intolerance was not yet considered
full ; and therefore in 1673 a statute was passed entitled
"an Act for preventing the dangers which may happen
from Popish Recusants." Although this act was profess
edly aimed at the Catholics, it was so worded as to
include, within its capacious grasp, all persons who dis
sented from the Parliamentary church. It is generally
known by the name of THE TEST ACT, and excluded from
any office of trust or profit, those who did not renounce
the doctrines of Transubstantiation, and receive the
ordinance of the Lord s supper in the manner prescribed
by the church of England.* It is however to the credit
and happiness of the present times, that these, with
other test acts, then passed, are no longer suffered to
disgrace the statute book of this realm.
Of the sufferings of the Non-conformists, no exact
estimate can be made; but the record is on high,
where the souls of those suffering men from beneath
the altar of God cry "how long, Lord, holy, just and
true." JEREMY WHITE is said to have collected a list
of sixty thousand persons who suffered for dissent be
tween the Restoration and the Revolution, of whoni/foe
thousand died in prison. LORD DORSET was assured
by Mr. White, that king James II. had offered him a
thousand guineas for the manuscript ; but, in tender
ness to the reputation of the church of England, he
determined to conceal the black record. f It is also
stated, that within three years, during the reign of
Charles II. property was wrung from the Non-conform
ists to the amount of two millions sterling.
* This imposition was noticed in the following stanzas :
" Dissenters they were to be pressed,
To go to Common Prayer ;
And turn their/aces to the East,
As God were only (here.
" Or else no place of price or trust,
They ever could obtain;
Which shows the saying very just,
That godliness is gain. "
+ Mr. John Wesley in his journal says, "1 saw DR. CALAMY S abridge
ment of Baxter s life. What a scene is opened there ! In spite of all my
prejudices of education, I could not but see (hat the Non-conformists had
been used without either justice or meicy; and that many of tlie Protestant
bishops had no more religion nor humanity, than the Popish bishops."
KJECTED FROM CHARMOUTH, DORSET. PRACTISES AS A PHYSICI
AN. AFFECTED BY THE DEATH OF HIS SON. ANTHONY WOOD S
NOTICE OF HIM. BISHOP BURNET*S CHARACTER OF ANTHONY
This gentleman, the first of the Wesley family of
whom we have any authentic account, was the great
grandfather of the founder of Arminian Methodism, and
ejected in 1662 from the living of Charmouth, in Dor
setshire, by the operation of the Act of Uniformity.
DR. CALAMY states, that when Bartholomew Wesley
was at the University, he applied to the study of physic,
as well as divinity ; and, after his ejectment, he princi
pally confined himself to the practice of medicine, by
which he gained a livelihood ; though he continued, as
the times would permit, to preach occasionally.* Thus,
the medical knowledge which he had acquired from
motives of charity, became afterwards the means of his
It appears from the history of the Non-conformists,
that many of the ministers, when ejected, had recourse
to the practice of physic for a subsistence. They were
not allowed to act as preachers either in public or pri
vate ; and though their learned education qualified
* PALMER S Non-conformists Memorial.
16 BARTHOLOMEW WESLEY.
them to be instructors of youth, yet this was also, on
grievous penalties, proscribed. Some of them, indeed,
had received previous qualifications at the University
for the praclice of physic, as in the case of Mr.
Bartholomew Wesley; but others had no advantage
of this kind, and therefore practised at great hazard,
which caused one of them to say to the person by whom
his ejectment was put in force, "I perceive that this is
likely to occasion the death of many." The com
missioner, supposing these words to savour of contu
macy and rebellion, questioned him severely on the
subject. To whom he replied, "that being deprived by
the act of every means of obtaining his bread in the
manner he was best qualified, he had recourse to the
praclice of medicine, which he did not properly under
stand, and thereby the lives of some of his patients
might be endangered." This was no doubt the case
in many instances ; for if the regular and well-educated
practitioners be liable to mistakes, and nothing is more
certain, what must be the case with the unskilful ?*
From DR. CALAMY S account, it appears that Mr.
Wesley s preaching was not very popular, owing to a
peculiar plainness of speech. In what this consisted
we are not informed; but we know that plainness of
speech, when the sense is good, and the doctrine sound,
would not prevent the popularity of any preacher in the
present day. Mr. Bartholomew Wesley does not ap
pear to have lived long after his ejectment ; but when
he died, is uncertain. All we know of him is, that he
was so much affected by the premature death of his
* BAXTER, whenhe first settled at Kidderminster, gave advice in physic
gratis, and was very successful.
excellent son John, who was also a minister, that this
circumstance brought down his grey hairs with sorrow
to the grave about 1670.
There is a story told of Bartholomew Wesley by
ANTHONY WOOD, in his " Athense Oxonicnsis," to the
following effect. Speaking of Mr. Samuel Wesley,
Rector of Epworth, he says, "the said Samuel Wesley
is grandson to Wesley, the fanatical minister,
sometime of Charmouth, in Dorsetshire. In 1651,
king CHARLES II. and LORD WILMOT had like to have
been by him betrayed, when they continued incognito,
in that county."*
* LORD CLARENDON S account of Charles arrival at Charmoiith is as
follows :" It was a solemn fast-day observed in those times to inflame the
people against the king, and there was a chapel in that village over
against the inn where the king and his companion lodged, in which chapel
a weaver, who had been a soldier, used to preach and utter all the villany
imaginable against the government; and he was then preaching to his con
gregation, (when the king left the inn) and telling them that Charles Stuart
was lurking somewhere in that county, and that they would merit from God
if they could find him out. The passengers who had lodged in the same inn
that night, had, as soon as they were up, sent for a smith to examine the
shoes of their horses, it being a hard frost. The smith, as soon as he
had done what he was sent for, examined the feet of the other two horses,
to find more work. When he had observed them, he told the host of the house
that one of those horses had travelled far; and that he was sure that his
four shoes had been made in four several counties ; which was very true.
The smith going to the sermon, told this story to some of his neighbours, and
so it came to the ears of the preacher when his sermon was done. Imme
diately the preacher sent for an officer and searched the inn, and inquired
for those horses ; and being informed that they were gone, he caused them
to be followed, and inquiry to be made after the two men who rid the horses,
and positively declared that one of them was Charles Stuart."
PEI YS account of this escape, as taken from the King himself, is,
"The horses were ordered to be got ready, and the King s, which carried <
double, (for he rode before Mrs. Conisby as a servant, by the name of
William Jtitkson,) having a shoe loose, a smith was sent for, who looking
over the shoes of the other horses, he said he knew that some of them had
been shod near Worcester. When he had fastened the shoes, he went presently
to consult Westby, [the similarity of this name with Weslej/ appears to have
misled Wood] a rigid, foolish Presbyterian minister of Charmouth, who
was then in a long-winded prayer; and before he had done, the King was
gone on with Mrs. Conisby and Mr, Wyndham to Bridpcrt."
This tale of the crabbed and bigotted ANTHONY
WOOD, like many other of his slanders, appears, upon
reference to the account given of the King s escape
after the battle of Worcester, by LORD CLARENDON and
others, to be inconsistent and absurd. We need not
be surprised that the man who was capable of reviling
the celebrated JOHN LOCKE, JOHN OWEN, and several
other eminent men, should designate Mr. Bartholomew
Wesley, the fanatical minister of Charmouth. BISHOP
BURNET, who was contemporary with Wood, and well
acquainted with the virulence of his spirit, gives him
the following character. " That poor writer, Wood, in
his Athense Oxoniensis, has thrown together such a
tumultuary mixture of stuff and tattle, and was so visi
bly a tool of the church of Rome, that no man who has
any regard for his own reputation, will take upon trust
what is said by one who has no reputation to lose."
JOHN WESLEY, VICAR OF WHITCHURCH.
SENT TO OXFORD UNIVERSITY, WHERE HE OBTAINS THE CONFI
DENCE OF DR. OWEN. SETTLES AT WH1TCH URCH, IN DORSET
SHIRE, AND MARRIES. HIS INTERVIEW WITH BISHOP IRONSIDE.
MR. WESLEY COMMITTED TO PRISON FOR NOT READING THE
BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER. HIS TRIAL AND ANSWERS TO THE
JUDGE. WISHES TO VISIT SOITH AMERICA AS A MISSIONARY.
HIS FURTHER SUFFERINGS IN THE CAUSE OF NON-CONFOKMITY.
HIS DEATH AND CHARACTER. HIS WIDOW.
JOHN WESLEY, A. M., son of Bartholomew, was
religiously brought up, and early dedicated by his
father to the work of the ministry. At a proper age
he was entered of New Inn Hall, Oxford. He applied
himself particularly to the study of the Oriental lan
guages, in which he is said to have made great profi
ciency, and gained the esteem of DR. JOHN OWEN, then
Vice Chancellor of the University, who showed him
great kindness. That Mr. Wesley possessed the
confidence and regard of this " prince of divines," is
no small honour.*
* "Thename of OWEN" say the historians of the Dissenters, "has been
raised to imperial dignity in the theological world. A young minister who
wishes to attain eminence, if he has not the works of HOWE, and can pro
cure them in no other way, should sell his coat and buy them ; and if that
will not suffice, let him sell his bed too, and lie on the floor; and if he spend
his days in reading them, he will not complain that he lies hard at night."
But " if the theological student should part with his coat or his bed to procure
the works of Howe, he that would not sell his shirt to procure those of
JOHN OWEN, and especially his Exposition, of which every sentence is pre
cious, shows too much regard for his body, and too little for his immortal
20 JOHN WESLEY,
Mr. Wesley began to preach at the age of twenty-
two, and in May 1653, settled at Whitchurch, a vicarage
in Dorsetshire, the income of which was only 30 per
annum. He was promised an augmentation of 100
a year; but the changes which then took place in the
government prevented him from receiving this advance.
Whilst at Whitchurch, he married the niece of DR.
THOMAS FULLER, author of the Worthies of England,
who was celebrated for his learning and prodigious
memory, and also for the facility with which he clothed
fine thoughts in beautiful language.* By this lady he
had two sons, MATTHEW and SAMUEL, whom we shall
notice hereafter. DR. CALAMY says he had a numerous
family, but the names of none but these two have come
down to posterity. It appears that, like his father
Bartholomew, he had serious scruples against the book
of Common Prayer ; and soon after the Restoration
some of his neighbours gave him a great deal of trouble
on this account.
They complained of him to DR. GILBERT IRONSIDE,
then Bishop of Bristol, and laid many grievous things
to his charge. Mr. Wesley, on being informed that the
bishop desired to speak with him,waited on his Lordship,
* DK. FULLER could repeat a sermon verbatim after once hearing it,
and undertook, in passing to and from Temple Bar to the Poultry, to tell
every sign as it stood in order on both sides of the way, and to repeat them
either backwards or forwards ; which he actually did. He also possessed a
great deal of wit, which he could not suppress in his most serious composi
tions, but it was always made subservient to some good purpose. He had
all the rich imagery of BISHOP HALL, with more familiarity, but less ele
gance. He was fond of punning on others, and sometimes was repaid in his
own coin. Being in company with a gentleman whose name was Sparrorv-
harvk, the doctor, who was very corpulent, said, "Pray Sir, what is the
difference between an oni and a sp arrow hair k ?" The gentleman answered,
"It is fuller in the head fuller in the body and fuller all over."
VICAR OF WHITCHURCH. 21
and has recorded in his diary the conversation
which then took place.* This dialogue displays the
character of Mr. Wesley in a favourable point of view;
and, considering his age, shows a mind elevated above
the common level. It also reflects credit upon the
bishop, considering the bigotry of the times.
As the conversation is of considerable length, we
shall only give a summary of the first part of it. Mr.
Wesley s defence of himself turns chiefly on two points;
his allegiance to the king; and his right to preach the
gospel. With respect to the first, he solemnly assures
the bishop, that the things alleged against him were
either invented, or mistaken; that, whatever his ene
mies might say, there were others who would give a
different character of him; that he did not think the
Non-conformists were his majesty s enemies; and that
he had conscientiously taken the oath of allegiance,
and would faithfully keep it.
With respect to the second point, the bishop informs
Mr. Wesley, that if he preaches, it must be upon ordi
nation, according to the order of the church of England.
As to his abilities, Mr. Wesley offered to submit to any
examination his Lordship might appoint ; and would
give him a confession of his faith, or take any other
method that might be required. He then states the
reasons which satisfied him, that he ought to preach.
These were, 1st. That he was devoted to the service
from his infancy. 2nd. That he was educated for it,
* Mr. Wesley kept a diary or journal, with little intermission, till his
death, and probably this influenced his grandson of the same name, who must
have heard of it, to follow the practice. It is to be regretted that this manu
script is now lost, except the extracts preserved by Calamy.
*2 JOHN WESLEY,
at school and in the University. 3rd. That as a son
of the prophets, after having taken his degrees, he
preached in the country, being approved of by judici
ous, able Christians, ministers and others. 4th. That
it pleased God to seal his labours with success in the
conversion of several souls. 5th. That the church
seeing the presence of God with him, did, by fasting
and prayer, on a day set apart for that purpose, seek
an abundant blessing on his endeavours. At this part
of the conversation, the bishop exclaimed, "A particular
church, I suppose \" Yes, my lord, says Mr. Wesley,
I am not ashamed to own myself a member of one.
BISHOP, You have no warrant for your particular
churches. WESLEY. We have a plain, full and suffi
cient rule for gospel worship in the New Testament,
recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles.
BISHOP. We have not. WESLEY. The practice of the
Apostles is a standing rule in those cases which were
not extraordinary. BISHOP. Not their practice, but
their precepts. WESLEY. Both precepts and practice.
Our duty is not delivered to us in scripture only by
precepts, but by precedents, by promises, by threaten-
ings mixed, not common-place wise. May it please
your Lordship, we believe that cultus non institutus est
indebitus. BISHOP. It is false. WESLEY. The second
commandment speaks the same ; Thou shalt not make
unto thyself any graven image. BISHOP. That is a
form of your own invention. WESLEY. Bishop Andrews
taking notice of non fades tibi, satisfied me, that we
may not worship God but as commanded. BISHOP. You
take discipline, church government, and circumstances
VICAR OF WHITCHURCH. 23
for worship. WESLEY. You account ceremonies parts
BISHOP. But what say you ? Did you not wear a
sword in the time of the Committee of safety,* with
Demy and the rest of them ? WESLEY. My Lord,
I have given you my answer therein: and I further
say, that I have conscientiously taken the oath of alle
giance, and faithfully kept it hitherto. I appeal to all
that are around me. BISHOP. But nobody will trust
you. You stood it out to the last gasp. WESLEY.
I know not what you mean by the last gasp. When I
saw the pleasure of Providence to turn the order of
things, I did submit quietly thereunto. BISHOP. That
was at last. WESLEY. Yet many such men are now
trusted, and about the king. BISHOP. They are such
as fought on the parliament side during the war, yet
disowned those latter proceedings ; but you abode even
till Haselrig s coming to Portsmouth. f WESLEY. His
Majesty has pardoned whatever you may be informed
of concerning me of that nature. I am not here on
that account. BISHOP. I expected you not. WESLEY.
Your lordship seat your desire by two or three mes
sengers. Had I been refractory, I need not have come ;
but I would give no just cause of offence. I still think
that the Non-conformists were none of His Majesty s
* " The committee of safety," mentioned by the bishop, was formed
October 26th, 1659, bythegreat officers of the army. It consisted of twenty
three persons, who were ordered "to endeavour some settlement of the
government," after the death of Cromwell.
+ It was in 1659 that SIR ARTHUR HA SELRJG was sent to Portsmouth
by the pa r iament, the tow nand garrison of which declared for (hem, sga inst the
orders of the committee of safety. This declaration " was one ofthelastpub-
lic" ants against the restoration of the kins:, and might fitly be denominated
thelast gas p.
24 JOHN WESLEY,
enemies. BISHOP. They were traitors. They began
the war. Knox and Buchanan in Scotland, and those
like them in England. WESLEY. I have read the pro
testation, of owning the king s supremacy. BISHOP.
They did it in hypocrisy. WESLEY. You used to tax
the poor independents for judging folks hearts. Who
doth it now ? BISHOP. I did not, for they pretended
one thing and acted another. Do not I know them
better than you ? WESLEY. I know them by their
works. BISHOP. Well then, you justify your preach
ing, without ordination according to law ? WESLEY.
All these things laid together are satisfactory to me
for my procedure therein. BISHOP. They are not
enough. WESLEY. There has been more written in
proof of the preaching of gifted persons, with such ap
probation, than has been answered by any one yet.
BISHOP. I am glad I have heard you. You will stand
to your principles, you say? WESLEY. I intend it,
through the grace of God; and to be faithful to the
king s majesty, however you may deal with me. BISHOP.
I will not meddle with you. WESLEY. Farewell to you,
Sir. BISHOP. Farewell, good Mr. Wesley.
In the beginning of 1662, however, Mr. Wesley
was seized on the Lord s day, as he was coming out of
church, carried to Blandford, and committed to prison.
SIR GERHARD NAPPER, one of the most furious of his
enemies, meeting with an accident by which he broke
his collar bone, was so far softened in mind towards
the Non-conformists, that he sent some persons to bail
Mr. Wesley, and some other ministers, and told them
if they would not, he would do it himself. Mr. Wesley
was then set at liberty, but bound over to appear at
VICAR OF WHITCHURCH. 25
the next assizes. He went accordingly, and came off
much better than he expected. On this occasion, the
good man recorded in his diary the mercy of God to
him in raising him up several friends, and in restraining
the wrath of man, so that the judge, though very
passionate, spoke not an angry word to him. The sum
of the proceedings as it stands in his diary, is as
follows : "CLERK. Call Mr. Wesley, of Whitchurch.
WESLEY. Here. JUDGE. Why will you not read the
Book of Common Prayer. WESLEY. The book was
never tendered to me. JUDGE. Must the book be ten
dered to you ? WESLEY. So I conceive by the act.
JUDGE. Are you ordained ? WESLEY. I am ordained
to preach the gospel. JUDGE. From whom ? WESLEY,
I have given an account thereof already to the bishop.
JUDGE. What bishop ? WESLEY. The Bishop of Bris
tol. JUDGE. I say by whom were you ordained ? How
long is it since ? WESLEY. Four or five years ago.
JUDGE. By whom? WESLEY. By those who were then
empowered. JUDGE. I thought so. Have you a pre
sentation to your place ? WESLEY. I have. JUDGE.
From whom ? WESLEY. May it please your Lordship
it is a legal presentation. JUDGE. By whom was it ?
WESLEY. By the trustees. JUDGE. Have you brought
it? WESLEY. I have not. JUDGE. Why not? WES
LEY. Because I did not expect I should be asked any
such questions here. JUDGE. I wish you to read the
Common Prayer at your peril. You will not say,
" From all sedition and privy conspiracy ; from all false
doctrine, heresy and schism, good Lord, deliver us!"
CLERK. Call MR. MEECH, [who appeared.] JUDGE. Does
Mr. Wesley read the Common Prayer yet ? MEECH.
26 JOHN WESLEY,
May it please your Lordship, he never did, nor he never
will. JUDGE. Friend, how do you know that? He
may bethink himself. MEECH. He never did, he never
will.* SOLICITOR. We will, when we see the new book,
either read it, or leave our place at Bartholomew-tide.
JUDGE. Are you not bound to read the old book till
then ? Let us see the act."
While the judge was reading to himself, another
cause was called ; and Mr. Wesley was bound over to
the next assizes. He came joyfully home and preach
ed every Lord s-day till August the 17th, when he
delivered his farewell sermon to a weeping audience,
from Acts xx, 32, " And now, brethren, I commend
you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to
build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all
them which are sanctified." On the 26th of October,
the place was declared vacant by an apparitor, and
orders were given to sequester the profits ; but his
people had given him what was due. On the 22nd of
February, 1663, he quitted Whitchurch, and removed
* In 1661 the King ordered the Convocation to review the Book of Com
mon Prayer, and to make such additions or amendments as should appear
to be necessary. By several of the prelates it was pretended that no altera
tions were required, but the majority professed to be of another judgment.
At the close of a month the book was completely revised. Not less than
six hundred alterations were introduced; and the reader, who has patience
to examine them will, perhaps, admire the ingenuity which could discover
so much to improve, and at the same time leave nearly every point objected
to by the Non-conformists untouched. The general effect, indeed, was,
that the prayer-book became more exceptionable than ever, and the terms
of conformity more severe. DR. WORDSWORTH informs us, that "in the
settlement of the Prayer Book under Queen Elizabeth, great care was taken
to unite the whole nation in one religion, and therefore whatever was found
in the liturgy, published by Edward VI. that might exasperate or offend the
Catholics was taken out, which made the book so passable among the papists,
that for ten years they generally repaired to the parish churches, without
doubt or scruple.
VICAR OF WHITCHURCH. 27
with his family to MELCOMBE ; upon which the corpora
tion there made an order against his settlement, im
posing a fine of 20 upon his landlady, and 5s. a- week
upon himself, to be levied by distress. These violent
proceedings forced him to leave the town, and go to
Bridgewater, Ilminster aud Taunton, in which places
he met with great kindness and friendship from all the
three denominations of dissenters, and was almost every
day employed in preaching : he also obtained some
good friends, who were afterwards very kind to him and
his family. At length a gentleman, who had a very
good house at Preston, in Dorsetshire, permitted him
to live in it, without paying any rent. Thither he re
moved his family in the beginning of May 1663. He
records his coming to Preston, and his comfortable ac
commodation there, with great thankfulness.
It is worthy of remark, that this excellent man,
like his grandson long after him, felt a strong desire to
visit the continent of America. Surinam, a settlement
in South America, was the first object in the contem
plation of his missionary zeal. This purpose, however,
was abandoned ; as was also another of going to Mary
land. The advice of friends prevailed ; and probably
the difficulty and expense of removing his family so
far, were the chief impediments. Indeed, such a re
moval in his circumstances, must have been all but
impossible. He therefore made up his mind to abide
in the land of his nativity ; to be at the disposal of
Divine Providence, relying on the promise, "verily,
thou shult be fed."
Being after this prevented from frequent preach
ing, and not willing to be without public worship, Mr.
^8 JOHN WESLEY,
Wesley would gladly have attended the church service,
but there were several things in the liturgy to which he
could not give a conscientious assent. About this time
he was not a little troubled respecting his own preach
ing; whether it should be carried on openly or in
private. Some of the neighbouring ministers, particu
larly Messrs. Bam/ield, Ince,* Hallet, of Shaston, and
John Sacheverel,-\- were for preaching publicly with
open doors. But Mr. Wesley thought it was his duty
to " beware of men;" and that he was bound in prudence
to keep himself at liberty as long as he could. Ac
cordingly, by preaching only in private, he was kept
* Of this MR. INCE, the following remarkable fact is related :" Not
long after the year 1062, MR. GROVE, a gentleman of great fortune, in Dorset,
when his wife was lying dangerously ill, sent for the parish minister to pray
with her. When the message arrived, the clergyman was just going out
with the hounds, and sent word that he would come when the hunt was over.
On Mr Grove expressing much resentment at the minister s conduct, one of
the servants said, Sir, our shepherd, if you will send for him can pray very
well ; we have often heard him at prayer in the fields. Upon this he was
immediately sent for; and Mr. Grove asking him whether he ever did, or
could pray, the shepherd, fixing his eyes upon him, and with peculiar serious-
ness in his countenance, replied, God foihid, Sir, that I should live one day
without prayer. Hereupon he was desired to pray with the sick lady;
which he did so pertinently to the case, with such fluency and fervency of
devotion, as greatly to astonish the husband, and all the family who were
present. When they arose from their knees, the gentleman addressed Mr.
Ince to this effect: Your language and manner discover you to be a very
different person from what your present appearance indicates. I entreat
you to inform me who you are, and what were your views and situation in
life before you came into my service. Whereupon Mr. Ince told him he
was one of the ministers who had then been lately ejected, and that having
nothing of his own left, he was content for a livelihood, to submit to the
honest and peaceful employment of tending sheep. Upon hearing this, Mr.
Grove said, Then you shall be my shepherd; and immediately erected a
meeting-house on his own estate, in which Mr. Ince preached, and gathered
a congregation of Dissenters."
+ This gentleman (who had two brothers ministers, and who were also
ejected by the Act of Uniformity) was grandfather of the notorious DR.
HENRY SACHEVEREL, the high church bigot in the reign of Qnecn Anne.
VICAR OF WHITCHURCH. 29
longer out of the hands of his enemies, than the minis
ters before mentioned, all of whom were indicted at the
next assizes "for a riotous and unlawful assembly, held
at Shaston ;" and were found guilty aud fined forty
marks each, and were bound to find security for their
good behaviour: or in other words, that they would not
speak any more in the name of Jesus. This impious
injunction on faithful men was a general curse to the
nation. "A torrent of iniquity," says DR. CLARKE,
" deep, rapid and strong, deluged the whole land, and
nearly swept away vital religion from it. The king
(Charles II.) had no religion either in power or in
form. Though a papist in his heart, he was the most
worthless sovereign that ever sat on the British throne,
and profligate beyond measure ; without a single good
quality to redeem his bad ones ; and the church and
state joined hand in hand with him in persecution and
intolerance. Since those barbarous and iniquitous
times, what hath God wrought ? There was then no
open vision. Most of the faithful of the land were
either silenced as to public preaching, or shut up in
prison, and the rest were hidden in corners." Mr.
Wesley, in a private manner, preached frequently to a
few good people at Preston, and occasionally at Wey-
mouth and other places contiguous. After some time,
he had a call from a number of Christians at Poole, in
Dorsetshire, to become their pastor. He consented,
and continued with them while he lived, administering
to them all the ordinances of God as opportunity
But notwithstanding all the prudent precaution
with which he conducted these meetings, Mr. Wesley
was often disturbed, several times apprehended, and
four times imprisoned; once at Poole for six months,
and once at Dorchester for three months. The other
confinements were shorter. DR. CALAMY adds, "he
was in many straits and difficulties; but was wonder
fully supported and comforted ; and often very season
ably and surprisingly relieved and delivered. Yet the
removal of several eminent Christians into another
world, who had been his intimate acquaintance and
kind friends ; the decay of serious religion among many
professors ; and the increasing rage of the enemies of
real godliness, manifestly seized on and sunk his
spirits."* At length having filled up his part of what
is behind of the afflictions of Christ in his flesh, and
finished the work given him to do, he was taken out of
this vale of tears to that world, "where the wicked
cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest," about
the year 1670, aged thirty-five.
It is to be regretted that DR. CALAMY, who once
had in his possession the diary of this excellent man,
furnishes so very few dates and particulars respect
ing him. DR. WHITEHEAD, who gives an abstract of
Calamy s account of him, concludes it with the follow
ing reflections. "1. Mr. Wesley appears to have made
himself master of the controverted points in which he
differed from the established church, and to have made
up his opinions from a conviction of their truth. 2.
He shews an ingenious mind, free from low cunning in
the open avowal of his sentiments to the bishop. 3.
He appears to have been remarkably conscientious in
all his conduct, and a zealous promoter of genuine
* PALMER S Non-conformists Memorial.
VICAR OF WHITCHURCH. 31
piety, both in himself and others 4. He discovered
great firmness of mind, and an unshaken attachment
to his principles, in the midst of the most unchristian
MRS. WESLEY long survived her husband ; but
how long we cannot ascertain. In a letter written by
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. in 1710, he speaks of having
visited his grandmother Wesley, then a widow of almost
forty years. It does not appear that this venerable
widow had any help from her own family ; and there is
reason to believe she was entirely dependent on, and
supported by, her sons Matthew and Samuel. How far
the former may have contributed to her support, we know
not : his disposition appears to have been mean and
avaricious; but that the old lady was deeply indebted
to the latter, we learn from one of his letters to ARCH
BISHOP SHARP, dated December the 30th, 1700, in
which he says, "The next year my barn fell, which
cost me 40 in rebuilding ; and having an aged mother,
who must have gone to prison if I had not assisted her
she cost me upwards of 40. Ten pounds a-year I
allow my mother to keep her from starving." How
doleful was the lot of this poor woman ! persecuted
with her husband during the whole of her married life,
and abandoned to poverty during a long and dreary
* Wnn EHEAD S Life of Mr. John Wesley.
DR. SAMUEL ANNESLEY
HIS BIRTH AND RELATIONSHIP. HIS EARLY PIETY. SENT TO THE
UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD. SETTLES AT CLIFFE, IN KENT.
PREACHES BEFORE THE HOUSE OF COMMONS. PROMOTED TO
ST. PAUL S AND ST. GILES , CRIPPLEGATE. EJECTED BY THE
ACT OF UNIFORMITY. BECOMES PASTOR OF A MEETING HOUSE
IN LITTLE ST. HELEN S. HAS THE CHIEF MANAGEMENT OF THE
MORNING LECTURE. DANIEL DE FOE AND JOHN DUNTON
ATTEND HIS MINISTRY. THEIR ACCOUNT OF DR. ANNESLEY.
HIS TEMPERANCE. HIS DEATH. HIS CHARACTER BY DR.
WILLIAMS, BAXTER, AND CALAMY.
As the Annesley and Wesley families were so
intimately connected by marriage, a biographical no
tice of the former seems essential to a work of this
nature. We shall therefore give what information we
can collect respecting Dr. Annesley, and his children.
SAMUEL ANNESLEY, LL. D. maternal grandfather
of the founder of Arminian Methodism, was born at
Kenilworth, near Warwick, in the year 1620, and was
descended from a noble family; his father and the then
EARL of ANGLESEA being brother s children.* Dr.
The family of Annesley is amongst the most ancient and respectable
in the kingdom. Dr. Annesley was brother s son to the first Earl of Anglesea,
who was made Lord Privy Seal in the reign of Charles II. BISHOP BURNET,
with whom he was no favourite, allows that the Earl was a man of great
parts, deep knowledge in the law, and perfectly acqainted with the consti
tution. FRANCIS ANNESLEY ESQ., who satin six Parliaments, and in
3805 member for Heading, was a descendant of Dr. Annesley. From some
of Mrs. Susanna Wesley s letters, it appears she occasionally sealed with
the Annesley arms.
DR. SAMUEL ANNE8LEY. 33
Annesley was the only child of his parents, and had a
considerable paternal estate. His father dying- when
he was but four years of age, his education devolved
upon his mother, who brought him up in the fear of
the Lord. His grandmother, who was a very excellent
woman, dying before he was born, requested that the
child, if a boy, should be called Samuel; "for," said
she, " I can say I have asked him of the Lord." He
was piously disposed from his childhood, and often
declared that he never knew the time when he was not
To qualify himself for a preacher of the gospel, he
began, when only five or six years of age, seriously to
read the Bible ; and so ardent was he in this study, that
he bound himself to read twenty chapters every day, a
practice which he continued to the end of his life.
This made him a good textuary ; and consequently an
able divine. Though a child when he formed the reso
lution to be a minister of the gospel, it is said he never
varied from his purpose; nor was he discouraged by a
singular dream he had, in which he thought he was a
minister, and was sent for by the Bishop of London to
be burnt as a martyr.
In 1635, being fifteen years of age, he was admit
ted a student in Queen s College, Oxford, where, at the
usual times, he took his degrees in arts. Whilst at the
University, he was very remarkable for temperance and
industry. He usually drank nothing but water, and
though he is said to have been but of slow parts, yet
he supplied this defect in nature by prodigious appli
cation. There is some dispute with respect to his ordi
nation ; that is to say, whether he received it from a
34 DR. SAMUEL ANNESLEY.
bishop, or according to the presbyterian method : AN
THONY WOOD asserts the former, and DR. CALAMY the
In 1664 he became chaplain to the EARL of WAR
WICK, the admiral of the parliament s fleet; but not
liking a sea-faring life, he left the navy; and, by the
interest which he possessed with persons then in power,
obtained the valuable living of Cliffe, in Kent. This
was a very good establishment ; for besides a revenue
of 400 per annum, it possessed a peculiar jurisdiction
for holding courts, in which every thing relating to
wills, marriages, contracts, &c. were decided. At the
commencement of his labours he met with considerable
difficulties, the people being rude and ignorant. So
high did they carry their opposition, as frequently to
assault him with spits, forks and stones ; often threat
ening his life. But he was fortified with courage, and
declared that " let them use him as they would, he was
resolved to continue with them, till God had fitted them
by his ministry, to entertain a better who should suc
ceed him ; but solemnly declared, that when they be
came so prepared, he would leave the place." In a
few years his ministry met with surprising success, and
the people were greatly reformed : he therefore kept
his word, and left them, though much against their
wish, lest any seeming inconsistency on his part might
prove a stumbling-block to the young converts.
In July 1648, Mr. Annesley was called to London
to preach the fast-sermon before the House of Com
mons, which, by their order, was printed. But, though
greatly approved by the parliament, it gave much of
fence to some other persons, as reflecting upon the
DR. SAMUEL ANNESLEY. 35
king, then a prisoner in the Isle of Wight. This is
the ground of Wood s bitterness against him ; and it
cannot be denied that the author went all the lengths
of the Presbyterian party. It was about this time he
was 1 avoured by the University of Oxford with having
the title of Doctor of Laws conferred upon him, at the
instance of PHILIP, EARL of PEMBROKE. On the 25th
of August in the same year, he again went to sea with
his patron, the Earl of Warwick, who was employed in
giving chase to that part of the English navy which
went over to the prince, afterwards Charles II. After
continuing at sea little more than three months, he
returned to London.
In 1652 Providence directed his removal to Lon
don, by the unanimous choice of the inhabitants of St.
John s, Friday Street. In 1657 he was nominated by
CROMWELL lecturer of St. Paul s; and in the following
year, the protector Richard presented him to the living
of St. Giles , Cripplegate. On the restoration, he was
confirmed in this vicarage by the king. But it did not
screen him from the oppressive operation of " the Act
of Uniformity," by which he was ejected in 1662. It
is said that the EARL of ANGLESEA, who was his rela
tion, took some pains to persuade him to conform,
and even offered him considerable preferment in the
church in case he complied. But as Dr. Annesley
acted from a principle of conscience, he declined the
offer, and continued to preach privately during that and
the following reign.
Upon the indulgences in 1672, the doctor licensed
a meeting-house in Little St. Helen s, now St. Helen s
Place, Bishopgate Street, where he raised a flourishing
36 DR. SAMUEL ANNESLEY.
society ; of which he continued pastor until his death.*
The celebrated DANIEL DE FOE, author of " Robinson
Crusoe," was a constant hearer of Dr. Annesley. At
this place De Foe s parents attended, and there can be
no doubt that they introduced their son Daniel to
the same religious connexion. Under the guidance of
so able an instructor, the mind of De Foe was formed
to an early love of religion ; and his attachment to the
cause of Non-conformity was probably heightened by
oppressions to which its professors were then exposed.
Although we have no direct evidence that De Foe was
a participator in those sufferings, yet it is not improba
ble that his parents were amongst the number of those
who "took joyfully the spoiling of their goods," that
they might maintain the peace of their consciences, and
have a title to a better inheritance. Of Dr. Annesley s
worth, both as a minister and as a Christian, De Foe
long entertained an affectionate remembrance ; and, at
the request of John Dunton, he drew up his character
at length, in the form of an Elegy, which was pub
lished by Dunton, and may be found in the collection
* It was at this meeting-house that the first public ordination among the
Dissenters took place after the passing of the Act of Uniformity. Hitherto,
the ordinations had been carried on in private ; no person being present but
those immediately concerned. MR. CALAMY, however, wished to be pub
licly ordained, and consnlted several aged ministers in London respecting
the propriety of it- He found considerable difficulty in effecting his wishes,
through the timidity of some of the elder ministers. The great MK. KOWE
absolutely refused taking a part, through fear of offending government; and
DR. BATES urged some other reasons to excuse himself. At length the matter
was accomplished, and Mr. Calamy was publicly ordained with six other
young men, June 22ntl, 1694. The following ministers were prevailed upon
to engage in the services: viz. Dr. Annesley, Vincent Alsop, Daniel
Williams, Thomas Kentish, Matthew Sylvester, and Richard 8tretton. The
service was conducted with peculiar solemnity, and lasted from ten o clock
in the morning till six in the evening. Calamy s Account of his otvn Life.
DR. SAMUEL ANNESLEY. 37
of De Foe s writings. In the following lines he iden
tifies himself with the doctor s congregation :
" His native candour, his familiar style,
Which did so oft his hearers hours beguile,
Charmed us with godliness ; and while he spake
We lov d the doctrine for the preacher s sake ;
While he informed us what those doctrines meant
By dint of practice, more than argument."
JOHN DUNTON, the ingenious, but eccentric book
seller, also attended on Dr. Annesley s ministry. He
married one of the doctor s daughters; of whom, and
her husband, we shall say more hereafter. Dunton, in
his "Life and Errors," describes Dr. Annesley as "a
man of wonderful piety and humility, and the great sup
port of dissenting ministers. He left a living of 700 per
annum (Cripplegate) for the sake of a good conscience;
and devoted the whole of his time and estate to religion,
and acts of charity. He would never be rich whilst
any man was poor.*" Dunton mentions, that when he
was in America, and visited Missionary ELIOT, the
great apostle of the Indians, on informing him that he
was the doctor s son-in-law, who was then living, Mr.
Eliot broke forth with rapture " And is my brother
Annesley yet alive ? Is he yet converting souls ?
* DUNTON, in one of his poems, thus alludes to the friendly in
tercourse which will subsist between the pious of every denomination
in heaven, though they may not have " seen eye to eye" on earth.
"Here Doolittle, with Comber friendly twines,
Here Scot shall fly to clasp the pious Vines.
Here Mead and Patrick in embraces meet,
And Alsi>l> joins in praise with Stilliny fleet.
Horneck, and Annesley, and millions more,
Alike are happy, and alike adore."
38 DR. SAMUEL ANNESLEY.
Blessed be God for this information before I die."
He presented Dunton with twelve Indian bibles, and
desired him to give one of them to Dr. Annesley.
After the division in Pinner s Hall Lecture, in
1694, and the establishment of a new one at Sailer s
Hall, Dr. Annesley was one of the ministers chosen to
fill up the number at the latter, in conjunction with
DR. BATES and MR. HOWE. After the death of MR.
CASE, he undertook the chief management of the
Doctor Annesley possessed a very strong consti
tution, and laboured earnestly in the work of the
ministry for not less than fifty-five years. MR. JOHN
WESLEY, in his journal, Monday, February 6th, 1769,
says, " I spent an hour with a venerable woman, nearly
ninety years of age, who retains her health, her senses,
her understanding, and even her memory, to a good
degree. In the last century she belonged to my grand
father Annesley s congregation, at whose house her
* This Morning Lecture, or Exercise, originated in the following man
ner. Most of the citizens in London having some friend or relation in the
army of the EARL of ESSEX, so many bills were sent up to the pulpit every
Lord s-day for presentation, that the ministers had not time to notice
them in prayer, or even to read them. It was therefore agreed to set apart
an hour every morning at seven o clock; half of it to be spent in prayer for
the welfare of the public, as well as particular cases; and the other half to
be spent in exhortations to the people. MR. CASE began it in his church
near Milk-street; from which it was removed to other churches in rotation,
a month at each. A number of the most eminent ministers conducted this
service in turn, and it was attended by great crowds of people. After the
war was over, it became what was called a Casuistical Lecture, and con
tinued till the Restoration. The sermons delivered at these Lectures were
afterwards collected and published in 6 Vols. 4to, which contain a rich mine of
practical divinity. A Sermon in the Exercises, on the question " Wherein
lies that exact righteousness which is required between man and man ?"
was preached by MR. TlLLOTSON, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury,
who was then a Non-conformist ! Neal s History of the Puritans,
Vol. II. p. .500.
DR. SAMUEL ANNESLEY. 39
father and she used to dine every Thursday ; and whom
she remembers to have seen frequently in his study at
the top of the house, with his window open, and without
any fire even in winter." For many years he scarcely
drank any thing but water; and even to his last sickness
his sight continued so strong, that he could read the
smallest print without spectacles.
At length, however, he was attacked by a painful
disorder; which, after seventeen weeks of intolerable
torture, terminated in his death. Just before his de
parture his joy was so great, that in an ecstasy he cried
out, " I cannot contain it ! What manner of love is
this to a poor worm ? I cannot express a thousandth
part of what praise is due to thee. It is but little I can
give thee ; but, Lord, help me to give thee my all,
and rejoice that others can praise thee better. 1 shall
be satisfied with thy likeness. Satisfied ! Satisfied ! O
my dear Jesus I come." He was perfectly resigned to
the conduct of Providence during the whole of his
illness, and departed triumphantly to his eternal rest,
December 31st, 1696, in the 77th year of his age. DR..
DANIEL WILLIAMS preached his funeral sermon, and
afterwards published it, with an account of his life and
Dr. Annesley was a divine of considerable emin
ence and extensive usefulness. Of a pious, prudent,
and liberal spirit ; and a warm, pathetic, as well as
constant preacher. Before he was silenced, he often
preached three times a-day ; and afterwards twice every
Lorcl s-day. His sermons were instructive and affect
ing, and his manner of delivery was impressive. The
last time he entered the pulpit, being dissuaded from
40 DR. SAMUEL ANNESLEY.
preaching on account of his illness, he said, / must
work while it is day. He was very eminent as a
textuary, and had great skill in resolving cases of
conscience. Possessing a considerable paternal estate,
he was enabled to do much good ; not only for the
education and subsistence of several ministers; but
by devoting a tenth part of his income to charitable
purposes. His care and labour extended wherever he
could be useful. When any place wanted a minister,
he used his endeavours to procure one for it; when
any minister was oppressed by poverty, he immediately
exerted himself for his relief. " O ! how many places/
says DR. WILLIAMS, " had sat in darkness ! how many
ministers had been starved, if Dr. Annesley had died
thirty years since \" The poor looked upon him as their
common father, and he expended much in distributing
bibles, catechisms, and other useful books. His ex
tensive beneficence was accompanied with many other
amiable qualities, which rendered his character truly
estimable. The celebrated RICHARD BAXTER, who
knew not how to flatter or fear any man, passes this
eulogium upon him. " Dr. Annesley is a most sincere,
godly, humble man, totally devoted to God." Under
every affliction, before he would speak of it, or use
any means to redress it, he spread it before God in
prayer ; which enabled him, though a most affection
ate husband, to bear the news of his wife s death with
such composure as calmly to say, " The Lord gave,
and the Lord hath taken away ; blessed be the name
of the Lord."
Though Jiis Non-conformity created him many
troubles, it produced no inward uneasiness. His goods
DR. SAMUEL ANNESLEY. 41
were destrained for keeping a conventicle, and DR.
CALAMY remarks, that a justice of the peace died as he
was signing a warrant to apprehend him. He was a
man of great uprightness, never regulating his reli
gious profession by his secular interests. He was
turned out of his lecture at St. Paul s, because he
would not comply with some things which he deemed
extravagant and wrong : he thought conformity in him
would be a sin, and he chose to endure many priva
tions rather than injure his conscience. He was
acknowledged by all parties to be an Israelite indeed,
and yet he suffered much for Non-conformity; but
such was then the spirit of the limes, that an angel from
heaven would have been persecuted, if he had appeared
as a dissenter. In his sufferings God often interposed
remarkably for him. His integrity made him a stranger
to all tricks, or little artifices, to serve his temporal
interest; and his charitable and unsuspecting temper,
sometimes exposed him to imposition.
As to Dr. Annesley s personal appearance, CALAMY
says " his figure was fine ; his countenance dignified,
highly expressive, and amiable. His constitution,
naturally strong and robust, was capable of any kind
of fatigue. He was seldom indisposed; and could en
dure the coldest weather without hat, gloves, or fire.
He had a large soul, and a flaming zeal, and his useful
ness was very extensive. During the last thirty years
of his life, he had great peace of mind from the
assurance of God s covenant love. For several years,
indeed, he walked in darkness, and was disconsolate,
which is no unusual thing with such as are converted in
their childhood, whose change being not so remarkable
DR. SAMUEL ANNESLEY.
as that of many others, is therefore the more liable
to be questioned, but in his last illness he was full of
comfort." The only safe rule of judging of professed
conversion is its fruits ; the work of grace being better
known in its effects than in its causes. The mode may
vary from circumstances, of which we are not the
judges, nor can we be, until more is known of the
mysterious operations of the human mind, and of that
intercourse which Almighty God in his goodness con
descends to hold with it.
The following is a chronological list of DR. ANNESLEY S works:
1. A Fast Sermon hefore the House of Commons, 1648.
2. Communion with God ; two Sermons at St. Paul s, 1654.
3. A Sermon at St. Laurence Jewry, to gentlemen, natives of Wilts., 1654.
4. On the Covenant of Grace; and on being universally and exactly con
scientious; two Sermons in the Morning Exercise at C ripplegate.
5. A Sermon at the Funeral of the Rev. William Whitaker, 1673.
6. How we may attain to love God with all our Hearts, and Souls, and
Minds; a Sermon in the Supplement to the Morning Exercise, 1674.
7. A Sermon on Heb. viii.6, in the Morning Exercise Methodized, 1676.
8. Of Indulgences ; a Sermon in the Morning Exercise against Popery, 1675.
9. How the adherent Vanity of every Condition is most effectually abated
by serious Godliness; a Sermon in the continuation of the Morning
10. How we may give Christ a satisfactory Account why we attend upon
the ministry of the Word; a Sermon in the Casuistical Moruing
11. A Sermon on the death of the Rev. Thomas Brand ; with an account of
his life, 1692.
Dr. Annesley was the editor of four volumes of the Morning Exercises
above mentioned, and wrote a preface to each of them. He wrote a preface
to Mr. RichardAlliene s " Instructions about Heart Work ;" and joined with
Dr. Owen in a preface to Mr, Elisha Cole s " Practical Treatise on God s
DR. ANNESLEY S CHILDREN.
SAMUEL ANNESLEY, JUN. GOES TO THE EAST INDIES.
ACQUIRES A LARGE FORTUNE, BUT IS SUDDENLY CUT OFF.
MRS. WESLEY S LETTER TO HIM. HIS WIDOW S BEQUEST TO THE
WESLEY FAMILY. MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY MAR
RIES JOHN DUNTON, THE CELEBRATED BOOKSELLER. THEIR
STRONG ATTACHMENT TO EACH OTHER. HER DEATH AND
CHARACTER. MISS JUDITH ANNESLEY HER PERSONAL
APPEARANCE AND PIETY. MISS ANNE ANNESLEY HER
CHARACTER BY DUNTON. MISS SUSANNA ANNESLEY.
The Annesley Family, like that of the Wesley, was
both numerous and highly intellectual. Dr. Annesley
had not less than twenty-Jive children. When DR.
MANTON, baptizing one of them, was asked what num
ber of children Dr. Annesley had, answered, " I be
lieve it is two dozen, or a quarter of a hundred." The
reckoning by dozens was a singular circumstance ; an
honour which is conferred on few. But of this interest
ing family there now appears to be no record, except
of SAMUEL, ELIZABETH, JUDITH, ANNE, and SUSANNA.
SAMUEL ANNESLEY, JUNIOR, entered into the
service of the East India Company, where he accu
mulated a considerable fortune. Having exposed the
mismanagement and peculations of certain persons in
the Company s service abroad, they became his mortal
enemies. This determined him to return home, and
he wrote to his brother-in-law, the rector of Epworth,
44 SAMUEL ANNESLEY, JUN.
to purchase for him an estate of 200 or 300 per
annum, somewhere between London and Oxford. But
Mr. Annesley soon after this disappeared, and no fur
ther account was ever heard of him.
There certainly appears great mystery in this
case. Mr. John Wesley used to say to his nephews,
" you are heirs to a large property in India if you can
find it out, for my uncle Samuel Annesley is said to
have been very prosperous/ The late DR. ADAM
CLARKE had in his possession an original letter of this
gentleman to his brother-in-law, the rector of Epworth,
from which it appears that Mr. Annesley wished to em
ploy the rector to transact some business for him with
the East India Company, and Mr. Wesley seems to have
undertaken the office ; but owing to his natural easi
ness, and too great confidence in men, the business
was neglected; at which Mr. Annesley was greatly
offended, transferred the commission into another hand ;
and wrote a severe letter to his sister Mrs. Wesley, in
which he blamed the conduct of her husband. She re
plied to this letter in a proper and spirited manner, and
as itshows her good sense, and faithful attachment to her
husband, we shall give it entire, from MOORE S Life of
Mr. Wesley. Perhaps a more genuine picture of sanc
tified affliction was never presented to the world.
To MR. ANNESLEY.
The unhappy differences between you and Mr.
Wesley have prevented my writing for some years, not
knowing whether a letter from me would be acceptable,
and being unwilling to be troublesome. But feeling
SAMUEL ANNESLEY, JUN. 45
life ebb apace, and having a desire to be at peace with
all men, especially you, before I die, I have ventured
to send one letter more, hoping you will give yourself
the trouble to read it without prejudice.
I am, I believe, got on the right side of fifty, in
firm and weak ; yet, old as I am, since I have taken
my husband " for better, for worse," I ll make my resi
dence with him. " Where he lives will I live, and
where he dies will I die, and there will I be buried.
God do so unto me, and more also, if aught but death
part him and me." Confinement is nothing to one
that, by sickness, is compelled to spend great part of
her time in a chamber ; and I sometimes think, that, if
it were not on account of Mr. Wesley, and the children,
it would be perfectly indifferent to my soul, whether
she ascended to the Supreme origin of being, from a
jail, or a palace, for God is everywhere. No walls, or
locks, or bars, nor deepest shade, nor closest solitude
excludes his presence ; and in what place soever he
vouchsafes to manifest himself, that place is heaven !
and that man whose heart is penetrated with Divine
love, and enjoys the manifestations of God s blissful
presence, is happy, let his outward condition be what
it will. He is rich, "as having nothing, yet possessing
all things." This world, this present state of things is
but for a time. What is now future will be present, as
what is already past once was; and then, as MR. PASCAL
observes, a little earth thrown on our cold head will
for ever determine our hopes and our condition ; nor
will it signify much who personated the prince or the
beggar, since with respect to the exterior, all must
stand on the same level after death.
46 SAMUEL ANNESLEY, JUN.
Upon the best observation I could ever make, I
am induced to believe, that it is much easier to be
contented without riches, than with them. It is so
natural for a rich man to make his gold his god ; it is
so very difficult not to trust in, not to depend on it, for
support and happiness, that I do not know one rich man
in the world with whom I would exchange conditions.
You say, " / hope you have recovered your loss by
fire long since!" No, and it is to be doubted we never
shall. Mr. Wesley rebuilt his house in less than one
year; but nearly thirteen years are elapsed since it was
burned, yet it is not half furnished, nor his wife and
children half clothed to this day. It is true, that, by
the benefactions of his friends, together with what Mr.
Wesley had himself, he paid the first; but the latter is not
paid yet, or, what is much the same, money which was
borrowed for clothes and furniture, is yet unpaid. You
go on, "my brother s living of 300 a-yeur, as they tell
me.* They, who ? I wish those who say so were com
pelled to make it so. It may as truly be said, that his
living is ten thousand a-year, as three hundred. I
have, Sir, formerly laid before you the true state of our
affairs. I have told you that the living was always let
for 160 a-year. That taxes, poor assessments, sub-
rents, tenths, procurations, &c. took up nearly 30 of
that sum ; so that there needs no great skill in
arithmetic to compute what remains.
What we shall, or shall not need hereafter, God
only knows ; but at present there hardly ever was more
unprosperous events in one family than are now in
ours. I am rarely in health. Mr. Wesley declines
apace. My dear Emily, who in my present exigences
SAMUEL ANNESLEY, JUN. 47
would exceedingly comfort me, is compelled to go to
service in Lincoln, where she is a teacher in a boarding
school. My second daughter, Sukey, a pretty woman,
and worthy a better fate, when, by your last unkind
letters, she perceived that all her hopes in you were
frustrated, rashly threw herself away upon a man, (if a
man he may be called, who is little inferior to the
apostate angels in wickedness,) that is not only her
plague, but a constant affliction to the family. O Sir !
O brother ! happy, thrice happy are you ! happy is my
sister that buried your children in infancy ! secure from
temptation, secure from guilt, secure from want or
shame, or loss of friends ! They are safe, beyond the
reach of pain or sense of misery : being gone hence,
nothing can touch them further. Believe me, Sir, it is
better to mourn ten children dead, than one living. I
have buried many ; but here I must pause awhile.
The other children, though neither wanting in
dustry, nor capacity for business, we cannot put to any,
by reason we have neither money, nor friends to assist
us in doing it. Nor is there a gentleman s family near
us in which we can place them, unless as common ser
vants, and that, even yourself would not think them fit
for, if you saw them ; so that they must stay at home
while they have a home, and how long will that be ?
Innumerable are other uneasinesses, too tedious to
mention, insomuch, that what with my own indisposition,
my master s infirmities, the absence of my eldest, the
ruin of my second daughter, and the inconceivable dis
tress of all the rest, I have enough to turn a stronger
head than mine. And were it not that God supports,
and by His omnipotent goodness, often totally suspends
48 SAMUEL ANNESLEY, JUN.
all sense of worldly things, I could not sustain the weight
many days, perhaps hours. But even in this low ebb
of fortune, I am not without some lucid intervals. Un
speakable are the blessings of privacy and leisure !
The late ARCHBISHOP of YORK once said to me,
(when my master was in Lincoln castle,) among other
things, " tell me, Mrs. Wesley, whether you ever
really wanted bread!" "My Lord," said I, "I will
freely own to your Grace, that, strictly speaking,
we never did want bread. But then, I have had so
much care to get it before it was eat, and to pay for it
after, as has often made it very unpleasant to me ; and
I think to have bread on such terms, is the next degree
of wretchedness to having none at all." " You are cer
tainly in the right," replied his Lordship, and seemed
for a while very thoughtful. Next morning he made
me a handsome present; nor did he ever repent having
done so : on the contrary, I have reason to believe it
afforded him some comfortable reflections before his exit.
You proceed, "when I come home, (ah! would
to God that might ever be !} if any of your daughters
want me, as I think they will not, I shall do as God
enables me I" I must answer this with a sigh from the
bottom of my heart. Sir, you know the proverb,
" while the grass grows, the steed starves." You go
on, "another hiuderance is, my brother, I think, is too
zealous for the party he fancies in the right ; and has
unluckily to do with the opposite faction !" Whether
those you employ, are factious or not, I shall not de
termine ; but very sure I am Mr. Wesley is not so.
" He 1,1 apt to rest upon deceitful promises." Would
to heaven that neither he, nor f, nor any of our
SAMUEL ANNESLEY, JUN. 49
children had ever trusted to deceitful promises. But
it is a right-hand error, and I hope God will forgive us
all. You say, he ivants Mr. Eaton s thrift. This I
can readily believe. He is not fit for worldly busi
ness. This I likewise assent to ; and must own I was
mistaken when I did think him fit for it : my own ex
perience hath since convinced me that he is one of
those whom our Saviour saith, is not so icise in their
generation as the children of this world. And, did I
not know that Almighty Wisdom hath views and ends
in fixing the bounds of our habitation, which are out of
our ken, I should think it a thousand pities that a man
of his brightness, and rare endowments of learning, and
useful knowledge in relation to the church of God,
should be confined to an obscure corner of the country,
where his talents are buried ; and he is determined
to a way of life for which he is not so well qualified as
I could wish. It is with pleasure that I behold in my
eldest son an aversion to accepting a small country
cure ; since, blessed be God ! he has a fair reputation
for learning and piety, preaches well, and is capable of
doing more good where he is.
I shall not detain you any longer, not so much as
to apologize for the length of this letter. I should be
glad if my service could be made acceptable to my
sister ; to whom, with yourself, the children tend their
humblest duty. We all join in wishing you a happy
new year, and many of them.
Your obliged, and most obedient servant and sister,
Ep worth, Jan. 20, IT22.
MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY.
From the aforegoing letter, we find that Mr. Samuel
Annesley was alive at Surat in 1722, seven years after
the noises had ceased in the Parsonage House at
Epworth, which Mr. Wesley had supposed portended
his death. As to these noises we shall speak hereafter.
In 1724 it was reported that Mr. Annesley was coming
home in one of the Company s ships. Mrs. Wesley,
hearing the news, went from Epworth to London to
meet him. The ship arrived, but her brother came not !
It has been asserted, that the fortune acquired by
Mr. Annesley in India was lost, and he himself mur
dered. Of the manner of his death we have no account,
but his widow certainly enjoyed a considerable part, if
not the whole of his fortune ; for at her death she be
queathed 1000 to Mrs. Wesley, the interest to be paid
her during her life, and the principal sum to be divided
among her children. Miss Kezzy Wesley, in a letter
dated July 1734, informs her brother John of this be
quest ; and adds, "my father has not been very easy
ever since he heard of it, because he cannot dispose
MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY, married JOHN
DUNTON, the eminent bookseller: (for a brief account
of whom see APPENDIX B.) She appears to have been a
most excellent woman, and worthy to be the sister of
Mrs. Susanna Wesley. What led to her union with
Dunton, he details with great simplicity in his "Life
" One Lord s-day," says he, "(and I am very sen
sible of the sin,) I was strolling about, just as my fancy
led me; and stepping into DR. ANNESLEY S meeting-
MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY. 51
house, where, instead of engaging my attention to what
the Doctor said, I suffered both ray mind and my eyes
to run at random, (and it is very rare but satan throws
in a temptation where the sinner is open for it,) I
soon saw a young lady that almost charmed me
dead ; but, on making my inquiries, I found, to my
my sorrow, that she was pre-engaged. However, to
keep up the humour I was in, my friends advised me to
make an experiment upon her elder sister, (they both
being the daughters of Dr. Annesley) and the hint they
gave, made a deeper impression upon me than all the re
commendations they had before given me. I disposed
matters so as to carry on the design with all possible
dispatch. But I steered by another compass than I
had dene in all my former amours; and resolved, as
Dr. Annesley was a man of so much sincerity and reli
gious prudence, to mention the matter first of all to
him ; which I did : and after he had obtained all rea
sonable satisfaction, the Doctor told me, I had his
free consent, if I could prevail upon his daughter for
her s; which was more than Mr. Cockerill (deceased)
could ever obtain, after a long courtship. At length
I was so fortunate as to gain her affections.
" The mutual satisfactions we then enjoyed in an
intimate friendship, (which we designed should shortly
lose itself in a nearer union) was soon after this a little
interrupted ; for fair Iris (the familiar name by which
he called his wife,) was obliged to attend her father to
Tunbridge, where I frequently wrote to her." These
letters Dunton gives at length, but they are too much
in the rapturous style for a grave narrative. We shall
insert Miss Annesley s judicious and sober reply.
52 MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY.
Tunbridge, July 9th, 1682.
I have received your letters, but being-
obliged to take a short journey from Tunbridge with
my father, I had no opportunity to make you any an
swer. You seem impatient at my silence, but it is only
a matter of course; though were your impatience re
presented with less of fancy, I should be disposed to
believe you sooner. But all courtships must at one
time, or other, have a little knight-errantry in them,
otherwise the lover is reckoned to be something- dull ;
however, you have said enough that way to secure you
from any such imputation, and I would therefore have
you to express yourself in no warmer terms than a primi
tive simplicity may admit. One that loves till he loses
his reason will make but an odd figure for a husband.
You will say, perhaps, I am preaching up passive obe
dience, but we shall agree upon that point hereafter.
At present please to deny yourself a little luxuriance in
your letters, lest my father should find them, and be
offended with them. I suppose we may return for
London July 21st. My sisters, Judith and Sarah, send
you their service.
I am, your s, &c.
Dunton gives this character of his fair Iris before
her marriage. " Iris is tall, of a good aspect, her hair
of a light colour, dark eyes, her eye-brows dark and
even, her mouth little and sufficiently sweet, her mein
something melancholy, but elegant and agreeable, her
neck long and graceful, white hands, a well shaped body,
MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY. 53
her complexion very fair ; but to hasten to that which
I think most deserves commendation, I mean \\evpiety,
which, considering her youth, can scarcely be parallel
ed. Her wit is solid ; she has enough of that quick
wit so much in fashion, to render her conversation very
desirable. She is severely modest, and has all kinds of
virtues. She never yet, I dare venture to say, gave any
one an ill word when absent; and never, when present,
commends them. Her temper is good to a miracle :
she is an agreeable acquaintance, a trusty friend ; and
to conclude, she is pleasant, witty, and virtuous, and is
mistress of all the graces that can be desired to make
a complete woman."
" August 3rd, 1682, being the day fixed upon for
our marriage, (Dr. Annesley having previously preach
ed a preparatory Sermon) and all things being ready,
we were well attended to the church, where we found,
that DR. LEWIS, being indisposed, had sent his curate
to officiate. DR. ANNESLEY was present, and gave me
his daughter in marriage, which I took as a peculiar
favour, it being more than some of his sons-in-law
" When the public ceremony was over, we returned
to my father-in-law s, where the entertainment was
plentiful enough, and yet gravely suited to the occasion,
and circumstance; and there we were honoured with
the company of the REV. MR. SILVESTER,* a man whose
learning, worth, and piety are but too little known.
" Some days after this were fooled away in un
necessary visits, treats, and expense, both of time and
money, which I own has not been the least error of my
* The early Biographer of BAXTER.
54 MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY.
life; and into this mistake, the natural friendship and
familiarity of my temper has often led me. When
we had staid a little at my father-in-law s, I carried
my dear Iris home to the large house I had taken in
Princes Street. We now came, as they say, to stand
upon our own legs, and to barter for subsistence amongst
the rest of mankind ; and my dear Iris gave an early
specimen of her prudence and diligence that way ; and
thereupon she commenced bookseller and cash-keeper:
and managed all my money affairs, and left me entirely
to my own rambling and scribbling humours.
" We took several journies together into the coun
try about this time, and made visits to our relations; but
look which way we would, the world was always smiling
on us. The piety and good humour of Iris made our
lives as it were one continued courtship."
It appears from the following letters that Dunton,
a few years after his marriage, proceeded on an expedi
tion to America, with a large cargo of books. We
introduce the letters to show the strong affection
which subsisted between Mr. and Mrs. Dunton.
Boston, March 25th, 1686.
I am at last got safe ashore, after an
uncomfortable voyage, that had nothing in it but mis
fortune and hardship. Half of my venture of books
was cast away in the Downs ; however, do not suffer
that to make you melancholy, in regard the other half
is now safe with me at Boston. I was very often upon
the edge in my passage over hither, besides all the
hazards of our ship, &c. It would be endless to tell
MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY. O
over the extremities I was in ; which lay all double
upon my hands, because you, my dear, were not there
to tend me, and to give a resurrection to my spirits with
one kind look, and with some soft word or other, which
you know would signify so much to me.
Dear Iris, I am now and then tormented with a
thousand fears. The ocean that lies betwixt us seems
louring and unkind. Had I wings, I would rather
steer myself a passage through the air, than commit
myself a second time to the dangers of the sea. My
thoughts, now that I am at Boston, are, however, all run
ning upon Iris ; and be assured that with all imaginable
dispatch I will resign myself to God and Providence,
and the conduct of my guardian angel, to bring me
home again in safety. Our pleasures and satisfactions
will be fresh and new when I am restored to you, as it
were from another world ; and methinks upon the
prospect of that very advantage, I could undertake an
other New England voyage. After all, my dear, our
complete and our final happiness is not the growth of
this world ; it is more exalted, and far above the nature
of our best enjoyments. I would not have you be in
the least solicitous about me. I have met with many
kindnesses from the inhabitants of Boston. You will
take care to read over the letters that relate to business.
I am as much yours as affection can make me,
To this letter Iris returned the following answer :
London, May 14, 1686.
MOST ENDEARED HEART,
I received your most welcome letter of
March 25, which acquainted me with your tedious and
56 MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY.
sick voyage. I was very much overjoyed for your
safe arrival at Boston, though much troubled for your
illness on the way to it. Those mercies are the
sweetest we enjoy after waiting and praying for them.
I pray God to help us both to improve them for his
glory. I think I have sympathized with you very
much ; for I do not remember I have ever had so much
illness in my whole life as I have had this winter.
When I first received your letter, my dear, I was
resolved upon coming over to you, if my friends
approved of it; but upon discourse with them, they
concluded I could not bear the voyage ; and, I who have
had so large an experience of your growing and lasting
affections, could not but believe that you had rather
have a living wife in England than a dead one in
the sea. * * * *
Pray God direct you what to do, and in the mean
time take care of your health, and want for nothing. I
do assure you, my dear, yourself alone is all the riches
I desire; and if ever I am so happy as to enjoy your
company again, I will travel to the farthest part of the
world, rather than part with you any more ; nothing
but cruel death shall ever make the separation. I had
rather have your company with bread and water, than
enjoy, without you, the riches of both the Indies. I
have read your private letter, and shall do that which
will be both for your comfort and honour. I take it
as the highest demonstration of your love, that you
entrust me with your secret affairs. Assure yourself I
do as earnestly desire the welfare of your soul and
body as I do my own ; therefore let nothing trouble
you, for were you in London, you could not take
MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY. 57
more care of your business than I shall do. I cannot
express how much I long to see you. Oh, this cruel
ocean that lies between us ! But, I bless God, I am as
well at present as I can be when separated from you.
I must conclude, begging of God to keep you from the
sins and temptations which every place, and every
condition do expose us to. So, wishing you a speedy,
and a safe voyage back again to England, I remain
yours beyond expression.
We shall conclude our notice of this excellent
woman by extracting her character, as published by
her husband. " Her Bible," says he, " was the great
pleasure of her life ; and she was so well acquainted
with it, that she could easily refer you to the chapter,
where you might meet with any passage you would
wish to find, Her mind was always full of charity to
wards those who might differ from her in matters of
opinion. She loved the image of Christ wherever it
was found. She was no ordinary proficient in the
knowledge of practical divinity, which her reflections
sufficiently testify ; especially upon the Grace of God,
the Will of Man, Original Sin, and the effect it has upon
the faculties of the soul. I will/ says she, obey
God s revealed will, and adore his secret will, and rest
upon his promises, and lay all down at the feet of Christ,
still minding my present duty. The belief of God s
fore-knowledge, or decreeing whatsoever shall come to
pass, should not hinder me from my duty, but rather
provoke me to be more diligent. I adore the sovereign
ty of divine grace, that has made me willing to accept
58 MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY.
of Christ. I find a secret influence of his spirit that
makes me serious and watchful in my duty. Whatever
others pretend to of the freedom of the will, I am sure
mine is averse to every thing that is good, and that I
can do no spiritual action without assistance. She
kept a diary for nearly twenty years, and made a great
many reflections on the state of her own soul. But
she was so far from vain glory, or affectation of
being talked of after death, that she desired that all
her papers might be burnt. That part of the diary
out of which MR. ROGERS extracted several things, he
published in her Funeral Sermon, entitled The
Character of a Good Woman was with great difficulty
obtained from her in her last sickness; but she said
it was her duty to deny me nothing/
" Iris was a great lover of solitude, for it gave her
an opportunity to converse with God and her own
heart; but this did not keep her from the duties of
public worship. Sabbaths, sermons, and sacraments,
were the best refreshments she met with in her way
"Her conjugal affection was altogether as remark
able as any other part of her character. Who should
love best was the only contest we ever had. Her
happiness seemed to be wrapped up in mine, our
interest and inclinations were every way the same.
When our affairs were a little perplexed, she never
discovered the least uneasiness ; she would make use of
means, and leave the issue to Providence. Whenever
I was indisposed, then indeed she was much concerned,
and would rather impair her own health than I should
want looking after, or than another should take care of
MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY. 59
me. She had such a stock of good nature, that /
never went home and found her out of humour. But
Heaven had a greater interest in her than I could
claim : she was indeed the better half of me ; but
then my property in her was not absolute. And,"
continues Dunton, " that the reader may see our love
was mutual, and continued so till death, I will insert the
last two letters that passed between us, before she died.
" Chesham, April 10, 1697.
" MY DEAREST HEART,
I shall ever rejoice in the entireness of
thy affection,* which neither losses in trade, nor thy
long sickness could ever abate ; but, alas ! the dearest
friends must part, and thy 1 anguishing state makes it
necessary for me to impart a few things relating to my
own and thy decease. My dear, we came together with
this design, to help and prepare one another for death ;
but now thy life is in danger, methinks I feel already
the torments to which a heart is exposed that loses
what it loves ; yet, my dear, you may take this comfort
even in death itself, that you can die but half whilst I
am preserved ; and to make death the easier to thee,
think with thyself I shall not be long after thee : but
oh that we might expire at the same time ! for, should st
thou go before me, / shall pine like the constant
turtle, and in thy death shall shake hands with the
whole sex. If we look back into ancient times, we
find there was hardly a person among the primitive
* The familiar style of address is occasionally adopted in this letter,
which \ve follow.
60 MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY.
Christians that sought comfort in a second marriage,
(second marriages then were counted little better than
adultery ;) and in our days, though they have got a
better name, they are a sort of who bids most /" and
therefore if I should survive thee, I doubt whether I
should ever be brought to draw again in the conjugal
yoke,* except (Phoenix-like,) from thy ashes another
Iris should arise ; and then I cannot say what I might
do ; for I love to look upon thy image, though but in
a friend or picture ; and shall ever receive thy kindred
with honourable mention of thy name. But I need
not enlarge ; for the many tears I have shed for thy
long sickness have shown how much I shall grieve
when you die in earnest. What a melancholy thing
will the world appear when Iris is dead ! However it
is my desire that we may bed together in the same
grave; and that my ingenious friend MR. THOMAS
DIXON preach my funeral sermon upon this text, They
shall lie doivn alike in the dust, and the worms shall
cover them. I desire to be buried with Iris for this
reason, that as our souls shall know each other when
they leave the body, so our bodies may rise together
after the long night of death. Dr. BROWN applauds
those ingenious tempers that desire to sleep in the
arms of their fathers, and strive to go the nearest way
to corruption. It was the request of your worthy
father to lie by his wife, and the COUNTESS OF ANGLESEY,
desired on her death-bed to be buried as she expressed,
upon the coffin of that good man Dr. Annesley. As
* DlTNTON, however, soon changed his opinion, and married a second
wife within twelve months. This second marriage did not prove happy.
MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY. 61
it is good to enjoy the company of the godly while
they are living, so we read it has been advantageous
to be buried with them after death. The old Prophet s
bones escaped a burning by being buried with the
other prophets ; and the man who was tumbled into
the grave of Elisha was revived by virtue of his bones.
So that you see, my dear, should you die first, I shall,
instead of seeking a second wife, make court to your
dead body, and, as it were marry again in the grave.
I once desired to be buried with my father Dunton,
in Aston Chancel ; but love to a parent, though never
so tender, is lost in that to a wife ; and now if I can
mingle my ashes with thine, it is all I desire. I would,
if possible, imitate the generous HOTA, who followed
her husband to the grave, laid him in a stately tomb,
and then for nine days together, she would neither eat
nor drink, whereof she died, and was buried in the
same grave with her beloved husband.
" He first deceas d, she for a few days tried
To live without him ; lik d it not, and died."
" I have kinder things to add, but have not time
to write them half, so must reserve the rest till we meet
again. 1 shall return to London in three days, for
this cruel absence has half killed me. I beg thy answer
to this letter, for I will keep it by me as a dear memo
rial. I cannot enlarge, for you have my heart, and all
things else in the power of,
Your s for ever,
62 MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY.
" I received, my dearest, thy obliging letter, and
thankfully own that though God has exercised me
with a long and languishing sickness, and my grave
lies in view, yet he hath dealt tenderly with me, so that
I find by experience no compassions are like those of
a God. It is true I have scarcely power to answer thy
letter, but seeing thou desirest a few lines to keep as
a memorial of our constant love, I will attempt some
thing, though by reason of my present weakness, I can
write nothing worth thy reading.
" First, then, as to thy character of me, Love blinds
you, for I do not deserve it; but am pleased to find
you enjoy, by the help of a strong fancy, that happi
ness which I cannot, though I would bestow. But
opinion is the rate of things ; and if you think yourself
happy, you are so. As to myself, I have met with
more and greater comforts in a married state than ever
I did expect. But how can it be otherwise, when in
clination, interest, and all that can be desired, concur
to make up the harmony ? From our marriage till
now, thy life has been one continued act of courtship,
and sufficiently upbraids that indifference which is
found among married people. Thy concern for my
present sickness, though of long continuance, has been
so remarkably tender, that, were it but known to the
world, it would once more bring into fashion men s
loving their wives. Thy will alone is a noble pattern
for others to love by, and is such an original picture, as
will never be equalled. But, my dear, had your will
been less favourable to me, I should perform all you
desire, but more especially with respect to your death
and funeral. As to your desire of sleeping with me in
MISS ELIZABETH ANNESLEY. 63
the same grave, I like it well ; and as we design to be
ground bedfellows till the last trump shall awake us
both, so I hope we shall be happy hereafter in the en
joyment of the beatific vision, and in the knowledge of
one another ; for I agree with you that we shall know
our friends in heaven. Wise and learned men of all
ages, and several scriptures, plainly show it; though I
verily believe, were there none but God and one saint
in heaven, that saint would be perfectly happy so as to
desire no more. But, whilst on earth, we may lawfully
please ourselves with hopes of meeting hereafter, and
lying in the same grave, where we shall be happy to
gether, if a senseless happiness can be so called. But
pray, my dear, be not afraid of my dying first; for I
have such a kindness for thee, that I dread the thoughts
of surviving thee, more than I do those of death.
Couldst thou think I would marry again, when it has
been one great comfort under all my languishments to
think I should die first, and that I shall live in him,
who ever since the happy union of our souls, has been
more dear to me than life itself. I shall only add my
hearty prayer, that God would bless thee both in soul
and body ; and that at length thy spirit may be con
veyed by angels into Abraham s bosom, where I hope
thou wilt find thy tender and dutiful
"Having given this short account of her conjugal
affection, and those other graces in which she excelled,
I shall next proceed to a relation of her sickness, death,
and funeral. In her last sickness, which lasted about
seven months, she never uttered a repining word : and
when God was pleased to call her home, she was willing
64 MISS JUDITH ANNESLEY.
to remove. Through the whole of her sickness, she
said there was no doubt upon her spirits as to her
future happiness. When her life began to burn a
little dim, she expressed herself thus to one that stood
by: heaven will make amends for all ; it is but a little
while before I shall be happy. I have good ground to
hope, that when I die, through Christ, I shall be
blessed, for I dedicated myself to God in my youth.
" When I saw her life just going, and my sorrows
overcame me, she said with an obliging sweetness,
do not be so concerned about parting, for I hope we
shall both meet where we shall never part ; however,
it is a solemn thing to die, whatever we may think of
it O ! this eternity ! There is no time for preparing
for heaven, like the time of youth. Though death be
ever so near, I can look back with joy on some of the
early years that I sweetly spent in my father s house ;
and how comfortably I lived there. Oh! what a mercy
it is to be dedicated to God betimes! When her soul
was just fluttering on the wing, she said, Lord pardon
my sins, and perfect me in holiness ; make me more
holy, and fit for that state, where holiness shall be
perfected. Accept of praises for the mercies I have
received ; fit me for whatsoever thou wilt do with me,
for Christ s sake. A little while after this she sweetly
fell asleep in Jesus, May 28, 16 J7.
Of MISS JUDITH ANNESLEY there is a
portrait in the family of Mr. Charles Wesley, probably
painted by Sir Peter Lely, where she is represented as
a very beautiful woman. A gentleman of considerable
fortune paid his addresses to her, and the attachment
MISS ANNE ANNESLEY. 65
was mutual j but when she perceived he was addicted
to drinking much wine, she utterly refused to marry
him, and died single. DUNTON, her brother-in-law,
gives the following character of her in his " Life and
Errors." " She is a virgin of eminent piety," says he,
" Good books, (above all the book of books,) are her
sweetest entertainment ; and she finds more comfort
there, than others do in their wardrobes. In a word,
she keeps a constant watch over the frame of her soul,
and course of her actions, by daily and strict examina
tion of both."
Of MISS ANNE ANNESLEY, DUNTON, who
greatly admired her, gives the following character :
" She is a wit for certain ; and, however time may have
dealt by her, when I first beheld her, I thought art
never feigned, nor nature formed, a finer woman."
MISS SUSANNA ANNESLEY, afterwards
Susanna Wesley, was the youngest daughter of Dr.
Annesley. We shall endeavour to do justice to the
character of this excellent woman, after we have noticed
that of her husband.
STUDIES MEDICINE. VISITS HIS BROTHER AT EPWORTH. MRS.
WESLEY S ACCOUNT OF THAT VISIT. MATTHEW S MEAN-SPIRITED
LETTER TO HIS BROTHER. THE RECTOR S REPLY. MRS. WRIGHT S
VEUSES TO THE MEMORY OF HER UNCLE.
It will be remembered that John Wesley, vicar of
Whitchurch, is said by CALAMY, to have had a nu
merous family. But the names of Matthew and Samuel
only have come down to us ; and it is probable that
the rest of the children died in infancy.
MATTHEW WESLEY, following the example of his
grandfather Bartholomew, studied physic, and settled
in London, after having travelled over the greatest part
of Europe for improvement. He is reported to have
been eminent in his profession, and to have made a
large fortune by his medical practice. It is not probable
that his father could give him an University education ;
but as the vicar taught a school for the support of his
family, for which he appears to have been eminently
qualified, no doubt his sons, particularly Matthew, who
was the eldest, had the rudiments of a classical educa
tion. It is also probable he would obtain additional
instruction in some of the Dissenting academies. In
the year 1731, Matthew visited his brother Samuel at
Epworth. This visit is described by MRS. WESLEY in
MATTHEW WESLEY. 67
a letter to her son John, then at Oxford ; and as it
contains some curious particulars, we shall insert it.
The letter (without intending it) depicts the supercilious
conduct, and deportment of a rich old bachelor amongst
his expectant relations.
" Epuorth, July 12, 1731.
" My brother Wesley had designed to have sur
prised us, and had travelled under a feigned name from
London to Gainsborough, but there sending his man
out for a guide, he told one that keeps our market his
master s name, and that he was going to see his
brother, who was the minister of Epworth. The man
he informed met with Molly about an hour before my
brother arrived. She, full of news, hastened home
and told us her uncle Wesley was coming to see us.
Twas odd to observe how all the town took the alarm,
and were upon the gaze, as if some great prince had
beeii about to make his entry. He rode directly to
John Dan-son s, (who keeps the inn,) but we had soon
notice of his arrival, and sent John Brown with an
invitation to our house. He expressed some displea
sure at his servant for letting us know of his coming,
for he intended to have sent for Mr. Wesley to dine
with him at Dawson s, and then come to visit us in the
afternoon. However, he soon followed John home,
where we were all ready to receive him with great
" His behaviour amongst us was civil and obliging.
He spake little to the children the first day, being
employed, as he afterwards told them, in observing
their carriage, and seeing how he liked them; after
wards he was very free, and expressed great kindness
68 MATTHEW WESLEY.
to them all. He was strangely scandalized at the
poverty of our furniture ; and much more at the mean
ness of the childrens habit. He always talked more
freely with your sisters of our circumstances than to
me ; and told them he wondered what his brother had
done with his income, for twas visible he had not
spent it in furnishing his house, or clothing his family.
" We had a little talk together sometimes, but it
was not often we could hold a private conference, and
he was very shy of speaking any thing relating to the
children before your father, or indeed of any other
matter. I informed him, as far as I handsomely could,
of our losses, &c., for I was afraid that he should think
I was about to beg of him: but the girls, (with whom
he had many private discourses,) I believe, told him
every thing they could think on. He was particularly
pleased with Patty; and one morning before Mr.
Wesley came down, he asked me if I was willing to let
Patty go and stay a year or two with him in London ?
Sister/ says he, I have endeavoured already to make
one of your children easy while she lives, and if you
please to trust Patty with me, I will endeavour to
make her so too/ Whatever others may think, I
thought this a generous offer ; and the more so, because
he had done so much for Sukey and Hetty. I ex
pressed my gratitude as well as I could; and would
have had him speak to your father, but he would not
himself, he left that to me ; nor did he ever mention it
to Mr. Wesley till the evening before he left us.
" He always behaved himself very decently at
family prayers, and in your father s absence, said
grace for us before and after meat. Nor did he ever
MATTHEW WESLEY. 69
interrupt our privacy ; but went into his own chamber
when we went into ours.
" He staid from Thursday to the Wednesday after ;
then he left us to go to Scarborough ; from whence he
returned the Saturday sen night after, intending to stay
with us a few days : but finding your sisters had gone
the day before to Lincoln, he would leave us on Sun
day morning, for he said he must see the girls before
they set forward for London. He overtook them at
Lincoln ; and had Mrs. Taylor, Emily and Kezzy, with
the rest, to supper with him at the Angel. On Monday
they breakfasted with him; then they parted expecting
to see him no more till they came to London : but on
Wednesday he sent his man to invite them to supper
at night. On Thursday he invited them to dinner,
at night to supper, and on Friday morning to break
fast; when he took his leave of them and rode for
London. They got into town on Saturday about noon,
and that evening Patty writ me an account of her
" Before Mr. Wesley went to Scarborough, I in
formed him of what I knew of Mr. Morgan s case.
When he came back, he told me he had tried the Spa
at Scarborough, and could assure me, that it far ex
celled all the other Spas in .Europe, for he had been
at them all, both in Germany and elsewhere ; that at
Scarborough there were two springs, as he was informed,
close together, which flowed into one basin, the one a
chalybeate, the other & purgative water, and he did not
believe there was the like in any other part of the world.
Say she, if that gentleman you told me of could by
any means be got thither, though his age is the most
70 MATTHEW WESLEY.
dangerous time in life for his distemper, yet I am of
opinion those waters would cure him. I thought good
to tell you this, that you might, if you please, inform
Mr. Morgan of it.
" Dear Jackey, I can t stay now to talk about
Hetty and Patty ; but this I hope better of both
than some others do. I pray God to bless you. Adieu !
There does not appear to have been much intimacy
between Matthew and his brother Samuel. Though
Matthew was no zealot in religious matters, yet it is to
be supposed that his brother leaving the Dissenters,
and running into High Church and Tory principles,
would not be agreeable to him, nor to his mother and
aunts, who were then living, and continued to adhere
to the Dissenters ; hence a distance was naturally
occasioned between the brothers. Matthew was also a
careful economist, and being a bachelor, knew little of
the troubles of a family, and could ill judge of domestic
expenses on a large scale.
Probably is was just after this visit that he wrote
a severe letter to his brother Samuel, accusing him of
bad economy, and of not making provision for his
large family ; and indirectly blaming him for having
become a married man. This severe letter Samuel
answered in a serio-jocose style, and amply vindicated
the whole of his conduct against what he calls the
imputation of his ill husbandry. Of Matthew s letter
only an extract remains in the hand-writing of his
brother. We shall give it here, and also Mr. Samuel
Wesley s defence. Matthew s letter, which is without
date, begins thus :
MATTHEW WESLEY. 71
" The same record which assures us an infidel
cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven, also asserts in
the consequence, that a worse than an infidel can never
do it. It likewise describes the character of such an
one, he who provides not for his own, especially
those of his own house ! You have a numerous off
spring, you have long had a plentiful estate ; great and
generous benefactors, and have made no provision
for those of your own house, who can have nothing in
view at your exit but distress. This I think is a black
acconnt ; let the cause be folly or vanity, or ungovern
able appetites. I hope providence has restored you
again to give you time to settle this balance, which
shocks me to think of. To this end I must advise you
to be frequent in your perusal of BISHOP BEVERIDGE
on Repentance, and DR. TILLOTSON on Restitution;
for it is not saying Lord, Lord ! that will bring us to
the kingdom of heaven, but doing justice to our fellow
creatures ; and not a poetical imagination that we do
so. A serious consideration of these things, and
suitable actions, I doubt not, will qualify you to meet
me where sorrow shall be no more, which is the highest
hope and expectation of yours, &c."
This language is much too severe. " Had Samuel
Wesley imitated the conduct of his brother Matthew,"
says DR. CLARKE, " John and Charles Wesley had
probably never been born ; and who can say that the
great light which they were the instruments, in the
hand of God, of pouring out upon the land, and spread
ing amongst the nations of the earth, had ever been
diffused by any other means ? Men should be aware
how they arraign the dispensations and ordinances of
72 MATTHEW WESLEY.
Divine Providence. It is not good for man to be alone,
therefore God instituted marriage. He who marries
does well : arid, it is only in the case of a general perse
cution of the church, that he who does not marry, does
better. Matthew Wesley is extinct ! Samuel, his
brother, still lives in his natural and spiritual progeny.
God has crowned him with honour ; and it is with diffi
culty that even the name of his brother has been
rescued from oblivion."
We shall now insert Samuel s reply to Matthew s
peevish letter. It is supposed to be written and com
municated by a third person, who, having seen the
letter of Matthew, read it to his brother Samuel, "that
he might know what the left-handed part of the world
said of him." The letter is headed "John o Styles
Apology against the imputation of his ill Husbandry."
The pretended narrator goes on thus,
"When I read this to my friend John o Styles, I
was a little surprised that he did not fall into flouncing
and bouncing, as I have too often seen him do on far
less provocation ; which I ascribed to a fit of sickness
which he had lately, and which I hope may have
brought him to something of a better rnind. He stood
calm and composed for a minute or two ; and then de
sired he might peruse the letter, adding, that if the
matter therein contained were true, and not aggravated
or misrepresented, he was obliged in conscience to ac
knowledge it, and ask pardon, at least of his family, if
he could make them no other satisfaction. And if it were
not true, he owed that justice to himself and his family,
to clear himself, if possible, of so vile an imputation.
After he had read it over, he said, he did not think it
necessary to enter into a detail of the history of his
whole life, from sixteen to upwards of seventy, in order
to the vindication of his conduct in all the particulars
of it ; but the method he chose, which he hoped Mould
be satisfactory to all unprejudiced persons, would be
to make general observations, on those general accu
sations which have been brought forward against
him ; and then to add some balance of his income and
expences ever since he entered on the stage of life.
"He observes, that almost all his indictment con
sists of generals, wherein fraud almost always lurks,
and it is next to impossible to free itself entirely from it.
" The sum of the libel may be reduced to the fol
lowing assertions: 1. That John o Styles is worse
than an infidel, and therefore can never go to heaven.
2. He aims at proving this, because he provides not for
his own house : as notorious instances of which he adds
in the third place, that he had a numerous offspring;
and has had a long time a plentiful estate, and great
and generous benefactors, but yet has made no provision
for those of his own house ; which he thinks, in the
last place, a black account, let the cause be folly or
"Answer. If God has blessed him with a nu
merous offspring, he has no reason to be ashamed of
them, nor they of him, unless perhaps one of them;
and if he had but that single one, it might have proved
no honour or support to his name and family. Neither
does his conscience accuse him that he has made no
provision for those of his own house; which general
accusation includes them all. But has he none, nay
not above one, two or three, to whom he has (and some
74 MATTHEW WESLEY.
of them at very considerable expences) given the best
education which England could afford ; by God s
blessing on which they live honourably and comfort
ably in the world; some of whom have already been a
considerable help to the others, as well as to himself;
and he has no reason to doubt the same of the rest, as
soon as God shall enable them to do it ; and there are
many gentlemen s families in England, who by the
same method provide for their younger children. And
he hardly thinks that there are many of greater estates,
but would be glad to change the best of theirs, or even
all their stock, for almost the worst of his. Neither is
he ashamed of claiming some merit in his having been
so happy in breeding them up in his own principles and
practice ; not only the priests of his family, but all the
rest, to a steady opposition and confederacy against all
such as are avowed and declared enemies to God, and
his clergy ; and who deny or disbelieve any articles of
natural or revealed religion; as well as to such as are
open or secret friends to the Great Rebellion ; or any
such principles as do but squint towards the same
practices ; so that he hopes, they are all staunch high
church, and for inviolable passive obedience ; from which
if any of them should be so wicked as to degenerate,
he can t tell whether he could prevail with himself to
give them his blessing ; though at the same time he
almost equally abhors all servile submission to the
greatest, and most overgrown tool of state, whose avow
ed design is to aggrandize his prince at the expense of
the liberties and properties of his free-born subjects.
Thus much for John o Styles ecclesiastical and political
creed ; and, as he hopes for those of his family. And
MATTHEW WESLEY. 75
as his adversary adds, that at his exit they could have
nothing in view but distress; and that it is a black
account, let the cause be folly or vanity/ John o Styles
answered : he has not the least doubt of God s pro
vision for his family after his decease, if they continue
in the way of righteousness, as well as for himself while
living. As for his folly, he owns that he can hardly
demur to the charge; for he fairly acknowledges he
never was, nor never will be, like the children of this
world, who are accounted wise in their generation, court
ing this world and regarding nothing else ; not but that
he has all his life laboured truly both with his hands,
head, and heart, to provide things honest in the sight
of all men ; to get his own living, and that of those who
are dependant on him.
"As for his vanity, he challenges an instance to
be given of any extravagance in any single branch of
his expences, through the whole course of his life,
either in dress, diet, horses, recreation or diversion,
either in himself or family.
" As for the plentiful estate, and great and gene
rous benefactors, which he likewise mentions : as to
the latter of them, the person accused answered, that
he could never acknowledge, as he ought, the goodness
of God, and of his generous benefactors on that occa
sion; but hopes he may add, that he had never tasted
so mnch of their kindness, if they had not believed him
to be an honest man. Thus much he said in general,
but added as to the particular instances, he should only
add a blank balance, and leave it to any after his death,
if they should think it worth while to cast it up accord
ing to common equity, and then they would be more
76 MATTHEW WESLEY.
proper judges whether he deserved those imputations,
which are now thrown upon him.
"Imprimis. When he first walked to Oxford, he
had in cash 2 o*.
He lived there till he took his bachelor s degree,
without any preferment, or assistance except one crown.
By God s blessing on his own industry, he brought
to London 10 15*.
When he came to London, he got deacon s orders,
and a cure, for which he had 28 for one year.
In which year for his board, ordination and habit,
he was indebted 30, which he afterwards paid.
Then he went to sea, where he had for one year
70, not paid till two years after his return.
He then got a curacy of 30 per annum, for two
years, and by his own industry he made it 60 per
He married, and had a son ; and he and his wife
and child boarded for some years, in or near London,
without running into debt.
" He then had a living given him in the country
[South Ormsby] let for 50 per annum, where he had
five children more ; in which time, and while he lived
in London, he wrote a book [The Life of Christ] which
he dedicated to Queen Mary, who gave him a living in
the country, [Epworth] valued at 200 per annum,
where he remained for nearly forty years, and wherein
his numerous offspring amounted with the former, to
" Half of his parsonage house was first burnt, which
he rebuilt : sometime after, the whole was burnt to the
ground, which he rebuilt from the foundations, and it
MATTHEW WESLEY. 77
cost him above 400, besides the furniture, none of
which was saved ; and he was forced to renew it.
"Some years after, he got a little living [Wroote]
adjoining to his former ; the profits of which very little
more than defrayed the expenses of serving it, and
sometimes hardly so much, his whole tithe having been
in a manner swept away by inundations, for which the
parishioners had a brief; though he thought it not
decent for himself to be joined with them in it.
" Many years he has been employed in composing
a large bock, [Dissertations on Job,] whereby he hopes
that he may be of some benefit to the world, and in
a degree amend his own fortunes. By sticking so
close to this work, he lias broke a pretty strong con
stitution, and fallen into the palsy and gout. Besides
he has had sickness in his family, for the most of the
years since he was married.
" His greater living seldom cleared more than five
score pounds per annum, out of which he allowed 20
a-year to a person [Mr. WhitelamH\ who married one
of his daughters. Could we on the whole fix the
balance, it would easily appear whether he has been an
ill husband, or careless and idle, and taken no care of
" Let all this be balanced, and then a guess may
easily be made of his sorry arrangement. He can
struggle with the world, but not with Providence ; nor
can he resist sickness, fires, and inundations."
" This letter is a complete refutation of the charges
made against John a Styles, b^y a narrow-minded and
selfish bachelor; but at the same time it shows that
John s church and state politics were sufficiently elevated.
That Mr. Matthew Wesley continued with the
Dissenters till his death, is highly probable. But as
he appears to have taken no part in the political and
polemical disputes which then divided the public, he
was thought by several to be indifferent to all forms of
religion. " Had this been the case," says Miss
WESLEY, (daughter of Charles Wesley) " I should
hardly have supposed that such good parents as my
grandfather and grandmother, would have entrusted
him with their darling daughter Martha. He had
Hetty before. Martha often told me she never had
any reason to believe it, as he approved of her habit of
going regularly to morning prayers at Church, and
was exemplary moral in his words and actions, es
teeming religion, but never talking of its mysteries."
Martha however complains in a letter which she wrote
to her brother John in 1730, that her uncle Matthew
was not "decidedly pious" though strictly moral.
This letter is not to Martha s credit, after the kindness
and indulgence which she acknowledges he had mani
fested to her. Besides, it was written at a time when
her brothers John and Charles considered that she
was far from being enlightened. This disposition to
pronounce on the spiritual state of individuals is not
uncommon in the present day. Nothing, however, is
We have the most minute information respecting
Matthew Wesley from some lines to his memory, writ
ten by his niece MRS. WRIGHT. We fear, however, they
are too laudatory. Matthew Wesley might be a good
and excellent man in his way, but he certainly appears,
from all that we can gather respecting him, to have been
avaricious and narrow-minded. He died in the year
1737. We shall insert the verses, which are honour
able to his niece, and written in the purest spirit of
poetry and feeling. CLIO is her assumed poetic name ;
VARO that of her uncle.
How can the Muse attempt to sing,
Forsaken by her guardian power?
Ah me ! that she survives to sing
Her friend and patron now no more ?
Yet private grief she might suppress,
Since CLIO bears no selfish mind ;
But oh ! she mourns to wild excess
The friend and patron of mankind.
Alas . the sovereign healing art,
Which rescu d thousands from the grave,
Unaided left the gentlest heart,
Nor could its skilful master save.
Who shall the helpless sex sustain,
Now VARO S lenient hand is gone,
Which knew so well to soften pain,
And ward all dangers but his own ?
His darling Muse, his CLIO dear,
Whom first his favour rais d to fame,
His gentle voice vouchsafd to cheer;
His art upheld her tender frame.
Pale envy durst not show her teeth ;
Above contempt she gaily shone
Chief favourite, till the hand of death
Endanger d BOTH by striking ONE.
Perceiving well, devoid of fear,
His latest fatal conflict nigh,
Rcclin d on her he held most dear,
Whose breast received his parting sigh ;
With ev ry art and grace adorn d,
By man admir d, by heaven approv d,
Good VAUO died applauded, mourn d,
And honour d by the Muse he lov d.
SAMUEL WESLEY, RECTOR OF EPWORTH.
EDUCATED IN A DISSENTING ACADEMY. GOES TO THE UNIVERSITY
OF OXFORD. HIS REASONS FOR LEAVING THE DISSENTERS.
WRITES AGAINST THEIR ACADEMIES. MARRIES DR. ANNESLEY S
YOUNGEST DAUGHTER. SOLICITED TO FAVOUR POPERY BY THE
FRIENDS OF JAMES II. WRITES IN FAVOUR OF THE REVOLUTION
OF 1688. PRESENTED TO THE RECTORY OF EPWORTH. MRS.
WESLEY AND HER HUSBAND DIFFER AS TO THE TITLE OF
WILLIAM III. THE RECTOR PROPOSED FOR AN IRISH BISHOPRIC.
ARCHBISHOP SHARP A KIND FRIEND TO HIM. HIS LETTERS
TO THE ARCHBISHOP. THE PARSONAGE HOUSE DESTROYED BY
FIRE. MRS. WESLEY S ACCOUNT OF THAT CALAMITY. STRANGE
PHENOMENA IN THE PARSONAGE HOUSE AFTER IT WAS REBUILT.
DR. PRIESTLEY S OPINION OF THESE DISTURBANCES. MR. WES
LEY S DISSERTATIONS ON THE BOOK OF JOB THIS BOOK PRE
SENTED TO THE QUEEN BY HIS SON JOHN. HIS DEATH, AS
DETAILED BY HIS SON CHARLES. HIS CHARACTER. ANEC
DOTES RESPECTING HIM. HIS WORKS.
We now proceed to notice the other son of the
vicar of Whitchurch. SAMUEL, father of the late Mr.
John Wesley, was born at Whitchurch, about the year
1662. He was educated in the free school at Dorches
ter, and afterwards became a pupil in MR. MORTON S
academy,* being designed for the ministry among the
Dissenters ; but his father dying whilst he was young,
he forsook them, and went into High Church principles,
and political toryism. When he meditated his retreat
* It appears from DUNTON S account, that Mr. Wesley was also at
MR. EDWARD VEAL S Dissenting academy, a man whom he describes to
be " an universal scholar, and of great piety and usefulness."
SAMUEL WESLEY, RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 81
into the Episcopal church, he lived with his mother
and aunt, both strongly attached to the principles of
dissent; and well knowing that they would feel indig
nant at the disclosure of his apostacy, he got up early
one morning, and without acquainting any one with his
purpose, set out on foot to Oxford, and entered him
self at Exeter College. When he began his studies at
the university, he had but two pounds sixteen shillings,
and no prospect of any further supply. From that
time till he graduated, a single crown was all the assist
ance he received from his friends. It was by composing
Elegies, Epitaphs, and Epithalamiums for his friend
JOHN DUNTON, who traded in these articles, and kept
a stock of them ready made, that Mr. Wesley supported
himself at Oxford, and had accumulated the sum of
10 15s. when he went to London to be ordained.
He took his Bachelor s degree in 1688. Having
served in a cure one year, and as chaplain during
another, on board a king s ship, he settled upon a curacy
in the metropolis, and married.
The reason why Mr. Samuel Wesley left the Dis
senters has been variously stated. His son Jo/in says,
"some severe invectives were then written against the
Dissenters, and my father being deemed a young man of
considerable talents, was pitched upon to answer them.
This set him on a course of reading, which soon produced
an effect very different from what had been intended.
Instead of writing the wished for answer, he saw reason
to change his opinions ; and actually formed a resolu
tion to renounce the Dissenters, and attach himself to
the established church." His own account is as follows,
"After my return to London from the university I
82 SAMUEL WESLEY,
contracted an acquaintance with a gentleman of the
church of England, who knowing my former way of life,
did often importune me to give him an account, in
writing, of the Dissenters methods of education in their
private academies, concerning which he had heard
from me several passages in former conversations ;
though, for some time, I did not satisfy him therein,
but it was the following occurrence which altered my
inclination. I happened to be with some of my former
acquaintance at a house in Leadenhall Street, or there
abouts, in the year 1693 : all of them were Dissenters
except one, and their discourse was so profane that I
could not endure it, but went to the other side of the
room with a doctor of physic, who had been my fellow
pupil at Mr. Morton s, and to whom I owe it in justice
to declare that he also disliked the conversation.
" A little after this, we went to supper, when they
all fell a railing at monarchy, and blaspheming the
memory of King Charles the Martyr* discoursing of the
* LORD CLARENDON, recording the trial and condemnation of Charles
I. calls him "the most innocent person in the world," and designates
the execution" as the most execrable murder that was ever committed
since that of ourhlessed Saviour. The present LORD DOVER remarks on
this passage, that " thousands and tens of thousands of men, more innocent
than the tyrannical Charles, have been put to death without their execution
being likened to that of the Saviour of mankind." The University of Ox
ford had hanging in the Bodleian library two portraits, one of Christ, and the
other of Charles I. exactly similar in every respect, with an account of their
sufferings at the bottom of each."
DR. YOUNG, when describing "the last day," has ventured in a grossly
flattering dedication to Queen Anne, to allude to her royal grandsire stand
ing amidst spotless saints, and laureled martyrs, before the awful seat of
judgment, in the following manner:
"His lifted hands his lofty neck surround
To hide the scarlet of a circling wound j
The Almighty Judge bends forward from his throne,
Those scars to mark, and then regards his own."
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 83
CALVES -HEAD CLUB, and producing, or repeating some
verses on that subject. I remember one of the com
pany told us of a design they had at their next meeting,
to have a cold pie served on the table with either a live
cat or hare: I have forgot whether, enclosed; and
they would contrive to put one of the company, who
loved monarchy, and knew nothing of the matter, to
cut it up, whereupon ; and on leaping out of the cat or
hare, they were all to set up a shout, and cry, Hallo,
old puss ! to the honour of the good cause, and to show
their affection to a commonwealth.
" By this as well as several other discourses which
I heard among them, so turned my stomach, and gave
me such a just indignation against these villainous prin
ciples and practices, that I returned to my lodgings,
and resolved to draw up what the gentleman desired."
This is severe enough when charged upon the
Dissenters a* a body, but it does not equal the virulence
and coarseness of language in some pamphlets which,
about this time, Mr. Wesley wrote against the Dis
senters and their academies. He did not, however,
R. M. BEVERLEY, ESQ., in his second Letter to the Archbishop of
York, has the following remarks on this subject. Charles I," says he, "is
so intimately bound up with the church of England, that all things connected
with him should be narrowly inspected. He is a blessed Martyr in the
Prayer-book, and a solemn service is dedicated to his memory on the 30th
of January. This service is so transcendently blasphemous that I cannot
but bring it before your Grace. The sentences appointed for that service
are, He heard the blasphemy of the multitude, and fear was on every side
while they conspired together against him, to take away his life, they took
counsel together, saying, God hath forsaken him, persecute him and take
him, for there is none to deliver him, &c. The second lesson for the morn
ing service, is the crucifixion of our Saviour, When the morning was come
all the chief Priests and Elders of the people took counsel against JESUS, to
put him to death, Ifc. The Gospel appointed for the day is Matt. xxi.
Last of all he sent unto them his Son, saying, they will reverence my Son
they said among themselves, this is the heir, come let us kill him, &c."
84 SAMUEL WESLEY,
escape with impunity. DE FOE, who was his fellow
pupil at MR. MORTON S academy, thus does honour to
the memory of his tutor, and chastises the conduct of
his ungrateful pupil : " Mr. Wesley, author of two
pamphlets calculated to blacken our education in the
academies of the dissenters, ingeniously confesses him
self guilty of many crimes in his youth, and is the
readier to confess them, as he would lay them at the
door of the dissenters, amongst whom he was educated,
though I humbly conceive it no more proof of the
immorality of the dissenters in their schools that he
was a little rakish himself, than the hanging five
students of Cambridge in a short time for robbing on
the highway, should prove that padding is a science
taught at the university. He takes a great deal of
pains to prove, that in those academies were, or are
taught anti-monarchial principles." This De Foe re
buts by saying, that he had still by him the manuscript
of those political exercises which were then performed
in the academy, the inspection of which were open to
any one. The schools of the Dissenters, he says, " are
not so private but that they may be known, and they
are not so much ashamed of their performance, but
that any churchman may be admitted to hear and see
what they teach."
DUNTON, in his life, thus alludes to his brother-in-
law at this period, " I must add my old friend, Samuel
Wesley. He was educated upon charity in a private
academy, if we may take his own word for it, in his late
pamphlet, which was designedly written to expose and
overthrow those academies. One would have thought
that either gratitude, or his own reputation in the world,
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 85
and among his relations and his best friends, might
have kept him silent; though when a man is resolved
to do himself a mischief, who can prevent it." Of MR.
MORTON, who was tutor of the academy in which Mr.
Wesley was educated, DUNTON, who knew him well, thus
speaks : " His conversation showed him a gentleman.
He was the very soul of philosophy ; the several manu
scripts which he wrote for the use of his private
academy, sufficiently showed this. He was a repository
of all arts and sciences, and of the graces. His dis
courses were not stale nor studied, but always new, and
occasionally, they were high, but not soaring; prac
tical, but not low. His memory was as vast as his know
ledge ; yet, (so great was his humility) he knew it the
least of any man. Mr. Morton being thus accomplished,
(as all will own but Sam. Wesley, who has fouled his nest*
in hopes of a bishopric) he certainly must be as fit to
bring up young men to the ministry, as any in England."
MR. WILSON, in his " Life and Times ofDe Foe,"
says, "amongst those who assisted to injure the Dis
senters at this time, (1703) was the well known rector
of Epworth, Samuel Wesley, who had been born and
educated amongst them. Having penned some
thoughts, intermixed with many gross reflections that
deeply affected their character, he transmitted them to
a particular friend, who had applied to him for informa
tion upon the subject. After slumbering nearly ten
years in manuscript, from whence it would have been
well for the reputation of the writer if they had never
emerged, they were committed to press; and as his
biographers say, without his consent or knowledge.
See his Satire on Dissenting Academies.
86 SAMUEL WESLEY,
" The time selected for the publication showed the
malicious intention of the person; for the Dissenters
were then under the frown of the civil powers, and in
daily expectation of some fresh act for the curtailment
of their liberties. With regard to Mr. Wesley, no ex
cuse can be made for his conduct. If, when he quitted
the dissenters, he had been satisfied with his own con
formity, and abstained from any ungenerous reflections
upon his former benefactors, no one would have had any
right to question his motives, or to impeach his conduct.
But, unhappily, he appears always to have been de
ficient in judgment; and the indiscretion of his friend
in thus bringing him before the public, laid him open
to the heavy charges of baseness and ingratitude.
" The dissenters, being excluded from the public
schools, had no other alternative than to institute
seminaries of their own, or to rear their children in
ignorance. As it was not reasonable that they should
so far accommodate themselves to the prejudices of
churchmen as to submit to the latter, the other expedi
ent was the only course left them. It might have been
expected by any reasonable person, that the ample
endowments of the established church, and the total
exclusion of dissenters from the least participation in
them, would have been sufficient to satisfy the most
craving mouths, and to quiet the monopolists. But
the demands of bigotry are not easily answered, and
the more plentiful the food, the more voracious the
appetite. To a mind cast in the mould of SACHEVEREL,
who was in the foremost of their accusers, it is no
wonder that they should appear an insupportable
grievance ; for in the crucible of party, the most inno-
RECTOR OF EPWORTH.
cent plants are converted by an easy process into the
most deadly poison." It is to be regretted that the
respectable name of Wesley should be dishonoured by
an association with this church malignant ; but the sons
of the prophets too often degenerate from the virtues
of their parents ; and the apostates from Non-conformity
have generally been amongst its bitterest opponents.
DR. CLARKE says, that though " Mr. Wesley was
ill used by several of the dissenters ; he appears too
often to attribute the unchristian and cruel treatment
he received from them as the work of the whole body ;
as if dissenting principles must necessarily produce
such wicked effects. Besides, he was an unqualified
admirer of Charles I., considered him in the fullest
sense a martyr, and was often intolerant to those who
differed from him in this opinion." The Doctor proper
ly adds, that " neither the name, nor peculiar creed of
churchmen nor dissenter, is essential to salvation. He
alone deserves the title of Christian who wishes well to
the human race, and labours to promote, according to
his power and influence, the best interests of mankind.
No man, professing godliness, should forget to imitate
Him who maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the
good, and sendeth his rain on the just, and on the
As to the CALVES -HEAD-CLUB to which Mr. Wesley
alludes, \ve shall give a history of it at the end of this
volume, the subject meriting a more detailed account
than would be suitable in this place. We shall, how
ever, insert the following lines as a specimen of what
was said to have been sung at these meetings. We by
no means justify the sentiments they contain, though
the composition, as a song, may not be without some
" Twas an action great and daring,
Nature smiled at what they did :
When our fathers nothing fearing,
Made the haughty tyrant bleed.
" Priests and we this day observing,
Only differ in one thing ;
They are canting, whining, starving,
We in raptures drink and sing.
" Advance the emblem* of the action,
Fill the calf-skin full of wine ;
Drinking ne er was counted faction,
Men and gods adore the vine."
In the APPENDIX we shall endeavour to show that
whatever may have been asserted to the contrary, the
Dissenters, as a religious community, are exonerated
from any participation in the orgies of the 30th January.
In all societies there will be individuals of various
tastes and opinions, but it would be absurd to make
whole bodies responsible for the faults of a few. When
we see tyrants canonized by authority as martyrs, or
read the decisions of councils or convocations, we have
a right to consider them as the acts of the body they
represent, and treat them accordingly ; but not so the
acts of private persons.
We have seen, that after our young collegian left
Oxford, he went to London. There he married the
youngest daughter of DR. ANNESLEY ; of this lady
honourable mention will be made hereafter. Young
Wesley s introduction into this respectable family was
* The Axe.
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 89
probably owing to his acquaintance with DUNTON, for
whom he wrote much both in prose and verse. Mr.
Wesley is said to have written two hundred couplets
a-day, certainly too much to be well finished. Soon
after his marriage he was presented with the living
of South Ormsby in Lincolnshire, worth about 50
per annum. This is supposed to be the place of which
MR. JOHN WESLEY gives the following account :
"My father s first preferment in the Church was a
small parish given him by the MARQUIS of NORMANBY,
afterwards Duke of Buckingham. This nobleman had
a house in the parish, where a woman who lived with
him usually resided. This lady would be intimate
with my mother, whether she would or not. To such
an intercourse my father would not submit. Coming in
one day, and finding this intrusive visitant sitting with
my mother, he went up to her, and handed her out.
The Marquis resented the affront so outrageously, as to
make it necessary for my father to resign the living/
His brother-in-law, DUNTON, being an adventurous
publisher, Mr. Wesley employed him to print his first
work, the title is as follows : " MAGGOTS, or Poems
on subjects never before handled." To this work, which
was written at the age of nineteen, Mr. Wesley did not
put his name. But there was prefixed to it the portrait
of a man writing at a table, on his forehead a maggot,
and underneath these lines :
" In s own defence the author writes,
Because when this foul maggot bites
He ne er can rest in quiet :
Which makes him make so sad a face,
He d beg your Worship, or your Grace,
Unsight, unseen, to buy it."
Duntou aud Wesley appear to have been connected
in several book speculations, but they afterwards quar
relled. On this occasion Dunton thus writes: "I
could be very magotty on the character of this con
forming dissenter ; but except he further provoke me,
I bid him farewell till we meet in heaven ; and there I
hope we shall renew our friendship, for, human frailties
excepted, I believe Sam. Wesley to be a pious man."
Dunton further says that "he wrote very much
for him both in prose and verse, though he would not
name over the titles, for he was then as unwilling to
see his name at the bottom of them, as Mr. Wesley
would be to subscribe his own.
About this time Mr. Wesley was strongly solicited
by the friends of James II. to support the measures of
the court in favour of popery, with promises of prefer
ment if he would comply. But he absolutely refused
to read the king s declaration, and though surrounded
with courtiers, soldiers, and informers, he preached
boldly against it from Daniel iii. 17, 18, If it be so,
our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the
burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of
thine hand, O king. But if not, be it knoivn unto thce,
O king, that we irill not serve thy gods, nor worship the
golden image which thou hast set up. His son Samuel
describes this circumstance in the following lines :
"When zealous JAMES, unhappy sought the way
To establish Rome by arbitrary sway ;
In vain were bribes shower d by the guilty crown,
He sought no favour, as he fear d no frown.
Secure in faith, exempt from worldly views,
He dar d the declaration to refuse :
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 91
Then from the sacred pulpit boldly show d
The dauntless Hebrews, true to Israel s God ;
Who spake regardless of their king s commands,
The God we serve can save us from thy hands ;
If not, O monarch, know we choose to die,
Thy gods alike, and thrcatenings, we defy ;
No power on earth our faith has e er controll d,
We scorn to worship idols, though of gold.
Resistless truth damp d all the audience round,
The base informer sickened at the sound ;
Attentive courtiers conscious stood amaz d,
And soldiers silent trembled when they gaz d.
No smallest murmur of distaste arose,
Abash d, and vanquish d, seem d the church s foes.
So when like real their bosoms did inspire,
The Jewish martyrs walk d unhurt in fire."
When the Revolution of 1688 took place, Mr.
Wesley cordially approved of it, and was the first who
Avrote in its defence. This work he dedicated to QUEEN
MARY, who, in consequence, gave him the living of
Epworth, in Lincolnshire, about the year 1693, and in
1723 he was also presented to that of Wroote in the
same county. The late Mr. John Wesley has, however,
been heard to say, that at first his father was attached
to the interests of JAMES, but when he heard him
threaten the Master and Fellows of Magdalen College,
(lifting up his lean arm,) "If you refuse to obey me,
you shall feel the weight of a king s right hand ;" he
pronounced him a tyrant, and resolved from that time
to give him no kind of support.
Mrs. Wesley differed from her husband in opinion
concerning the Revolution, but as she understood the
duty and the wisdom of obedience, she did not express
her dissent; and he discovered it only a year before
92 SA.MUEL WESLEY,
King William died, by observing that she did not say
Amen to the prayers for him. Instead of imitating her
forbearance, he questioned her upon the subject : and
when she told him that she did not believe the Prince
of Orange was king, he vowed never to cohabit with her
till she did. Mr. John Wesley thus related this
anecdote to DR. ADAM CLARKE : " f Sukey/ (for that
was the familiar name he called his wife Susanna,)
Sukey said my father to my mother one day after
family prayer, why did you not say Amen this morning
to the prayer for the king ? Because said she,
I do not believe the Prince of Orange to be king.
If that be the case/ said he, you and I must part ;
for if we must have two kings, we must have two beds.
My mother was inflexible. My father went immediately
to his study ; and after spending some time with him
self, set out for London, where he remained without
visiting his own house the remainder of the year. On
the 8th of March the following year, 1702, King
William died, and as both my father and mother were
agreed as to Queen Anne s title, the cause of their mis
understanding ceased ; he returned to Epworth, and
conjugal harmony was restored." John was the first
child after this separation.
In the beginning of the year 1691, JOHN DUNTON
projected a paper which was first entitled " The
Athenian Gazette, or Casuistical Mercury ; resolving
all the nice and curious qiiestions proposed by the in
genious :" but which, in a short time, was altered to
the "Athenian Mercury." The conductors of this
Work were designated the " Athenian Society," and
consisted of but three members JOHN DUNTON,
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 93
RICHARD SAULT,* and SAMUEL WESLEY, who were also
the proprietors, and divided the profits amongst them.
Mr. Wesley held the living of Epworth upwards
of forty years. His abilities would have done him
credit in a more conspicuous situation ; and had Queen
Mary lived longer, it is probable that he would not
have spent so great apart of his life in such an obscure
corner of the kingdom. Talents found their way into
public less readily in that age, than at present.
"About this time," says MR. MOORE, "the rector
of Epworth was in London, when, as the late Mr. John
Wesley informed me, his father happened to go into a
coffee-house for some refreshment. There were several
gentlemen in a box at the other end of the room; one
of whom, an officer of the Guards, swore dreadfully.
The rector saw that he could not speak to him without
much difficulty; he therefore desired the waiter to
* "In mentioning the name of RICHARD SAULT," says DR. CLARKE,
"I am led to notice a work which then made a great deal of noise in the
world, and since that time, both noise and mischief. I mean a pamphlet
entitled the second Spira, or a narrative of the death of the Hon. Fr. Nt,
son of the late , published by John Dunton; and re-published by MR.
WESLEY in the Arminian Magazine for 1783. When I first saw this account
I believed it to be, what I ever thought the first Francis S]>ira to be, a
forgery, and one of a most dangerous tendency, calculated only to drive weak
persons into despair. That my judgment concerning the Second Spira was
not wrong, I learn from JOHN DlTN TON, who in his Life and Errors gives
the history of this work. He tells us that he received the account from Mr.
Richard Saidt, who told him that the materials out of which he had formed
the copy were obtained from a Divine of the church of England : and he
pretends to confirm the truth of it by a letter and preface from the same
gentleman. When this matter was sifted to the bottom, it was found the
story could be traced to no authentic source ; and that it was wholly the
contrivance of Mr. Sault ; who being a man often afflicted with morbid
melancholy, and its insupportable companion, despair of God s mercy, wrote
it as a picture of his own mind. When the original memoirs came to be
examined, which Mr. Sault pretended to have received as above, they were
found to be in his own hand-writing, but disguised. I wish this fact to he
known to all religious people, and particularly to the Methodists."
94 SAMUEL WESLEY,
bring him a glass of water. When it was brought, he
said aloud, carry it to yon gentleman in the red coat,
and desire him to wash his mouth after his oaths/ The
officer rose up in a fury ; but the gentlemen in the box
laid hold of him, one of them crying out, nay, Colonel,
you gave the first offence. You see the gentleman
is a clergyman. You know it is an affront to swear in
his presence/ The officer was thus restrained, and Mr.
" Some years after, being again in London, and
walking in St. James s Park, a gentleman joined him,
who, after some conversation, enquired if he recollected
having seen him before. Mr. Wesley replied in the
negative. The gentleman then recalled to his remem
brance the scene at the coffee-house, and added, since
that time, Sir, I thank God, I have feared an oath ; and
as I have a perfect recollection of you, I rejoiced at
seeing you, and could not refrain from expressing my
gratitude to God and you. A word spoken in season
how good is it /"
From the year 1693 to 1700, Mr. Wesley met with
various misfortunes and trials. For a time he possess
ed the friendship of the Marquis of Normanby, after
wards Duke of Buckingham, who made him his chaplain,
and recommended him for an Irish bishopric. This
appears from a letter in Birch s Life of TILLOTSON,
dated August 31st, 1694. The Archbishop writing to
the then Bishop of Salisbury says, "My Lord Marquis of
Normanby having made Mr. Wesley his chaplain, sent
Colonel Fitzgerald to propose him for a bishopric in
Ireland, wherewith I acquainted her Majesty, who, ac
cording to her true judgment, did by no means think fit."
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 95
In the reign of QUEEN ANNE Mr. Wesley s prospects
again appeared to brighten. A poem which he pub
lished upon the battle of Blenheim pleased the DUKE
of MARLBOROUGH, and the author was rewarded with
the chaplainship of a regiment.* Of this, however, the
Dissenters, with whom he was then engaged in contro
versy, were powerful enough to deprive him. No
enmity is so envenomed as that of religious faction.
In the midst of all his troubles Mr. Wesley had a
true and kind friend in DR. JOHN SHARP, Archbishop
of York, who acted the part of a most beneficent patron.
* His larger Poems were rather injurious than advantageous to his literary
reputation j and, instead of raising him in public estimation as a poet, they
exposed him to the derision of the wits, and the censure of the critics. It is
said that MR. POPE had but a contemptible opinion of Mr. Wesley s poetical
talents, and that in an early edition of the DUNCIAD Mr. Wesley was
honoured with a niche in the temple of the "Mighty Mother." He was,
however, placed by the side of a respectable companion, DR. WATTS,
" Now all the suffering brotherhood retire,
And scape the martyrdom of Jakes and fire ;
A gothic library of Greece and Rome
Well purg dj and worthy Wesley, Watts, and Brome.
It is a fact, that in no edition published by Mr. Pope did these names
ever occur. In one surreptitious edition they were printed thus, W 1 y,
W s; but in the genuine editions of that work the line stood thus, as it
does at present,
" Wellpurg d; and worthy Withers, Quarles, and Blome."
DR. WATTS made a serious, but gentle remonstrance to the introduction
ofhisname. "I never offended MR. POPE," said the amiable Doctor, "but
have always expressed my admiration of his superior genius. I only wished
to see that genius employed more in the cause of religion, and always
thought it capable of doing it great credit among the gay, or the more witty
part of mankind, who have generally despised it, because it hath not
always been so fortunate as to meet with advocates of such exalted abilities
as Mr. Pope possesses, and who were capable of turning the finest exertions
of wit and genius in its favour." This remonstrance had its effect ; and Dr.
Watts was no longer to sit in the seat of the Dunces. The removal of Mr.
Wesley s name was probably owing to the interposition of his sou Samuel,
with whom Mr. Pope corresponded, and for whom he always expressed a
very particular regard.
96 SAMUEL WESLEY,
To him Mr. Wesley told out his sorrows. We shall
give extracts from his correspondence with the Arch
bishop between the years 1700 to 1707, which fill up a
considerable space in his history, and afford a number
of curious particulars. We shall see the difficulties
with which this good man had to struggle, and the cause
of his frequent embarrassments.
" MY LORD,
" I have lived on the thoughts of your
Grace s generous offer ever since I was at Bishopthorpe ;
and the hope I have of seeing some end, or at least
mitigation of my troubles, makes me pass through them
with much more ease than I should otherwise have
done. I can now make a shift to be dunned with some
patience. I must own I was ashamed, when at Bishop
thorpe, to confess I was 300 in debt, when I have a
living of which I have made 200 per annum, though
I could hardly let it now for eight score. I doubt not
but one reason of my being sunk so far, is, my not un
derstanding worldly affairs, and my aversion to law,
which my people have always known but too well.
But I think I can give a tolerable account of my cir
cumstances, and satisfy any equitable judge, that a
better husband than myself might have been in debt,
though perhaps not so deeply, had he been in the same
circumstances, and met with the same misfortunes.
" Twill be no great wonder, that when I had
but 50 per annum, for six or seven years together,
nothing to begin the world with, one child at least
per annum, and my wife sick for half that time, that I
had run 150 behind hand. When I had the rectory
RECTOR OF EPWORTH.
of Epworth given me, my LORD of SARUM was so
generous as to pass his word to his goldsmith for 100
which I borrowed. It cost me very little less than 50
of this in my journey to London, and getting into my
living, for the Broad Seal, &c. ; and with the other
50 I stopped the mouths of my most importunate
When I removed to Epworth I was forced to bor
row 50 more for setting up a little husbandry, when I
took the tithes into my own hands, and buying some
part of what was necessary towards furnishing my
house, which was larger, as well as my family, than
what I had on the other side of the county. The next
year my barn fell; which cost me 40 in rebuilding;
(thanks to your Grace for part of it) and having an aged
mother, who must have gone to prison if I had not
assisted her; she cost me upwards of 40 more, which
obliged me to take up another 50.* I have had but
three children born since I came hither, about three
years since : but another coming, and my wife incapable
of any business in my family, as she has been for almost
a quarter of a year; yet we have but one maid servant,
to retrench all possible expences.
" My first fruits came to about 28, my tenths
near 3 per annum. I pay a yearly pension of 3 out
of my rectory to John of Jerusalem. My taxes came
* In his family exigences Mr. Wesley was frequently obliged to borrow
money: bat such was his character for probity, honour, and punctuality,
that he could command it wheresoever it was to be had. There was a man
of considerable property in Epworth, who was in the habit of lending out
money at 35 and 40 per cent. Mr. Wesley was obliged sometimes to
borrow from this usurer : and although he was devoured by auri sacrafames,
yet such was his esteem for an upright character, that in no case did he ever
take from Mr. Wesley more than 5 per cent, for the use of his money.
98 SAMUEL WESLEY,
to upwards of 20 a-year, but they are now retrenched
to about half. My collection to the poor comes to 5
per annum : besides which they have lately bestowed
an apprentice upon me, which I suppose I must teach
to beat rime. Ten pounds a-year I allow my mother
to keep her from starving.
" Fifty pounds interest and principal I have paid
my LORD of SARUM S goldsmith : all which keeps me
necessitous, especially since interest-money begins to
pinch me ; and I am always called on for money before
I make it, and must buy every thing at the worst hand ;
whereas, could I be so happy as to get on the. right side
of my income, I should not fear, by God s help, to live
honestly in the world, and leave a little to my children.
I think, as tis, I could perhaps work it out in time, in
half a dozen or half a score years, if my heart should
hold so long; but as for that, God s will be done!
Humbly asking pardon for this tedious trouble, I am,
Your Grace s most obliged and humble servant,
Epworth, December 30, 1700.
The preceding letter made a strong impression on
the mind of the benevolent Archbishop ; who willing
to serve him in every possible way, not only spoke to
several of the nobility, but actually proposed to apply
J to the House of Lords, to obtain for him a brief for losses
by child-bearing. The COUNTESS of NORTHAMPTON,
to whom the Archbishop mentioned Mr. Wesley s case,
sent him 20. For these, and other favours received
from, and through, the Archbishop, he expresses him
self in a very feeling and energetic letter.
HECTOR OF EPWORTH. 99
Epworth,May 14M, 1701.
" MY LORD,
" In the first place I do, as I am bound,
heartily thank God for raising me so great and generous
a benefactor as your Grace, when I so little expected
or deserved it. I return my poor thanks to your
Lordship for the pains and trouble you have been at on
my account. I most humbly thank your Grace that
you did not close with the motion which you mentioned
in your first letter ; for I had rather choose to remain
all my life in my present circumstances, than consent
that your Lordship should do any such thing : nor
indeed should I be willing on my own account to trou
ble the House of Lords in the method proposed ; for I
believe mine would be the first instance of a brief for
losses by child-bearing, that ever came before that
" When I received your Grace s first letter, I
thanked God upon my knees for it ; and have done the
same I believe twenty times since, as often as I have
read it ; and more than once for the other, which I
received but yesterday. Certainly never did an Arch
bishop write in such a manner to an Isle-poet ; but it
is peculiar to your Grace to oblige so as none besides
can do it. I know you will be angry, but I can t help
it : truth will out, though in a plain and rough dress ;
and I should sin against God, if I now neglected to
make all the poor acknowledgments I am able."
After mentioning several matters of a private
nature, he states the great kindness of the COUNTESS of
NORTHAMPTON; and says he must divide what she had
given him, " half to my poor mother, with whom I am
100 SAMUEL WESLEY,
now above a year behind hand; the other ten pounds
for my own family. My mother will wait on your Grace
for her ten pounds : she knows not the particulars of
my circumstances, which I keep from her as much as
I can, that they may not trouble her."
The following letter, written about four days after,
is both singular and characteristic :
Epworth, May 18th, 1701.
" MY LORD,
" This comes as a rider to my last by the
same post, to bring such news as I presume will not be
unwelcome to a person who has so particular a concern
for me. Last night my wife brought me a few children.
There are but tico yet, a boy and a girl. We have had
four in two years and a day, three of which are living.
Never came any thing more like a gift from heaven
than what the COUNTESS of NORTHAMPTON sent by
your Lordship s charitable offices. Wednesday evening
my wife and I clubbed, and joined stocks, which
came but to six shillings to send for coals. Thursday
morning I received the ten pounds ; and at night my
wife was delivered. Glory be to God for his unspeak
able goodness !
I am, &c.
About this time Mr. Wesley appears to have had
his mind seriously impressed with the miserable state
of the heathen ; and with a strong desire to go to them,
and proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ. He
had mentioned his desire in a general way to ARCH-
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 101
BISHOP SHARP, and given him some hints concerning
proposals which he had made, probably to "the Society
for the Propagation of Christianity in Foreign parts,"
and to some members of the administration. The
Archbishop desired an account of the whole scheme ;
and he sent him it. Mr. Wesley s plan, however, was
not adopted, as far as he himself was personally con
cerned : but perhaps some of the subsequent operations
of the Society for promoting Christian knowledge in the
East, were not altogether unindebted to the hints thrown
out in this paper.
Mr. Wesley, not having got on the right side of
his income, was still grievously troubled with his old
creditors, some of whom appear to have been implaca
ble and unmerciful ; he was obliged in consequence to
take a journey to London, to endeavour to raise some
money amongst his friends. In a letter to the Arch
bishop, dated August 7, 1702, he mentions several sums
which he received from eminent persons. With the
sums then received, he made up about 60, and came
home very joyful, thanked God, paid as many debts as
he could, quieted the rest of his creditors, took the
management of his tithes into his own hands, and had
10 10s. left.
In the same letter, a very grievous and distressing
occurrence is thus related. After mentioning the joy
lie felt on being enabled to discharge so many small
debts, in consequence of which he was permitted to
take his own harvest, he adds :
"But he that s born to be a poet, must, I am
afraid, live and die so ; [that is, poor] for, on the last
day of July 1702, a fire broke out in my house, by some
102 SAMUEL WESLEY,
sparks which took hold of the thatch this dry time, and
consumed about two-thirds of it before it could be
quenched. I was at the lower end of the town visiting
a sick person. As I was returning, they brought me
the news : I got one of R. COGAN S horses, rode up,
and heard by the way that my wife, children, and books,
were saved ; for which God be praised, as well as for
what he has taken. They were all together in my
study, and the fire under them. When it broke out,
my wife got two of the children in her arms and ran
through the smoke and fire ; but one of them was left
in the hurry till the other cried for her ; and the neigh
bours ran in and got her out through the fire, as they
did my books, and most of my goods; this very paper
amongst the rest, which I afterwards found, as I was
looking over what was saved.
" I find tis some happiness to have been miserable,
for my mind has been so blunted with former misfor
tunes, that this scarcely made any impression upon me.
I shall go on, by God s assistance, to take my tithe,
and when that s in, to rebuild my house; having, at
last, crowded my family into what s left, and not missing
many of my goods.
" I humbly ask your Grace s pardon for this long,
melancholy story, and subscribe myself
Your ever obliged,
The parsonage house at Epworth was thus nearly
consumed by this fire ; but in a few years it was totally
burnt down, and rebuilt at Mr. Wesley s own expence.
This house remains to the present day ; in all respects
greatly superior to the preceding.
RECTOR OF EP WORTH. 103
The Archbishop again came forward with his purse
and his influence, which produced the following letter
from Mr. Wesley, drawn up in the spirit of gratitude :
Epworth, March 20th, 1703.
" MY LORD,
" I have heard that all great men have
the art of forgetful ness, but never found it in such
perfection as in your Lordship ; only it is in a different
way from others ; for most forget their promises, but
you, those benefits you have conferred. I am pretty
confident you neither reflect on, nor imagine, how much
you have done for me ; nor what sums I have received
by your Lordship s bounty. Will you permit me to
show you an account of some of them.
. s. D.
From the Marchioness of Normanby 20
The Lady Northampton (I think) 20
Duke and Duchess of Buckingham 26 17 6
The Queen 43
The Bishop of Sarum 40
The Archbishop of York 10
Besides lent to (almost) a desperate debtor 25
184 17 6
" A frightful sum, if one saw it altogether : but it
is beyond thanks, and I must never hope to perform
that as I ought, till another world ; where, if I get firfct
into the harbour, I hope none shall go before me in
welcoming your Lordship into everlasting habitations ;
where you will be no more tired with my follies, nor
104 SAMUEL WESLEY,
concerned at my misfortunes. If it be not too bold a
request, I beg your Grace will not forget me, though it
be but in your prayer for all sorts and conditions of
men : among whom, as none has been more obliged to
you, so I am sure none ought to have a deeper sense of
it, than your most dutiful servant,
In May 1705, there was a contested election for
the county of Lincoln. SIR JOHN THORALD, and a
person called the Champion DYMOKE, were opposed by
COLONEL WHICHCOTT and MR. BERTIE. Mr. Wesley,
supposing there was a design to overthrow "the
church," and that Whichcott and Bertie were, favoura
ble to the measure, he espoused the cause of the op
posite party, which happened to be unpopular and
unsuccessful. He was thus exposed to great insult
and danger; not only by the mob, but by some lead
ing men of the successful faction. This appears evi
dent from two letters written by him to ARCHBISHOP
SHARP, from which we extract the following particulars :
" I went to Lincoln on Tuesday night, May 29th,
and the election began on Wednesday the 30th. A
great part of the night our Isle people kept shouting,
drumming, and firing off pistols and guns, under the
window where my wife lay; who had been brought to
bed not three weeks. I had put the child to a nurse
over against my own house : this noise kept the nurse
waking till one or two in the morning. Then they left
off; and the nurse being heavy to sleep, overlaid the
child. She awaked, and finding it dead, ran over with
it to my house, almost distracted, and calling my ser-
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 105
vants, threw it into their arms. They, as wise as she,
ran up with it to my wife, and, before she was well
awake, threw it, cold and dead, into her arms. She
composed herself as well as she could, and that day
got it buried.
" A clergyman met me in the castle-yard, and told
me to withdraw, for the Isle people intended me mis
chief. Another told me he had heard nearly twenty ol
them say, if they got me into the castle-yard, they would
squeeze my guts out ! I went by Gainsborough, and
God preserved me. When they knew I had got home,
they sent the guns, drum, mob, &c. as usual, to com
pliment me till after midnight. One of them passing
by on Friday evening, and seeing my children in the
yard, cried out, Oh ye devils ! we will come and turn
you all out of doors a begging shortly. God convert
them, and forgive them ! All this, thank God, does
not in the least sink my wife s spirits. For my own I
feel them troubled and disordered ; but after all, I am
going on with my reply to PALMER ;* which, whether I
am in prison, or out of it, I hope to get finished by next
session of parliament.
Epworth, June, 7, 1705.
" It appears," says DR. CLARKE, " that Mr. Wesley
was to blame for the part he took in this election ; as
on his own showing, he acted imprudently, and laid
himself open to those who waited for his halting; and
who seemed to think they did God service, by doing
him a mischief." They knew him to be a high church-
* Mr. Wesley here alludes to his second attack on the Dissenters.
106 SAMUEL WESLEY,
man, and consequently an enemy to liberty. He was
under pecuniary obligations to some principal men
among the Dissenters ; and he was often given to un
derstand, by no obscure intimations, that he must either
immediately discharge those obligations, or else ex
pect to be shortly lodged in Lincoln castle. These
were not vain threats, as appears from the following
letter written to the Archbishop of York :
Lincoln Castle, June 25th, 1705.
" MY LORD,
" I am now at rest, for I have come to
the haven where 1 have long expected to be. On
Friday last, after I had been christening a child at
Epworth, I was arrested in the church yard by one who
had been my servant, at the suit of a relation of Mr.
Whichcott s, according to promise, when they were in
the Isle before the election. The sum was not 30.
One of my biggest concerns was leaving my poor lambs
in the midst of so many wolves. But the great
Shepherd is able to provide for them, and to preserve
them. My wife bears it with that courage which
becomes her. I don t despair of doing some good here,
and it may be I shall do more in this new parish, than
in my old one ; for I have leave to read prayers every
morning and afternoon in this prison, and, to preach
once a Sunday, which I choose to do in the afternoon,
when there is no service at the Minster. I am getting
acquainted with my brother jail-birds as fast as I can,
and shall write to London, next post, to " the Society
for promoting Christian knowledge," who I hope will
send me some books to distribute amongst them. I
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 107
should not write these things from a jail, if I thought
your Grace would believe me less for being here,
where, if I should lay my bones, I d bless God, and
pray for your Grace.
This letter had a proper effect on the Archbishop,
who wrote to Mr. Wesley, stating his sympathy, and
what he had heard against him ; especially as to his
great obligation to Colonel Whichcott, &c., to which
Mr. Wesley immediately replied, giving a satisfactory
expose of all his affairs, his debts and how they were
contracted ; at the same time showing that the reports
which had reached the ears of his Grace were entirely
It is much to be regretted that party spirit in //
politics is so frequently outrageous. It seems some
times to know no friend, feels no obligation, is unac
quainted with the dictates of honesty, charity and
mercy. All the charities of life are outraged and
trampled under foot by it; common honesty is not
heard, and lies and defamation go abroad by wholesale.
Even at this day, when the morals of the nation are so
greatly improved, these evils remain in great vigour.
What then must they have been more than a hundred
years ago ?*
Mr. Wesley and his family had already suffered
much on account of his political sentiments. The
* The Rector s son John states in his History of England that his father
wrote the famous speech for DR. SACHEVEREL. It has, however, been
visually ascribed to BISHOP ATTERBURY, and with much greater proba
bility. That it was not written by Sacheverel is evident, for BlSHOp
BURNET says, " the style was more correct, and far different from his own."
108 SAMUEL WESLEY,
party opposed to him was not satisfied with loading
him with obloquies and casting him into prison, but
proceeded even to the stabbing of his cows in the night,
and thereby drying up the sources from whence his
family derived the necessaries oflife.
As it was evident that many of his sufferings were
occasioned by the malice of those who hated both his
ecclesiastical and state politics, the clergy lent him
prompt and effectual assistance ; so that in a short
time more than half his debts were paid, and the rest in
a train of being liquidated. These things he mentions
with the highest gratitude in the following letter to the
ARCHBISHOP of YORK :
Lincoln Castle, Sept. 17th, 1705.
" I am so full of God s mercies, that neither
my eyes nor heart can hold them. When I came hither
my stock was but little above ten shillings, and my wife s
at home scarcely so much. She soon sent me her
rings, because she had nothing else to relieve me with ;
but I returned them, and God soon provided for me.
The most of those who have been my benefactors keep
themselves concealed. But they are all known to Him
who first put it into their hearts to show me so much
kindness ; and I beg your Grace to assist me to praise
God for it, and to pray for his blessing upon them.
" This day I received a letter from MR. HOAR, that
he has paid 95 which he has received from me. He
adds that a very great man has just sent him 30
more : he mentions not his name, though surely it
must be my patron. I find I walk a deal higher, and
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 109
hope I shall sleep better now these sums are paid,
which will make almost half of my debts. I am a bad
beggar, and worse at returning formal thanks: but I
can pray heartily for my benefactors, and I hope I shall
do it while I live; and so long beg to be esteemed
Your Grace s thankful servant,
It appears that MR. WESLEY did not remain in
Lincoln Castle more than three months, and after his
liberation he seems to have got on in life more pleasant
ly, though in 1709 a severe calamity happened by the
burning down of the Rectory, which threatened him and
his whole family with destruction. All who have written
respecting this calamity, except Mr. John Wesley, have
supposed it was occasioned by accident; he, however,
attributes it to the wickedness of some of the rector s
parishioners, who could not bear the plain dealing of
so faithful and resolute a pastor.
The following anecdote related to MR. MOORE by
MR. JOHN WESLEY will perhaps throw light upon this
circumstance. " Many of my father s parishioners gave
him much trouble about the tithes. At one time they
would only pay them in kind. Going into a field upon
one of those occasions, where the tithe-corn was laid
out, my father found a farmer very deliberately at work
with a pair of shears, cutting off the ears of corn and
putting them into a bag, which he had brought with him
for that purpose. He said nothing at the time, but
took the man by the arm and walked with him into the
town. When they got into the market-place, my father
seized the bag, and turning it inside out, before all the
110 SAMUEL WESLEY,
people, told them what the farmer had been doing.
He then left him with his pilfered spoils to the judgment
of his neighbours, and walked quietly home." A letter
written by Mrs. Wesley to a MR. HOOLE gives the
fullest account of this destructive fire : we extract it
from MOORE S Life of Mr. John Wesley.
August 24, 1709.
"My master is much concerned that
he was so unhappy as to miss of seeing you at Epworth ;
and he is not a little troubled that the great hurry of
business, about building his house, will not afford him
leisure to write. He has, therefore, ordered me to
satisfy your desire as well as I can, which I shall do by
a simple relation of matters of fact, though I cannot at
this distance of time recollect every calamitous circum
stance that attended our strange reverse of fortune.
On Wednesday night, February 9th, between the hours
of eleven and twelve, our house took fire ; from what
cause God only knows. It was discovered by some
sparks falling from the roof upon a bed, where one of
the children (Hetty") lay, and burning her feet. She
immediately ran to our chamber and called us ; but I ,
believe no one heard her ; for Mr. Wesley was alarmed
by a cry of FIRE in the street, upon which he rose, little
imagining that his own house was on fire ; but, on open
ing his door, he found it was full of smoke, and that the
roof was already burnt through. He immediately came
to my room, (as I was very ill, he lay in a separate
room,) and bid me and my two eldest daughters rise
quickly, and shift for our lives, the house being all
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. Ill
on fire. Then he ran and burst open the nursery door,
and called to the maid to bring out the children. The
two little ones lay in the bed with her ; the three others
in another bed. She snatched up the youngest and
bid the rest follow, which they did, except Jacky.
When we were got into the hall and saw ourselves sur
rounded by flames, and that the roof was on the point
of falling, we concluded ourselves inevitably lost, as
Mr. Wesley, in his fright, had forgot the keys of the
doors above stairs. But he ventured up stairs once
more and recovered them, a minute before the stair
case took fire. When we opened the street door the
north-east wind drove the flames in with such violence
that none could stand against them. Mr. Wesley only
had such presence of mind as to think of the garden
door, out of which he helped some of the children ; the
rest got through the windows : I was not in a condition
to climb up to the windows, nor could I get to the
garden door. I endeavoured three times to force my
passage through the street door, but was as often beat
back by the fury of the flames. In this distress I be
sought our blessed Saviour to preserve me, if it were
his will, from that death, and then waded through the
fire, naked as I was, which did me no further harm than
a little scorching of my hands and face.
"While Mr. Wesley was carrying the children
into the garden, he heard the child in the nursery cry
out miserably for help, which extremely affected him;
but his affliction was much increased, when he had
several times attempted the stairs then on fire, and
found they would not bear his weight. Finding it was
impossible to get near him, he gave him up for lost,
112 SAMUEL WESLEY,
and kneeling down, he commended his soul to God,
and left him, as he thought, perishing in the flames.
But the boy seeing none come to his help, and being
frightened, the chamber and bed being on fire, he
climbed up to the casement, where he was soon per
ceived by the men in the yard, who immediately got up
and pulled him out, just in the article of time that the
house fell in and beat the chamber to the ground.
Thus by the infinite mercy of Almighty God, our lives
were all preserved, by little less than a miracle ; for
there passed but a few minutes between the first alarm
of fire, and the falling of the house/
MR. JOHN WESLEY S account of what happened to
himself varies a little from this relation given by his
mother. " I believe" says he, " it was just at that time
(when they thought they heard me cry) I waked ; for
I did not cry as they imagined, unless it was after
wards. I remember all the circumstances as distinctly
as though it were but yesterday. Seeing the room was
very light, I called to the maid to take me up. But
none answering, I put my head out of the curtains, and
saw streaks of fire on the top of the room. I got up
and ran to the door, but could get no further, all the
floor beyond it being in a blaze. I then climbed up a
chestthat stood near the window : one in the yard saw
me, and proposed running to fetch a ladder. Another
answered, there will not be time ; but I have thought
of an expedient. Here I will fix myself against the
wall ; lift a light man, and set him on my shoulders/
They did so, and he took me out of the window. Just
then the roof fell ; but it fell inward, or we had all been
crushed at once. When they brought me into the
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 113
house where my father was, he cried out, come
neighbours, let us kneel down ! let us give thanks to
God ! He has given me all my eight children : let the
house go, I am rich enough !
" The next day, as he was walking in the garden
and surveying the ruins of the house, he picked up
part of a leaf of his Polyglott Bible, on which just
these words were legible. Vade ; vende omnia qnse
/tabes, et attolle crucem et sequere me. Go ; sell all
that thou hast ; and take up thy cross and follow me."
MR. JOHN WESLEY remembered this providential de
liverance through life with the deepest gratitude. In
reference to it, he had a house in flames engraved as
an emblem under one if his portraits, with these words
for the motto, " is not this a brand plucked out of the
burning ?" The peculiar danger and wonderful escape
of John, excited a great deal of attention and inquiry
at the time, especially amongst the friends and rela
tions of the family. His brother Samuel being then at
Westminster, writes to his mother on this occasion in
the following words, complaining that they did not in
form him of the particulars. " As I have not yet heard
a word from the country since the first letter you sent
me after the fire, I am quite ashamed to go to any of
my relations. They ask me whether my father means
to leave Epworth ? whether he is building his house ?
whether he has lost all his books and papers ? if
nothing was saved ? whether was the lost child a boy or
a girl ? what was its name ? &c. ; to all which I am
forced to answer, I cannot tell ; I do not know; I have
not heard. I have asked my father some of these
questions, but am still an ignoramus."
114 SAMUEL WESLEY,
The greatest loss, at least to posterity, in conse
quence of this fire, was the destruction of all the family
papers: The whole of Mr. and Mrs. Wesley s writings,
and correspondence, besides many papers and docu
ments relative to the Annesley Family, and particularly
to DR. ANNESLEY himself, were totally consumed. Mrs.
Wesley was his most beloved child, and he entrusted
to her many invaluable manuscripts. After this fire,
the family was scattered to different parts, the children
being divided amongst neighbours, relatives, and
friends, till the house was rebuilt. MATTHEW WESLEY,
the uncle, took Susanna and Mehetabel, with whom
their mother corresponded, in order to confirm them in
those divine truths they had already received. Having
lost by the fire, the fruits of her former labours, on the
evidences of revealed religion, Mrs. Wesley began her
work de novo, and in a long, but excellent letter to her
daughter Susanna, (which from its length resembles a
treatise,) went over the most important articles of the
Christian faith, taking for her ground-work the apos
tle s creed/ This invaluable paper displays consider
able knowledge of divinity, and contains many fine
passages and just definitions.
About the end of the year 1715, and the beginning
of 1716, there were some noises heard in the parsonage
house at Epworth, so unaccountable, that every person
by whom they were heard, believed them to be super
natural. At the latter end of the year 1715, the maid
servant was terrified, by hearing at the dining-room
door, several dismal groans, as of a person at the
point of death. The family gave little heed to her
story, and endeavoured to laugh her out of her fears;
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 115
but a few nights afterwards they began to hear strange
knockings, usually three or four at a time, in different
parts of the house ; every person heard these noises,
except Mr. Wesley himself, and as according (o vulgar
opinion, such sounds are not heard by the individual
to whom they forebode evil, they refrained from telling
him, lest he should suppose it betokened his own death,
as they all indeed apprehended.
At length, however, these disturbances became so
great and frequent, that few or none of the family
durst be left alone ; and Mrs. Wesley thought it better
to inform her husband ; for it was not possible that the
matter could long be concealed from him ; and more
over, as she said, she " was minded he should speak to
it." These noises were now various, as well as strange :
loud rumblings above stairs or below ; a clatter among
bottles, as if they Lad all at once been dashed to pieces ;
footsteps as of a man going up and down stairs at
all hours of the night; sounds like that of dancing in
an empty room ; gobling like a turkey-cock, but most
frequently a knocking about the beds at night, and in
different parts of the house. Mrs. Wesley would at
first have persuaded the children and servants, that it
was occasioned by rats within doors, and mischievous
persons without, and her husband had recourse to the
same ready solution : or some of his daughters, he
supposed sat up late and made a noise; and a hint,
that their lovers might have something to do with the
mystery, made the young ladies heartily hope their
father might soon be convinced that there was more
in the matter than he was disposed to believe.
In this they were not disappointed, for the next
116 SAMUEL WESLEY,
evening, a little after midnight, he was awakened by
nine loud and distinct knocks, which seemed to be in
the next room, with a pause at every third stroke. He
arose, and went to see whether he could discern the
cause, but could perceive nothing; still he thought it
might be some person out of doors, and relied upon a
stout mastiff to rid them of this nuisance. But the
dog, which upon the first disturbance had barked
violently, was ever afterwards cowed by it, and seeming
more terrified than any of the children, came whining
to his master and mistress, as if to seek protection
in a human presence. And when the man-servant,
Robin Brown, took the mastiff at night into his room,
to be at once a guard and a companion, so soon as the
latch began to jar as usual, the dog crept into bed, and
barked and howled so as to alarm the house.
The fears of the family for Mr. Wesley s life being
removed as soon as he had heard the mysterious noises,
they began to apprehend that one of the sons had met
with a violent death, and more particularly Samuel, the
eldest. The father, therefore, one night after several
deep groans had been heard, adjured it to speak if it
had power, and tell him why it troubled the house;
and upon this three distinct knockings were heard.
He then questioned it, if it were Samuel his son, bid
ding it, if it were,, and could not speak, to knock again :
but to his great comfort there was no farther knocking
that night; and when they heard that Samuel, and the
two boys were safe and well, the visitations of the
goblin became rather a matter of curiosity and amuse
ment, than of alarm. Emilia gave it the name of old
Jeffrey, and by this name he was known as a harmless,
RECTOR OF EPWORTH.
though by no means an agreeable, inmate of the par
sonage. Jeffrey was not a malicious goblin, but he was
Before Mrs. Wesley was satisfied that there was
something supernatural in the noises, she recollected
that one of her neighbours had frightened the rats
from his dwelling by blowing a horn. The horn
therefore was borrowed, and blown stoutly about the
house for half a day, greatly against the judgment of
one of her daughters, who maintained, that if it were any
thing supernatural, it would certainly be very angry,
and more troublesome. Her opinion was verified by
the event : Jeffrey had never till then begun his opera
tions during the day ; but from that time he came by
day, as well as by night, and was louder than before.
And he never entered Mr. Wesley s study, till the owner
one day rebuked him sharply, calling him a deaf and
dumb devil, and bade him cease to disturb the inno
cent children, and come to him in his study, if he had
any thing to say.
This was a sort of defiance, and Jeffrey took him at
his word. No other person in the family ever felt the
goblin but Mr. Wesley, who was thrice pushed by it
with considerable force. So he relates, and his evi
dence is clear and distinct. He says also, that once or
twice when he spoke to it, he heard two or three feeble
squeaks, a little louder than the chirping of a bird, but
not like the noise of rats. What is said of an actual
appearance is not so well confirmed. Mrs. Wesley
thought she saw something run from under the bed, and
said it most resembled a badger, but she could not well
say of what shape; and the man saw something like a
white rabbit, which came from behind the oven with its
ears flat upon the neck, and its little scut standing
straight up. A shadow may possibly explain the first
of these appearances ; the other may be imputed to
that proneness, which ignorant persons so commonly
evince, to exaggerate in all uncommon cases.
These circumstances, therefore, though apparently
silly in themselves, in no degree invalidate the other
parts of the story, which rest upon the concurrent testi
mony of many intelligent witnesses. The door was
once violently pushed against Emilia, when there was
no person on the outside; the latches were frequently
lifted up ; the windows clattered always before Jeffrey
entered a room, and whatever iron or brass was there,
was rung and jarred exceedingly. It was observed also
that the wind commonly rose after any of his noises, and
increased with it, and whistled loudly around the house.
Mr. Wesley s trencher, (for it was before our potteries
had pushed their ware into every village throughout
the kingdom,) danced one day upon the table to his no
small amazement ; and the handle of Robin s hand
mill, at another time was turned round with great
swiftness : unluckily Robert had just done grinding :
nothing vexed him, he said, " but that the mill was
empty ; if there had been corn in it, Jeffrey might have
ground his heart out before he would have disturbed
It was plainly a Jacobite goblin, and seldom suf
fered Mr. Wesley to pray for the King, and the Prince
of Wales, without disturbing the family prayers. Mr.
Wesley was sore upon this subject, and became angry,
and therefore repeated the prayer. But when Samuel
RECTOR OF EP WORTH, 119
was informed of this, his remark was, "as to the devil
being an enemy to king George, were I the King,
I would rather old Nick should be my enemy than
my friend." The children were the only persons who
were distressed by these visitations : the manner in
which they were affected is remarkable : when the
noises began, they appeared to be frightened in their
sleep, a sweat came over them, and they panted and
trembled till the disturbance was so loud as to awake
them. Before the noises ceased, the family had heroine
quite accustomed to them, and were tired of hearing, or
speaking on the subject. " Send me some news," said
one of the sisters to her brother Samuel, " for we are
secluded from the sight, or hearing of any thing, except
There is a letter in existence from Emilia to her
brother John, dated 1750, from which, says DR. CLARKE,
it appears " that Jeffrey continued his operations at
least thirty-four years after he retired from Epworth."
We shall give an extract from the letter referred to.
" Dear Brother, I want most sadly to see you, and talk
hours with you, as in times past. One reason is that
wonderful thing called by us Jeffrey I You won t laugh
at me for being superstitious, if I tell you how certainly
that something calls on me against any extraordinary
new affliction ; but so little is known of the invisible
world, that I, at least, am not able to judge whether
it be a friendly or an evil spirit."
DR. CLARKE also states that, "the story of the
disturbances at the Parsonage-house is not unique : I
myself and others of my particular acquaintances,
were eye and ear-witnesses of transactions of a similar
120 SAMUEL WESLEY,
kind, which could never be traced to any source of
trick or imposture; and appeared to be the forerun
ners of two very tragical events in the disturbed family,
after which no noise or disturbance ever took place.
In the History of my oicn Life, I have related this
matter in sufficient detail." We may therefore expect
that the Doctor s Auto-biography, recently announced,
will be an amusing work.
Any one who, in this age, relates such a story,
and%eats it as not utterly incredible and absurd, must
expect to be ridiculed ; but the testimony upon which
it rests is far too strong to be set aside because of the
strangeness of the relation. The letters which passed
at the time between Samuel Wesley, and the family at
Epworth, the journal which Mr. Wesley kept of these
remarkable transactions, and the evidence concerning
them, which John afterwards collected, fell into the
hands of DR. PRIESTLEY, and were published by him
as being, he says, " perhaps the best authenticated, and
best told story of the kind that is any where extant."
He also observes in favour of the story, "that all the
parties seem to have been sufficiently void of fear, and
also free from credulity, except the general belief that
such things were supernatural." But he argues, that
when no good end was to be answered, we may safely
conclude that no miracle was wrought; and he supposes
as the most probable solution, that it was a trick of the
servants, assisted by some of the neighbours, for the
sake of amusing themselves, and puzzling the family.
In reply to this, it may safely be asserted, that
many of the circumstances cannot be explained by any
such supposition, nor by any Legerdemain, nor by
RECTOR OF EPWORTH- 121
and Ventriloquism, nor by any secrets of Acoustics. The
former argument would be valid, if the term miracle
were applicable to the case ; but by miracle DR.
PRIESTLEY evidently intends a manifestation of Divine
power, and in the present instance no such manifesta
tion is supposed, any more than in the appearance of a
departed spirit. Such things may be preternatural,
and yet not miraculous ; they may be not in the or
dinary course of nature, and yet imply no alteration of
its laws. And with regard to the good end which they
may be supposed to answer, it would be end sufficient,
if sometimes one of those unhappy persons, who, look
ing through the dim glass of infidelity, sees nothing
beyond this life, and the narrow sphere of mortal ex
istence, should from the well-established truth of one
such story, (trifling and objectless as it might otherwise
appear) be led to a conclusion that, there are more
things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in his
It appears that the rector of Epworth was occa
sionally at Leeds. THORESBY, in his Diary, says
"I was visited to-day by the noted poet Mr. Wesley,
then at ALDERMAN ROOKE S." From several letters
in Thoresby s published correspondence, it also ap
pears that the rector s great friend and patron, ARCH
BISHOP SHARP, strove hard to prevail upon Thoresby to
leave the Dissenters, (with whom he was connected, and
by whom he seems to have been too much caressed,)
and attach himself to the church. Thoresby at length
became a churchman, and it is not improbable but that
* See SOi THEY S Life of Wesley; and the APPENDIX to this volume.
122 SAMUEL WESLEY,
the zealous rector s representations of the Dissenters
might have had some influence in this secession.
From the year 1716 to 1731, we know little of the
personal history of the Rector of Epworth. We may
presume, however, that he devoted his time between the
duties of his parish, and in preparing for publication
his elaborate work on the book of Job. In the year
1731 we find that Mr. Wesley met with an accident
which was likely to prove fatal to him. His son John,
then at Oxford, having heard some account of it, wrote
to his mother for particulars, and she sent him the
following letter :
Epworth, July 12, 1731.
" DEAR JACKY,
" The particulars of your father s
fall are as follow : On Friday the 4th of June, I, your
sister Martha, and our maid, were going with him in our
waggon to see the ground we hire of Mrs. Knight at
Low Millwood : he sat in a chair at one end of the
waggon, I in another at the other end, Matty between
us, and the maid behind me. Just before we reached
the close, going down a small hill, the horses took into
a gallop ; out flies your father and his chair : the maid
seeing the horses run, hung all her weight on my chair,
which prevented me from keeping him company. She
cried out to William to stop the horses, for that her
master was killed. The fellow leaped out of the seat
and stayed the horses, then ran to Mr. Wesley, but ere
he got to him, two neighbours, who were providentially
met together, raised his head, upon which he had pitch
ed, and held him backward : by this means he began
to respire, for tis certain, by the blackness of his face,
RECTOR OF EPWORTH.
that he had never drawn breath from the time of his
fall till they helped him up. By this time I was got to
him, asked him how he did, and persuaded him to
drink a little ale, for we had brought a bottle with us ;
he looked prodigiously wild, but began to speak, and
told me he ailed nothing. I informed him of his fall ;
he said he knew nothing of any fall, he was as well as
ever he was in his life. We bound up his head, which
was very much bruised, and helped him into the waggon
again, and set him at the bottom of it, while I support
ed his head between my hands, and the man led the
horses softly home. I presently sent for MR. HARPER,
who took a great quantity of blood from him ; and then
he began to feel pain in several parts, particularly in
his side and shoulder. He had a very ill night ; but
on Saturday morning Mr. Harper came again to him,
dressed his head, and gave him something which much
abated the pain in his side. We repeated the dose
at bed time, and on Whit-Sunday he preached twice,
and gave the sacrament, which was too much for him
to do. On Monday he was ill, slept almost all day :
on Tuesday the gout came, but with two or three nights
taking Bateman it went off again, and he has since been
better than he expected. We thought at first the wag
gon had gone over him, but it went only over his gown
sleeve, and the nails took a little skin oft his knuckles,
but did him no farther hurt."
From EVERETT S "Sketches of Wesley an Methodism,
in Sheffield and its Vicinity," it appears that Mr. John
Wesley, prior to his leaving college, " was on a visit at
Wentworth House, near Sheffield, in 1733, with his
father, who was then engaged in some literary work,
124 SAMUEL WESLEY,
[Dissertations on the Book of Job] and found it
necessary to consult the library of the MARQUIS of
ROCKINGHAM. Their stay being prolonged over the
Sabbath-day, Mr. John Wesley occupied the pulpit in
Wentworth church, to the no small gratification of the
parishioners. What tended to excite more than usual
attention was, that the preacher was a stranger, the
son of a venerable clergyman, and had his father as a
hearer. MR. BIMKS, a very old man, lately living at
Sheffield, was then about eight years of age, and went
to church with his father in company with a neighbour,
of the name of MR. JOHN DUKE. The latter, on their
return from public worship, passed an encomium on
the preacher, and noticed, as Mr. Bilks distinctly
recollected, an appropriate quotation in the course of
the sermon from the works of ARCHBISHOP USHER."
Mr. Wesley had been long engaged in a work that
had for its object the elucidation of the look of Job ;
proposals for the printing of which were published in
1729. The latest human desires of this good man
were, that he might complete his work on Job, pay his
debts, and see his eldest son once more. The first of
these desires was nearly accomplished. His Disserta
tions on Job is by far his most elaborate work, being
the labour of many years. He collated all the copies
that he could meet with of the original, and the Greek
and other versions and editions. All his early labours
on this work were unfortunately destroyed by the burn
ing down of the Parsonage House, in 1709 ; but in the
decline of life he resumed the task, though oppressed
with the gout and palsy. Amongst other assistances
in this work, he particularly acknowledges that of his
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 125
three sons, and his friend Maurice Johnson. The book
was printed at MR. BOWYER S press. How much is it to
be wished that the productions of all our great typogra
phers had been recorded with equal diligence ! The
Dissertationes in Librum Jobi has a curious emblemati
cal Portrait of the author. It represents Job in a chair
of state, dressed in a robe bordered with fur, sitting
beneath a gateway, on the arch of which is written JOB
PATRIARCHA. He bears a sceptre in his hand ; and in
the back-ground are seen two of the Pyramids of Egypt.
His position exactly corresponds with the idea given us
by the Scriptures in the book of Job, chap. xxix. v. 7.
When I went out to the gate through the city, when I
prepared my seat in the street ! according to the custom
of those times of great men sitting at the gate of the
city to decide causes.
It is a curious fact, that Mr. Wesley, wishing to
to have a true representation of the war horse described
by Job, and hearing that LORD OXFORD had one of the
finest Arabian horses in the world, wrote to his Lordship
for permission to have his likeness taken for the work.
That this request was granted there is little room to
doubt ; and we may therefore safely conclude that the
horse represented in Mr. Wesley s Dissertations on
the book of Job, page 338, which was engraved by
COLE, is intended for what is called " Lord Oxford s
Bloody Arab;" but the portrait is neither well drawn
nor well engraved ; and this is the more to be re
gretted, as the model was so perfect in its kind. The
original letter, containing the request, we insert : it is
conceived with great delicacy of sentiment, and is ele
gantly expressed :
126 SAMUEL WESLEY,
" MY LORD,
"Your Lordship s accumulated favours
on my eldest son of Westminster, are so far from dis
couraging me from asking one for myself, that they
rather excite me to do it, especially when your Lordship
has been always so great a patron of learning and all
useful undertakings. I hope I may have some pretence
to the latter, how little soever I may have to the former;
and have taken some pains in my Dissertations on Job
to illustrate the description, though it is impossible to
add any thing to it. For this reason I would, if it were
possible, procure a draft of the finest Arab horse in the
world ; and having had an account from several, that
your Lordship s Bloody Arab answers the character*
I have an ambition to have him drawn by the best artist
we can find, and place him as the greatest ornament of
my work. If your Lordship has a picture of him, I
would beg that my engraver may take a draft from it ;
or if not, that my son may have the liberty to get one
drawn from the life ; either of which will make him, if
possible, as well as myself, yet more
Your Lordship s most devoted humble servant,
In the following letter to GENERAL OGLETHOKPE,
the Rector mentions the progress he had made in his
intended publication on the book of Job ; and also the
obligations he was under to the General for kindnesses
shown to himself and sons.* This letter is not in DR.
CLARKE S publication, having been recently discovered.
* It appears from alist of subscriptions annexed to Mr. Wesley s Disser
tations on Job, that GENERAL OGLE1HORPE took seven copies oi the work
on large paper, which would amount to at least twenty pound*.
RECTOR OF EPWORTII. 127
Epworth, July G, 1734.
" May I be admitted, while such crowds
of our Nobility and Gentry are pouring in their con
gratulations, to press with my poor mite of thanks into
the presence of one who so well deserves the title of
universal benefactor of mankind. It is not only your
valuable favours on many accounts to my son, late of
Westminster, and myself, when I was not a little pressed
in the world, nor your more extensive and generous
charity to the poor prisoners ; it is not this only that so
much demands my warmest acknowledgments, as your
disinterested and immoveable attachment to your coun
try, and your raising a new country, or rather a little
world of your own, in the midst of almost wild woods
and uncultivated deserts, where men may live free and
happy, if they are not hindered by their own stupidity
and folly, in spite of the unkindness of their brother
mortals. I owe you, Sir, besides this, some account of
my little affairs since the beginning of your expedition.
Notwithstanding my own and my son s violent illness,
which held me half a year, and him above twelve
months, I have made a shift to get more than three
parts in four of my Dissertations on Job printed off, and
both the printing, paper and maps, hitherto . paid for.
My son John, at Oxford, now his elder brother is gone
to Tiverton, takes care of the remainder of the im
pression in London ; and I have an ingenious artist
here with me in my house at Ep\vorth, who is graving,
and working off the remaining maps and figures for me,
so that I hope if the printer does not hinder me, I shall
have the whole ready by next spring ; and, by God s
128 SAMUEL WESLEY,
leave, be in London myself to deliver the books perfect.
I print five hundred copies, as in my proposals; whereof
I have about three hundred already subscribed for ;
and among my subscribers, fifteen or sixteen English
bishops, with some of Ireland.
" I have not yet done with my own impertinent
nostrums. I thank God, I find I creep up hill more
than I did formerly, being eased of the weight of four
daughters out of seven, as I hope I shall of the fifth in
a little time.
" If you will please herewith to accept the tender of
my most sincere respect and gratitude, you will thereby
confer one further obligation on, honoured Sir,
" Your most obedient and most humble servant,
To JAMES OGLETHORPE, ESQ.
Mr. Wesley s Dissertations on the book of Job
was dedicated to QUEEN CAROLINE. He had the ho
nour of dedicating, by permission, different works to
three British queens in succession. His " History of
the Life of Christ," to QUEEN MARY; his " History of
the Old and New Testament," to QUEEN ANNE ; and
his last Work to QUEEN CAROLINE.
When Mr. Wesley proposed to dedicate his Work
on Job to Queen Caroline, he wrote to his sons Samuel
and John respecting the mode of proceeding; but
on inquiry it was found that many obstacles were
in the way to the Royal presence, occasioned as it ap
pears by some offence given by Samuel in his Satires
on the ministry and their friends. How these obstacles
were at last removed we are not informed.
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 129
MR. JOHN WESLEY, however, presented the Disser
tations on the Book of Job, on Sunday, October 12,
1735. He told the late DR. ADAM CLARKE that when
he "was introduced into the Royal presence, the Queen
was romping with her maids of honour. But she sus
pended her play, heard and received him graciously,
took the book from his hand, which he presented to her
kneeling on one knee, looked at the outside, said it is
very prettily bound, and then laid it down in the window
without opening a leaf. He rose up, bowed, walked
backward, and withdrew. The Queen bowed, smiled,
and spoke several kind words, and immediately resumed
The infirmities of the Rector were greatly increased
by his labour on this work, from which his advanced
age gave no hope of recovery. He acted on the maxim,
" rather wear out, than rust out;" and he sunk, worn
out with labours and infirmities, April 25, 1735, in the
72nd year of his age.
His two sons, John and Charles, were present at
his death ; and the latter gives an account of his closing
scene in the following letter to his brother Samuel.
Epworth, April 30, 1735.
" DEAR BROTHER,
" After all your desire of seeing my
father alive, you are now assured, that you must see
his face no more, till raised in incorruption. You have
reason to envy us, who could attend him in the last
^stage of his illness. The few words he uttered, I have
saved. Some of them were, nothing too much to
suffer for heaven. The weaker I am in body, the
130 SAMUEL WESLEY,
stronger and more sensible support I feel from God.
There is but a step between me and death. To-morrow
I would see you all with me round this table, that we
may once more drink of the cup of blessing, before we
drink of it new in the kingdom of God. With desire
have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I
" The morning he was to communicate, he was so
exceedingly weak and full of pain, that he could not
without the utmost difficulty receive the elements, often
repeating, thou shakest me ; thou shakest me/ But im
mediately after receiving them, there followed the most
visible alteration. He appeared full of faith and peace,
which extended even to his body ; for he was so much
better, that we almost hoped he would have recovered.
The fear of death he had entirely conquered ; and at
last gave up his latest human desires, of finishing his
book on Job, paying his debts, and seeing you. He often
laid his hand upon my head, and said, be steady,
the Christian faith will surely revive in this kingdom ;
you shall see it, though I shall not/ To my sister
Emily he said, do not be concerned at my death ;
God will then begin to manifest himself to my family.
When we were met about him, his usual expression
was, now let me hear you talk about heaven/ On my
asking him, whether he did not find himself worse, he
replied, my Charles, I feel a great deal. God
chastens me with strong pain : but I praise Him for it ;
I thank Him for it; I love Him for it/ On the 25th
his voice failed, and nature seemed entirely spent, when,
on my brother s asking, "whether he was not near
heaven ? he answered distinctly, and with the most of
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 131
hope and triumph that could be expressed in sounds,
< Yes, I am."
"His passage was so smooth and insensible, that
notwithstanding the stopping of his pulse, and ceasing
of all sign of life and motion, we continued over him a
good while, in doubt whether the soul was departed or
not. My mother, who, for several days before he died,
hardly ever went into his chamber, but she was carried I
out again in a fit, was far less shocked at the news than
we expected ; and told us, that now she was heard, in
his having* so easy a death, and her being strengthened
to bear it/ Though you have lost your chief reason
for coming, yet, there are others which make your
presence more necessary than ever. My mother would
be exceedingly glad to see you as soon as can be. We
have computed the debts, and find they amount to
above 100, exclusive of Cousin Richardson s. MRS.
KNIGHT, our landlady, seized all the live stock, valued
at above 40, for 15 my father owed her, on Monday
last, the day he was buried.*
"And my brother (John) this afternoon gives a
note for the money, in order to get the stock at liberty
to sell ; and for his security the effects will be made
over to him, and he will be paid as they can be sold.
My father was buried frugally, yet decently, in the
church yard, as he desired.
"Your advice in this juncture will be absolutely
necessary. If you take London in your way, my mother
desires you would remember that she is now a clergy-
f * This inhuman woman, who appears to have been a widow,
deserves to be held in lasting infamy.
" And time her blacker name shall blurre with blackest ink."
132 SAMUEL WESLEY,
man s widow. Let the society give her what they please,
she must be still in some degree burdensome to you, as
she calls it. How I envy you that glorious burden !
You must put me in some way of getting a little money,
that I may do something in this shipwreck of the family,
though it be no more than furnishing a plank.
We have now detailed the death of three ministers
of the gospel ; two of them Non-conformists, the other
a high Churchman. As we see them approach the con
fines of eternity, the scene becomes interesting. Drop
ping all party distinctions, we view them becoming "one
in Christ Jesus." Animated with the same spirit, they
look up to God as their common father, through the
same mediator : they praise him for the same mercies,
and look forward, with equal confidence, to his kingdom
and glory. They gave satisfactory evidence, that they
were united to Christ, belonged to the same family,
and were heirs of the same heavenly inheritance, not
withstanding the external difference in their mode of
worship. These considerations should teach us to be
careful, not to exalt the outward distinctions of party
into the rank of fundamental truths. So long as we
lay the same foundation, we ought to cultivate fellow
ship with each other as brethren, although the dif
ferent manner in which we place the materials may
give a varied appearance to the building.
" From some of the family papers," says DR. ADAM
CLARKE, " I learn that the rector of Epworth was of
short stature ; spare, but athletic made ; and in some
measure resembling, in his face, his son John ; and it is
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. loo
probable that the picture engraved by VERTUE, and
prefixed to his Dissertations on Job/ is a good re
semblance of him. His religious conduct was strict!}
correct : his piety towards God ardent, and his love of
his fellow-creatures strong. Though of high church
principles and politics, he could separate the man
from the opinions he held; and when he found him
in distress, treated him as a brother. He was a rigid
disciplinarian in his church. He considered his parish
ioners as a flock, over which the Holy Ghost had made
him overseer, and for which he must give an account.
He visited them from house to house; he sifted
their creed, and suffered none to be corrupt in opinion,
or practice, without instruction or reproof." No
strangers could settle in his parish but he presently
knew it, and made himself acquainted with them. We
have a proof of this from a letter he wrote to the
BISHOP of LINCOLN when once absent from home a
short time. "After my return to Epworth/ says he,
" and looking a little among my people, I found there
were two strangers come hither, both of whom I dis
covered to be Papists, though they came to church.
I have hopes of making one or both of them good
members of the church of England."
His family he kept in the strictest order ; but he
appears to have been sometimes too authoritative in
his deportment. There was frequently a harshness of
temper in him, which approached to rashness ; and an
austerity of manner occasionally, at which every gentle
and domestic feeling recoils. On one occasion we have
seen, that a vow, precipitately made, under the influence
of party feeling, deprived his wife, children, and parish
134 SAMUEL WESLEY,
for above a year, of their head and pastor. To extenu
ate, in some degree, this severity of disposition, we must
state that the rector experienced many irritating trials
from his very straitened circumstances, which, notwith
standing the most rigid economy, he often found in
adequate to the demands of his numerous family.
To this we may add the persecution he received
from the party he had forsaken ; but yet he owed to
them, under Providence, a blessing that more than
compensated for all his vexations. That boon was his
most excellent and admirable wife. Under such a
mother there would have been just cause for disap
pointment, had the Wesleys been otherwise than pious,
intellectual, and useful members of society. "All the
branches of this truly eminent family appear to have
possessed great mental energy. Their condensed and
vigorous spirit was formed and matured beneath the
chilling atmosphere of penury and persecution, whose
blasts, whistling around the parent stock, shook it in
deed, but only caused it to strike root deeper into the
As a controversial writer, the rector possessed con
siderable dexterity in managing an argument, bat he
sometimes betrays an acrimony of spirit against his
opponents, too common among polemic divines, and
was occasionally very coarse in his invectives. His
undue warmth against the Dissenters, in early life, has
already been noticed ; nor can it be concealed that
both he, and several of the family, were remarkable for
such high notions of prerogative and authority, both
in church and state, as seem incompatible with the con
stitution of this country. The Rector had a great share
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 135
of vivacity. In his private conversation he was very en
tertaining and instructive. He possessed a large fund
of anecdote, and a profusion of witty and wise sayings,
which he knew well how to apply for instruction and
We insert the following Poem, both for its intrinsic
merit, and as creditable to Mr. Wesley $ poetical talents.
It has, however, been disputed, whether the Rector or
his daughter, MRS. WRIGHT, was the author of it.
Many years ago, the Critical Reviewers inserted some
sarcasms against the poetry of the Methodists. MR.
JOHN WESLEY replied, and sent this poem to them as a
specimen. The reviewers so far did honour to the
Poem as to insert it at large in their next number.
Mr. John Wesley always declared that it was written
by his father.
EUPOLIS HYMN TO THE CREATOR.
THE (SUPPOSED) OCCASION.
Part of a (new) Dialogue between PLATO and EUPOLIS;*
the rest not extant.
EUPOLIS. But, Sir, is it not a little hard that you
should banish all our fraternity from your new com
monwealth ? As for my own part, every body knows
that I am but one of the minorum gentium. But what
hurt has father HOMER done, that you should dismiss
* EUPOLIS was a comic poet of Athens, who flourished 435 years before
the Christian era, and severely lashed the vices and immoralities of his age.
It is said that he had composed seventeen dramatical pieces at the age of 17.
He had a dog so attached to him, that at his death he refused all aliments,
and starved on his tomb. Some suppose that ALCIBIADES put Eupolis to
.death, because he had ridiculed him in a comedy; but SUIDAS maintains
that he perished in a sea-fight between the Athenians and Lacedemonians in
the Hellespont, and on that account his countrymen pitying his fate, decreed
that no poet should ever after go to war.
130 SAMUEL WESLEY,
him among the rest, though he has received the vene
ration of all ages : and SALAMIS was adjudged to us by
the Spartans, on the authority of two of his verses ?
And you know it was in our own times that many of
our citizens saved their lives, and met with civil treat
ment in Sicily, after our unfortunate expedition and
defeat under NICIAS, by repeating some verses of
PLATO. Much may be done to save one s life.
I doubt not I should have done the same, though only
to have regained my liberty when DIONYSIUS sold rne
for a slave.* But those are only occasional accidents,
and exempt cases, which are nothing to the first settling
of a state, when it is in one s own power to mould it as
one pleases. As for Homer, to be plain, the better
poet, the more danger ; and I agree in this with ,
that the blind old gentleman certainly lies with the
best grace in the world. But a lie, handsomely told,
debauches the taste and morals of a people, and fires
them into imitation. Besides, his tales of the gods are
intolerable, and derogate to the highest degree from
the dignity of the Divine Nature.
EUPOLIS. Not to enter at present into the merits
of that case, do you really think, Sir, that these faults
are inseparable from poetry ; and that the praises of
the ONE SUPREME may not be sung without any inter
mixture of them ; allowing us only the common benefit
* PLATO, at an interview he had with DIONYSIUS, the tyrant, spoke to
him on the happiness of virtue, and the miseries of oppression. The tyrant
dismissed him from his presence with great displeasure, and formed a design
against his life. With this intention, he prevailed upon Pollis, a delegate
from Sparta, who was returning to Greece, to get Plato on board his ship,
;md either take away his life on the passage, or sell him as a slave. PoMis
chose the latter.
RECTOR OF EPWORTH.
of metaphor, and other figures, for which you do not
blame even in the orators ?
PLATO. An ill habit is hard to break : and I
must own I hardly ever saw any thing of that nature ;
and should be glad to see you or any other attempt, and
succeed in it : on which condition I would willingly
exempt you from the fate of your brother poets.
EUPOLIS. I am far from pretending to be a
standard : how I shall succeed in it I do not know, but
with your leave I will attempt it.
PLATO. You know the Academy will be always
pleased to see you, and doubly so on this occasion.
AUTHOR of BEING ! SOURCE of LIGHT !
With unfading beauties bright.
Fulness, goodness, rolling round
Thy own fair orb, without a bound.
Whether Thee Thy suppliants call
TRUTH, or GOOD, or ONE, or ALL,
El, or JAO, Thee we hail,
Essence that can never fail ;
Grecian or Barbaric name,
Thy stedfast being still the same.
Thee, when morning greets the skies
With rosy cheeks and humid eyes ;
Thee, when sweet-declining day
Sinks in purple waves away ;
Thee will I sing, O Parent Jove !
And teach the world to praise and love !
Yonder azure vault on high,
Yonder blue, low, liquid sky;
138 SAMUEL WESLEY,
Earth on its firm basis placed,
And with circling waves embraced,
All-creating power confess,
All their mighty Maker bless.
Thou shak st all nature with Thy nod;
Sea, earth, and air, confess the God.
Yet does Thy powerful hand sustain
Both earth and heaven ; both firm and main.
Scarce can our daring thought arise
To Thy pavilion in the skies:
Nor can PLATO S self declare,
The bliss, the joy, the rapture there.
This we know ; or if we dream,
Tis at least a pleasing theme ;
Barren above Thou dost not reign,
But circled with a glorious train ;
The sons of God, the sons of light,
Ever joying in Thy sight :
(For Thee their silver harps are strung,)
Ever beauteous, ever young:
Angelic forms their voices raise,
And thro heaven s arch resound Thy praise!
The feat her d souls that swim the air,
And bathe in liquid elher there ;
The lark, precentor of their choir,
Leading them higher si ill and higher,
Listen and learn the angelic notes,
Repeating in their warbling throats :
And e er to soft repose they go,
Tiiica them to their lords below.
On the green turf their mossy nest,
The ev ning anthem swells their breast:
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 139
Thus like Thy golden chain on high
Thy praise unites the earth and sky.
Sole from sole Thou mak st 1he sun
On his burning axle? run :
The stars like dust around him fly,
And strew the area of the sky:
He drives so swift his race above,
Mortals can t perceive him move :
So smooth his course, oblique or straight,
Olympus shakes not with bis weight.
As the queen of solemn night,
Fills at his vase her orb of light,
Imparted lustre : Thus we see
The solar virtue shines by Thee !
Phoebus borrows from thy beams
His radiant locks and golden streams,
Whence Thy warmth and light disperse,
To cheer the grateful Universe.
Eiresidnel* we ll no more
For its fancied aid implore ;
Since bright oil, and wool, and wine,
And life sustaining oread are Thine ;
Wine that sprightly mirth supplies,
Noble wine for sacrifice !
Thy herbage, O great PAN, sustains
The flocks that grace our Attic plains.
The olive with fresh verdure crown d
Rises pregnant from the ground,
* This word signifies a kind of garland, composed ol a branch of olive,
wrapped about with wool, and loaded with all kinds of fruits of the earth, as
a token of peace and plenty. The poet says he will no more worship the
imaginary Power, supposed to be the giver of these things; but the great
PAN, the Creator, from whom they all proceed.
140 SAMUEL WESLEY,
Our native plant, our wealth, our pride,
To more than half the world denied.
At Jove s command it shoots and springs,
And a thousand blessings brings.
Minerva only is Thy mind,
Wisdom and bounty to mankind.
The fragrant thyme, the blooming rose,
Herb, and flow r, and shrub that grows
On Thessalian Tempe s plain,
Or where the rich Sabeans reign,
That treat the taste, or smell, or sight,
For food, for medicine, or delight ;
Planted by Thy guardian care,
Spring, and smile, and flourish there.
Alcinoan gardens in their pride,
With blushing fruit from Thee supplied.
O ye Nurses of soft dreams!
Reedy brooks and winding streams
By our tuneful race admir d,
Whence we think ourselves inspired :
Or murm ring o er the pebbles sheen,
Or sliding thro the meadows green ;
Or where thro matted sedge ye creep,
Travelling to your parent deep,
Sound his praise by whom ye rose,
That Sea which neither ebbs nor flows.
Oh ! ye immortal woods and groves,
Which the enraptur d student loves:
Beneath whose venerable shade,
For learned thought, and converse made :
Or in the fam d Lycean walks,
Or where my heavenly Master talks :
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 141
Where Hecadem, old beio lies,
Whose shrine is shaded from the skies;
And thro" 1 ihe gloom of silent night
Project from far your trembling light.
You, whose roots descend as low,
As high in air your branches grow,
Your leafy arms to heaven extend,
Bend your heads in homage bend I
Cedars and pines that wave above,
And the oak beloved of Jove.
Omen, monster, prodigy!
Or nothing are, or Jove from (hee !
Whether various Nature s play,
Or she renvers d thy will obey ;
And to rebel man declare,
Famine, plague, or wasteful war.
Atheists laugh, and dare despise,
The threalening vengeance of Ihe skies
Whilst the pious on his guard,
Undismay d is still prepared:
Life or death his mind s at rest,
Since what you send must needs be best.
What cannot Thy almighty wit
Effect, or influence, or permit;
Which leaves free causes to their will,
Yet guides and overrules them still !
The various minds of men can twine,
And work them to Thy own design :
For who can sway what boasts His/ree,
Or rule a Commonwealth, but Thee ?
Our stubborn will Thy word obeys,
Our folly shows Thy wisdom s praise :
142 SAMUEL WESLEY,
As skilful steersmen make the wind,
Though rough, subservient to mankind.
A tempest drives them safe to land;
With joy they hail and kiss the sand.
So when our angry tribes engage,
And dash themselves to foam and rage,
The demagogues, the winds that blow,
Heave and toss them to and fro ;
Silence ! is by Thee proclaim d,
The tempest falls, the winds are tam d :
At Thy word the tumults cease,
And all is calm, and all is peace !
Monsters that obscurely sleep
In the bottom of the deep;
Or when for air or food they rise,
Spout the JEgean to the skies :
Know Thy voice and own Thy hand,
Obsequious to their lord s command;
As the waves forget to roar,
And gently kiss the murmuring shore.
No evil can from Thee proceed,
Tis only suffered, not decreed :
As darkness is not from the sun,
Nor mount the shades till he is gone,
Then night obscene does straight arise
From Erebus, and fills the skies ;
Fantastic forms the air invade,
Daughters of nothing and of shade.
When wars and pains afflict mankind,
Tis for a common good designed;
As tempests sweep and clean the air,
And all is healthy, all is fair.
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 143
Good, and true, and fair, and right,
Are Thy choice and Thy delight.
Government Thou didst ordain,
Equal justice to maintain:
Thus Thou reigns t enthroned in state,
Thy will is just, Thy will is fate.
The good can never be unblest,
While impious minds can never rest;
A plague within themselves they find,
Each other plague, and all mankind.
Can we forget Thy guardian care,
Slow to punish, prone to spare ?
Or heroes by Thy bounty rais d
To eternal ages prais d?
Codrus, who Athens lov d so well,
He for her devoted fell ;
Theseus who made us madly free,
And dearly bought our liberty ;
Whom our grateful tribes repaid,
With murdering him who brought them aid ;
To tyrants made an easy prey,
Who would not godlike kings obey?
Tyrants and kings from God proceed,
THOSE permitted, THESE decreed.
Thou break st the haughty Persian s pride,
Which did both sea and land divide.
Their shipwrecks strew d th Eubasan wave,
At Marathon they found a grave.
O ye bless 1 d Greeks who there expir d !
With noble emulation fir d !
Your Trophies will not let me rest,
Which swell d, Themistocles, thy breast.
144 SAMUEL WESLEY,
What shrines, what altars, shall we raise,
To secure your endless praise ?
Or need we monuments supply,
To rescue what can never die ?
Godlike men ! how firm they stood !
Moating (heir country with their blood.
And yet a greater hero far,
Unless great SOCRATES could err,
(Though wheiher human or divine,
Not e en his Genius could define,)
Shallri.ie to bless some future day,
And teach to live, and teach 10 pray.
Come, unknown insirucier, come,
Our leaping hearts shall make Thee room ;
Thou wilh Jove our vows shalt share ;
Of Jove and Thee we are the care.
O Father, King ! whose heavenly face
Shines serene on all Thy race ;
We Thy magnificence adore,
And Thy well-known aid implore :
Nor vainly for Thy help we call ;
Nor can we want, for Thou art A LL !
May Thy care preserve our state,
Ever virtuous, ever great !
Thou our Splendour and Defence,
Wars and factions banish thence !
Thousands of Olympiads pass d,
May its fame and glory last !
We have extracted the foregoing Poem from DR
CLARKE S "Memoirs of the Wesley Family," where itis
given more perfectly than in any other publication. We
do, however, think the Doctor is rather too severe and
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 145
dogmatical (if not a little boastful) on some of Mr.
Wesley s previous biographers. " After taking so much
pains/ says the Doctor, " with this Poem, and pro
ducing it entire, which was never clone before, some of
my readers will naturally expect that I should either
insert, or refer to the Greek original. Could I have
met in Greek with a hymn of Eupolis to the Creator,
and the fragment of an unpublished dialogue of Plato,
I should have inserted both with the greatest cheerful
ness, and could have assured myself of the thanks of
all the critics in Europe for my pains. That such a
Greek original exists, and that the above is a faithful
translation from it, is the opinion of most who have seen
the poem; and some of Mr. Wesley s biographers have
adduced it as being one of the finest picures extant
of Gentile piety ; and farther tell us, this hymn may
throw light on that passage of St. Paul respecting the
Heathen, Rom. i. 21, &c. When they knew God, they
glorified him not as God. * * * * Wherefore God also
gave them up, &c. Their polytheism was a punish
ment consequent upon their apostacy from God. /
believe the Gentiles never apostatized from the true
God, the knowledge of whom they certainly never had,
till they received it by Divine revelation.
" Knowing that the writers from whom I have quoted
the above, were well educated and learned men, and
feeling an intense desire to find out this finest picture
extant of Gentile piety, I have sought occasionally for
above thirty years to find the original, but in vain. I
have examined every Greek writer within my reach,
particularly all the major and minor poets : but no
hymn of Eupolis, or of any other, from which the
146 SAMUEL WESLEY,
above might be a translation, has ever occurred to me.
I have enquired of learned men whether they had met
with such a poem. None had seen it! After many
fruitless searches and inquiries, I went to PROFESSOR
PORSON, perhaps the most deeply learned and exten
sively read Greek scholar in Europe ; and laid the
subject, and the question before him. He answered,
EUPOLIS, from the character we have of him, is the
last man among the Greek poets from whom we could
expect to see any thing pious or sublime concerning
the Divine Nature : but you may rest assured that no
such composition is extant in Greek/ Of this I was
sufficiently convinced before ; but I thought it well to
have the testimony of a scholar so eminent, that the
question might be set at rest.
"The reader therefore may rest assured that Eupolis
hymn to the Creator is the production of the head and
heart of Samuel Wesley, rector of Epworth ; that it
never had any other origin, and never existed in any
other language. It may be considered as a fine, and
in general very successful, attempt to imitate a Greek
poet, who was master of the full power and harmony of
his language, and had imbibed from numberless lectures
the purest and most sublime ideas in the philosophy of
Plato. The character of the Platonist is wonderfully
preserved throughout the whole; the conceptions are
all worthy of the subject; the Grecian history and my
thology are woven through it with exquisite art; and
it is so like a finished work from the highest cultivated
Greek muse, that I receive the evidence of my reason
and research with regret, when it assures me that this
inimitable hymn was the production of the Isle-poet of
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 147
Axholme. Should any of my readers be dissatisfied
with the result of my inquiries, and still think that
Eupolis Hymn to the Creator exists in Greek, and
will go in quest of this Sangreal, he shall have my
heartiest wishes for the good speed of his searches, and
when successful, my heartiest thanks.
" But if the hymn of Eupolis be a forgery, what
becomes of the veracity, not to say honesty, of Mr.
Samuel Wesley ? I answer, it is no forgery ; it is no
where said by him that it is a translation of a Greek
original ; nor does it appear that he had any intention
to deceive. Two words in the title are proof sufficient.
The (supposed) occasion/ and Part of (a new) dia
logue/ He covered his design a little, to make his
readers search and examine. Some of them have not
examined; and therefore said of the poem, that it is
a fine specimen of Gentile piety, which he never even
" I have spent a long time on this Poem," con
tinues DR. CLARKE, "because I believe it to be, without
exception, the finest in the English language. It
possesses what RACINE calls the genie createur, the
genuine spirit of poetry. POPE S Messiah is fine, be
cause Pope had VIRGIL S Pollio before him, and the
Bible. MR. WESLEY takes nothing as a model; he goes
on the ground that the praises of the One Supreme
had not been sung ; he attempts what had not been
done by any poet before the Platonic age, and he has
no other helps than those furnished by his poetic powers
and classical knowledge. It is not saying too much to
assert, the man who was the author of what is called
Eupolis Hymn to the Creator, had he taken time,
148 SAMUEL WESLEY,
care, and pains, and had not been continually harassed
with the Res angusta domi, would have adorned the
highest walks of poetry. But to him poverty was the
scourge of knowledge; and he fully experienced the
truth of that maxim of the Roman satirist, from which
I have quoted the above three words,
Haud facile emergunt, quorum virtutibus obstat
Res angusta domi. Juv. SAT. iii. v. 164.
Rarely they rise by Learning s aid, who lie
Plung d in the depth of helpless poverty.
" But Mr. Wesley spent his time in something
better than making verses : he was a laborious and
useful parish priest; and brought up a numerous family
of males and females, who were a credit to him and to
As almost all the Wesley family were poets, so they
were all characterised by a vein of satire.* This talent
they appear to have inherited from their father, whose
wit was both ready and pungent. The following is an
instance, copied from Mr. Watson s Life of Mr. John
Wesley, and which appeared first in the Gentleman s
Magazine for 1802. "The authenticity of the follow
ing extempore grace, by SAMUEL WESLEY, formerly
rector of Epworth, may be relied upon. It is given on
* MR. CHARLES WESLEY was keenly satirical. "He satirized his
brother John s ordinations, and the Preachers; but, High Churchman as he
was, he is very unsparing in the use of his poetic whip upon the persecuting,
and irreligious Clergy. Of this, some of his published, and several of his
unpublished Paraphrases, on passages of the Gospels, and the Acts of the
Apostles, in which the persecuting deeds of the Scribes and Pharisees are
recorded, afford some caustic specimens ; and sufficiently indicate that he
did not bear the contumely and opposition of his High Church brethren, with
the equanimity and gentleness of his brother John."
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 149
the authority of WILLIAM BARNARD, ESQ. of Gains
borough, whose father, the preserver of John Wesley
from the fire of 1709, was present at the time it was
spoken at Temple Belwood, after dinner. Mr. P., at
whose house they dined, was a strange compound of
avarice and oddity ; and many of his singularities are
still remembered." The grace was
" Thanks for this feast, for tis no less
Than eating manna in the wilderness ;
Here meagre famine bears controlless sway,
And ever drives each fainting wretch away.
Yet here, (0 how beyond a saint s belief!)
We ve seen the glories of a chine of beef;
Here chimnies smoke, which never smoked before,
And we have dined, where we shall dine no more."
We shall conclude this memoir with an anecdote
given by DR. CLARKE in his " Wesley Family/ respect
ing the rector of Epworth. "He had a clerk," says
the Doctor, "a well-meaning, but weak and vain man,
who believed the Rector to be the greatest man in the
parish, if not in the county; and himself, as he stood
next in church ministrations, to be the next in impor
tance. This clerk had the privilege of wearing out
Mr. Wesley s cast off clothes and wigs; for the latter
of which his head was by far too small, and the figure he
cut in them was most ludicrously grotesque. The rector
finding him particularly vain of one of those canonical
substitutes for hair, which he had lately received,
formed the design of mortifying him in the presence of
the congregation, before which John wished to appear
in every respect what he thought himself to be. One
150 SAMUEL WESLEY,
morning, before church time, Mr. Wesley said, John,
I shall preach on a particular subject to day; and
shall choose my own psalm, of which I will give out the
first line, and you shall proceed as usual. John was
pleased, and the service went forward as it was wont to
do, till they came to the singing, when Mr. Wesley
gave out the following line :
Like to an owl in ivy bush.
This was sung ; and the following line, John, peeping
out of the large wig, in which his head was half lost,
gave out with an audible voice, and appropriate con
That rueful thing am I.
The whole congregation struck with John s appearance,
saw and felt the similitude, and burst into laughter.
The rector was pleased, for John was mortified, and his
This is the same man, who, when king WILLIAM
III. returned to London after one of his expeditions,
gave out in Epworth church, "Let us sing to the
praise and glory of God, a hymn of my own composing."
It was short and sweet, and ran thus :
" King William is come home, come home,
King William home is come ;
Therefore let us together sing,
The hymn that s call cl Te D um."
" I have only to add," says DR. CLARKE, " that
a sycamore tree, planted by the Rector in Epworth
* In WATSON S life of Mr. John Wesley, and also in the Wesleyan
Magazine for 1824, it is stated that the rector of Epworth " had no hand in
selecting the psalm, which appears to have been purely accidental."
RECTOR OF EPWORTH. 151
church yard, is now (1821) two fathoms in girth, and
proportionably large in height, boughs, and branches ;
but it is decaying at the root; a melancholy emblem of
the state of a very eminent family, in which the pro
phetic office and spirit had flourished for nearly two
hundred years, but which is now nearly dried up, and
not likely, from present appearances, to give any more
messengers to the churches."
The following is a chronological list of the Rector s
1. MAGGOTS, or Poems on several subjects, never before handled,
8vo, London, 1685.
2. Several papers in the Athenian Mercury, projected 1691.
3. A Letter concerning the Education of Dissenters in their Private
4. The Life of Christ ; an heroic Poem, in ten Books, folio, 1693.
5. A Sermon preached before the Society for the Reformation of
Manners, 8vo. 1698.
6. The pious Communicant ; a Discourse concerning the Sacra
ment, 12mo. 1700.
7. The History of the Old and New Testament, attempted in
verse ; and adorned with 330 Sculptures, 3 Vols. 12mo. 1 704.
8. The Battle of Blenheim; a Poem, folio, 1705.
9. A Reply to Mr. Palmer s Vindication of the Learning, Loyalty,
Morals, and most Christian Behaviour of the Dissenters
towards the Church of England, 4to. London, 1707.
10. Dissertations on the Book of Job, folio, 1735.
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
BECOMES THE WIFE OF MR. SAMUEL WESLEY. HER NUMEROUS
FAMILY, AND EXCELLENT MANAGEMENT. HER MODE OF EDUCA
TING THE CHILDREN HER RELIGIOUS CHARACTER. WHEN HER
HUSBAND WAS FROM HOME, SHE PUBLICLY READ SERMONS AT THE
PARSONAGE HOUSE IS CENSURED FOR THIS EXERCISE. HER
ADMIRABLE DEFENCE OF IT TO HER HUSBAND. THE CONDUCT OF
THE EPWORTH CURATE IN THIS MATTER. HER EXCELLENT LET
TERS TO HER SON JOHN. UNWORTHY REFLECTIONS UPON HER
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. IS VISITED BY MR. WHITFIELD. HER
DEATH, CHARACTER, AND EPITAPH.
This admirable woman, the youngest daughter of
Dr. Annesley before mentioned, was born about the
year 1670. She possessed a highly improved mind,
with a strong, and masculine understanding. Though
her father was a conscientious Non-conformist, he had
too much dignity of mind, leaving his religion out of
the question, to be a bigot. Under the parental roof,
and " before she was thirteen years of age," say some
of her biographers, " she examined, without restraint,
the whole controversy between the established church
and the dissenters."* The issue of this examination
was, that she renounced her fellowship with the latter,
and adopted the creeds and forms of the church of
England j to which she zealously adhered.
* It seems strange that a girl of thirteen years of age, should be consi
dered capable of deciding this question, though she might possess, as in
the case of Mrs. Wesley, great natural talents.
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY. 153
It does not appear that her father threw any
obstacles in her way ; or that he afterwards disapproved
of her marrying a rigid churchman. Nor is it known,
after the most extensive search, that the slightest dif
ference ever existed between DR. ANNESLEY, and his
son-in-law, or daughter on the subject. It was about
the year 1690 that she became the wife of Mr. Samuel
Wesley. The marriage was blessed in all its circum
stances ; it was contracted in the prime of their youth ;
it was fruitful, and death did not divide them till they
were both full of years. The excellence of Miss Annes-
ley s mind was equal to the eminence of her birth.
She was such a helpmate as Mr. Wesley required,
"and to her," says DR. CLARKE, "under God, the
great eminence of the subsequent Wesley family is to
As Mr. Wesley s circumstances were narrow, the
education of the children fell especially upon Mrs.
Wesley, who seems to have possessed every qualifica
tion for a public or private teacher. The manner in
which she taught her children is remarkable. This she
has detailed in a letter to her son John, which we shall
hereafter insert. She bore nineteen children to Mr.
Wesley, most of whom lived to be educated ; and ten
came to man and woman s estate. Her son John
mentions the calm serenity with which his mother
transacted business, wrote letters, and conversed, sur
rounded by her fifteen children. All these were
educated by herself; and as she was a woman that
lived by rule, she arranged every thing so exactly,
that for each operation she had sufficient time. It
appears also from several private papers, that she had
154 MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
no small share in managing the secular concerns of
the rectory. Even the tithes and glebe were much
under her inspection.
About the year 1700, Mrs. Wesley made a resolu
tion to spend one hour morning and evening in private
devotion, in prayer and meditation, and she religiously
kept it ever after, unless when sickness, or some urgent
call of duty to her family obliged her to shorten it.
If opportunity offered, she spent some time at noon in
this religious and profitable employment. She gene
rally wrote her thoughts on different subjects at these
seasons; and a great many of her meditations have been
preserved in her own hand-writing. Though Mrs.
Wesley allotted two hours in the day for meditation
and prayer in private, no woman was ever more dili
gent in business, or attentive to family affairs than she
was. Remarkable, as before observed, for method and
good arrangement, both in her studies and business,
she saved much time, and kept her mind free from
perplexity. From several things which appear in her
papers, it seems that she had acquired some knowledge
of the Latin and Greek languages in her youth, though
she never made any pretension to it. She had studied
human nature well, and knew how to adapt her dis
course both to youth and age.
Mrs. Wesley devoted as great a proportion of time
as she could, to discourse with each of her children
separately every night in the week, upon the duties
and hopes of Christianity ; and it may readily be
believed, that these circumstances of their childhood
had no inconsiderable influence upon them in after life,
and especially upon her two sons, John and Charles,
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY. 155
when they became the founders, and directors of a new
community in the Christian church. John s providen
tial deliverance from the fire deeply impressed his
mother, as it did himself, throughout the whole of his
life. Among the private meditations which were found
among Mrs. Wesley s papers, was one written long after
the event, in which she expressed in prayer her inten
tion to be more particularly careful of the soul of this
child, which God had so mercifully provided for, that
she might instil into him the principles of true religion
and virtue ; " Lord," she said, "give me grace to do
it sincerely and prudently, and bless my attempts with
good success." The peculiar care which was thus
taken of his religious education, the habitual and fer
vent piety of both his parents, and his own surprising
preservation, at an age when he was perfectly capable
of remembering all the circumstances, combined to
foster in him that disposition which afterwards de
veloped itself with such force, and produced such
Mrs. Wesley taught her children from their infancy,
duty to parents. She had little difficulty in breaking
their wills, or reducing them to absolute subjection.
They were early brought, by rational means, under a
mild yoke : they were perfectly obedient to their
parents, and were taught to wait their decision in every
thing they were to have, or to perform. They were
never permitted to command the servants. Mrs. Wes
ley charged the domestics to do nothing for any of
her children unless they asked it with respect ; and the
children were duly informed that the servants had
such orders. This is the foundation and essence of
156 MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
good breeding. Insolent, impudent, and disagreeable
children are to be met with often, because this simple,
but important mode of bringing them up is neglected.
" Molly, Robert, be pleased to do so and so," was the
usual method of request both from sons and daughters.
They were never permitted to contend with each other ;
whatever differences arose, their parents were the
umpires, and their decision was never disputed. The
consequence was, there were few misunderstandings
amongst them; and they had the character of being
the most loving family in the county of Lincoln ! But
Mrs. Wesley s whole method of bringing up and manag
ing her children, is so amply detailed in a letter to
her son John, that it would be as great an injustice to
her, as to the reader, to omit it.
Epworth, July 21th, 1732.
" DEAR SON,
"According to your desire, I have
collected the principal rules I observed in educating
" The children were always put into a regular
method of living, in such things as they were capable
of, from their birth ; as in dressing and undressing,
changing their linen, &c. The first quarter commonly
passes in sleep. After that they were, if possible,
laid into their cradle awake, and rocked to sleep ; and
so they were kept rocking till it was time for them to
awake. This was done to bring them to a regular
course of sleeping, which, at first, was three hours in
the morning, and three in the afternoon ; afterwards
two hours, till they needed none at all. When turned
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY. 157
a year old (and some before,) they were taught to fear
the rod, and to cry softly, by which means they escaped
much correction which they might otherwise have had >
and that most odious noise of the crying of children
was rarely heard in the house.
" As soon as they grew pretty strong, they were
confined to three meals a day. At dinner their little
table and chairs were set by ours, where they could be
overlooked : and they were suffered to eat and drink
as much as they would, but not to call for any thing.
If they wanted ought, they used to whisper to the maid
that attended them, who came and spoke to me ; and
as soon as they could handle a knife and fork, they
were set to our table. They were never suffered to
choose their meat : but always made to eat such things
as were provided for the family. Drinking, or eating
between meals was never allowed, unless in case of sick
ness, which seldom happened. Nor were they suffered
to go into the kitchen to ask anything of the servants,
when they were at meat : if it was known they did so,
they were certainly beat, and the servants severely
reprimanded. At six, as soon as family prayer was
over, they had their supper; at seven the maid washed
them, and beginning at the youngest, she undressed
and got them all to bed by eight ; at which time she
left them iu their several rooms awake, for there was
no such thing allowed, in our house, as sitting by a
child till it fell asleep. They were so constantly used
to eat and drink what was given them, that when any
of them were ill, there was no difficulty in making them
take the most unpleasant medicine, for they durst not
158 MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
"In order to form the minds of children, the
first thing to be done is to conquer their will. To in
form the understanding is a work of time ; and must,
with children, proceed by slow degrees, as they are
able to bear it : but the subjecting the will is a thing
that must be done at once, and the sooner the better ;
for by neglecting timely correction, they will contract a
stubbornness and obstinacy which are hardly ever after
conquered, and never without using such severity as
would be as painful to me as to the child. In the es
teem of the world, they pass for kind and indulgent,
whom I call cruel parents ; who permit their children to
get habits which they know must be afterwards broken.
When the will of a child is subdued, and it is brought
to revere and stand in awe of its parents, then a great
many childish follies and inadvertences may be passed
by. Some should be overlooked, and others mildly
reproved : but no wilful transgression ought ever to
be forgiven children, without chastisement less or more,
as the nature and circumstances of the offence may
require. I insist upon conquering the will of children
betimes, because this is the only strong and rational
foundation of a religious education, without which, both
precept and example will be ineffectual. But when
this is thoroughly done, then a child is capable of being
governed by the reason and piety of its parents, till its
own understanding comes to maturity, and the princi
ples of religion have taken root in the mind.
" I cannot yet dismiss this subject. As self-will
is the root of all sin and misery, so whatever cherishes
this in children ensures their wretchedness and irreli-
gion : whatever checks and mortifies it, promotes their
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY. 159
future happiness and piety. This is still more evident,
if we farther consider that religion is nothing else than
doing the will of God, and not our own; that the
one grand impediment to our temporal and eternal
happiness being this self-will, no indulgence of it can
be trivial, no denial unprofitable. Heaven or hell de
pends on this alone. So that the parent who studies
to subdue it in his child, works together with God in
the renewing and saving a soul. The parent who in
dulges it, does the devil s work ; makes religion im
practicable, salvation unattainable, and does all that in
him lies to damn his child, soul and body, for ever.
" Our children were taught, as soon as they could
speak, the Lord s prayer, which they were made to say
at rising and bedtime constantly ; to which, as they
grew older, were added a short prayer for their parents,
and some portion of Scripture, as their memories could
bear. They were very early made to distinguish the
Sabbath from other days. They were taught to be still
at family prayers, and to ask a blessing immediately
after meals, which they used to do by signs, before they
could kneel or speak. They were quickly made to under
stand that they should have nothing they cried for, and
instructed to speak respectfully for what they wanted.
"Taking God s name in vain, cursing and swear
ing, profaneness, obscenity, rude ill-bred names, were
never heard among them ; nor were they ever permitted
to call each other by their proper names, without the
addition of brother or sister. There was no such thing
as loud talking or playing allowed : but every one was
kept close to business for the six hours of school. And
it is almost incredible what a child may be taught in a
160 MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
quarter of a year by a vigorous application, if it have
but a tolerable capacity, and good health. Kezzy
excepted, all could read better in that time, than most
women can do as long as they live. Rising from
their places, or going out of the room, was not per
mitted, except for good cause ; and running into the
yard, garden, or street, without leave, was always
considered a capital offence.
" For some years we went on very well. Never
were children better disposed to piety, or in more sub
jection to their parents, till that fatal dispersion of them,
after the fire, into several families. In those they were
left at full liberty to converse with servants, which be
fore they had always been restrained from; and to run
abroad to play with any children good or bad. They
soon learned to neglect a strict observance of the Sab
bath ; and got knowledge of several songs, and bad
things, which before they had no notion of. That civil
behaviour, which made them admired, when they were
at home, by all who saw them, was, in a great measure,
lost; and clownish accent, and many rude ways learnt,
which were not reformed, without some difficulty. When
the house was rebuilt, and all the children brought home,
we entered on a strict reform ; and then we began the
custom of singing psalms, at beginning and leaving
school, morning and evening. Then also that of a
general retirement at five o clock was entered upon :
when the oldest took the youngest that could speak,
and the second the next, to whom they read the psalms
for the day, and a chapter in the New Testament; as
in the morning they were directed to read the psalms,
and a chapter in the Old ; after which they went to their
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY 161
private prayers, before they got their breakfast, or came
into the family.
There were several by-laws observed among us. I
mention them here because I think them useful.
1. It had been observed that cowardice and fear
of punishment often lead children into lying; till they
get a custom of it which they cannot leave. To pre
vent this, a law was made, that whoever was charged
with a fault, of which they were guilty, if they would
ingenuously confess it, and promise to amend, should
not be beaten. This rule prevented a great deal of
2. That no sinful action, as lying, pilfering at
church, or on the Lord s-day, disobedience, quarrelling,
&c., should ever pass unpunished.
3. That no child should ever be chid, or beat
twice for the same fault; and that if they amended,
they should never be upbraided with it afterwards.
4. That every signal act of obedience, especially
when it crossed their own inclinations, should be always
commended, and frequently rewarded, according to the
merits of the case.
5. That if ever any child performed an act of
obedience, or did any thing with an intention to please,
though the performance was not well, yet the obedience
and intention should be kindly accepted, and the child,
with sweetness, directed how to do better for the future.
6. That propriety be inviolably preserved ; and
none suffered to invade the property of another in the
smallest matter, though it were but of the value of a
farthing, or a pin ; which they might not take from the
owner without, much less against, his consent. This
162 MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
rule can never be too much inculcated on the minds of
7. That promises be strictly observed : and a gift
once bestowed, and so the right passed away from the
donor, be not resumed, but left to the disposal of him
to whom it was given; unless it were conditional, and
the condition of the obligation not performed.
8. That no girl be taught to work till she can read
very well ; and then that she be kept to her work with
the same application, and for the same time that she
was held to in reading. This rule also is much to be
observed ; for the putting children to learn sewing be
fore they can read perfectly, is the very reason why so
few women can read fit to be heard, and never to be
After such management, who can wonder at the
rare excellence of the Wesley Family ? Mrs. Wesley
never considered herself discharged from the care of her
children. Into all situations she followed them with
her prayers and counsels : and her sons, even when
they became men and scholars, found the utility of her
wise and parental instructions. They proposed to her
their doubts, and consulted her in all their difficulties.
Mr. Wesley usually attended the sittings of Con
vocation ; such attendance, according to his principles,
was a part of his duty, and he performed it at an ex
pense which he could ill spare from the necessities of
so large a family, and at a cost of time which was in
jurious to his parish. During these absences, as there
was no afternoon service at Epworth, Mrs. Wesley
prayed with her own family on Sabbath evenings, read
a sermon, and engaged afterwards in religious con-
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY. 163
versation. Some of the parishioners who came in acci
dentally were not excluded ; and she did not think it
proper that their presence should interrupt the duty of
the hour. Induced by the report which these persons
made, others requested permission to attend ; and in
this manner from thirty to forty persons usually as
sembled. After this had continued some time, she
happened to find an account of the Danish missionaries
in her husband s study, and was much impressed by
the perusal. The book strengthened her desire of
doing good : she chose " the best and most awakening
sermons," and spoke with more freedom, more warmth,
more affection to the neighbours, who attended at her
evening prayers. Their numbers increased in conse
quence ; for she did not think it right to deny any who
asked admittance. More persons came at length than
the apartment could hold ; and the thing was repre
sented to her husband in such a manner, that he wrote
to her, objecting to her conduct; because, he said, "it
looked particular," on account of her sex, and because
he was at that time in a public station and character,
which rendered it the more necessary that she should
do nothing to attract censure ; and he recommended
that some other person should read for her. She be
gan her reply by thanking him for dealing so faithfully
and plainly with her in a matter of no common concern.
"As to its looking particular," she said, " I grant it
does; and so does almost every thing that is serious,
or that may any way advance the glory of God, or the
salvation of souls, if it be performed out of the pulpit,
or in the way of common conversation ; because in our
corrupt age the utmost care and diligence have been
164 MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
used to banish all discourse of God, or spiritual con
cerns, out of society, as if religion were never to appear
out of the closet, and we were to be ashamed of nothing
so much as of confessing ourselves to be Christians."
To the objection on account of her sex, she answered,
that though she was a woman, she was also mistress of
a large family ; and if the superior charge lay upon
him as their head, and minister, yet in his absence, she
could not but look upon every soul which he had left
under her care, as a talent committed to her under a
trust by the great Lord of all the families of heaven
and earth. " If/ she added, " I am unfaithful to Him
or to you in neglecting to improve these talents, how
shall I answer when he shall command me to render an
account of my stewardship?" The objections which
arose from his own station and character, she left en
tirely to his own judgment. Why any person should
reflect upon him, because his wife endeavoured to draw
people to church, and restrain them by reading and
other persuasions, from profaning the Sabbath, she
could not conceive ; and if any were mad enough to do
so, she hoped he would not regard it. " For my own
part," she says, " I value no censure on this account :
I long since shook hands with the world ; and I heartily
wish I had never given them more reason to speak
against me." As to the proposal of letting some other
person read for her, she thought her husband had not
considered what a people they were : not a man among
them could read a sermon without spelling a great part
of it, and how would that edify the rest ? and none of
her own family had voices strong enough to be heard
by so many.
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY. 165
While Mrs. Wesley thus vindicated herself in a
manner which she thought must prove convincing to
her husband, as well as to her own calm judgment, the
curate of Epworth (a man who seems to have been en
titled to very little respect,) wrote to Mr. Wesley in a
very different strain, complaining that a CONVENTICLE
was held in his house. The name was well chosen to
alarm so high a churchman; and his second letter
declared a decided disapprobation to these meetings, to
which he had made no serious objections before. She
did not reply to this till some days had elapsed, for she
deemed it necessary that both of them should take some
time to consider, before her husband finally determined
in a matter which she felt to be of great importance : she
expressed astonishment that any effect upon his opini
ons, much more any change in them, should be pro
duced by the senseless clamour of two or three of the
worst in his parish; and represented to him the good
which had been done by inducing a more frequent and
regular attendance at church, and reforming the general
habits of the people ; and the evil which would result
from discontinuing such meetings, especially by the
prejudices which it would excite against the curate, in
those persons who were sensible that they derived
benefit from the religious opportunities, which would
thus be taken away through his interference. After
stating these things clearly and judiciously, she con
cluded thus, in reference to her own duty as a wife :
" If you do, after all, think fit to dissolve this assembly,
do not tell me that you desire me to do it, for that will
not satisfy my conscience ; but send me your positive
command, in such full and express terms, as may absolve
166 MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
me from guilt and punishment for neglecting this op
portunity of doing good, when you and I shall appear
before the great and awful tribunal of our Lord Jesus
Mr. Wesley made no further objections ; and
thoroughly respecting, as he did, and had reason to do,
the principles and understanding of his wife, he was
perhaps ashamed that the representations of meaner
minds should have prejudiced him against her conduct.
The Curate before mentioned appears to have been
something of an original. At one time on Mr. Wesley s
return from London, a complaint was made concerning
his curate, " that he preached nothing to his congrega
tion, except the duty of paying their debts, and behaving
well among their neighbours." The complainants
added, " we think, Sir, there is more in religion than
this." Mr. Wesley replied, " there certainly is ; I will
hear him myself." He accordingly sent for the curate,
and told him that he wished him to preach the next
Lord s day, adding, "you could, I suppose, prepare a
sermon upon any text that I should give you." He
replied, " by all means, Sir." " Then," said Mr.
Wesley, "prepare a sermon on that text, Heb. ii, 6.
Without FAITH it is impossible to please God. " When
the time arrived, Mr. Wesley read the prayers, and
the curate ascended the pulpit. He read the text with
great solemnity, and thus began : " It must be con
fessed, friends, that faith is a most excellent virtue;
and it produces other virtues also. In particular, it
makes a man pay his debts as soon as he can." He
went on in this way, enforcing the social duties for
about a quarter of an hour, and then concluded. " So,"
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY. 167
said his son John, "my father saw it was a lost
The following letter to MR. JOHN WESLEY will
show what care his excellent mother took of her son s
spiritual progress, and of his regular deportment
Jan. 31, 1727.
" 1 am fully persuaded, that the reason why
so many seek to enter into the kingdom of heaven,
but are not able, is, there is some Delilah, some
beloved vice, they will not part with ; hoping that by
a strict observance of their duty in other things, that
particular fault will be dispensed with. But, alas !
they miserably deceive themselves. The way which
leads to heaven is so narrow, the gate we must enter
is so strait, that it will not permit a man to pass with
one known unmortified sin about him. Therefore let
every one in the beginning of their Christian course
weigh what our Lord says, for whosoever having put
his hand to the plough, and looking back, is not fit for
the kingdom of God."
" I am nothing pleased we advised you to have
your plaid ; though I am that you think it too dear;
because I take it to be an indication that you are dis
posed to thrift, which is a rare qualification in a young
man who has his fortune to make. Indeed such an one
can hardly be too wary, or too careful. I would not
recommend taking thought for the morrow any further
than is needful for our improvement of present oppor
tunities, in a prudent management of those talents God
has committed to our trust : and so far I think it is the
duty of all to take thought for the morrow. And I
168 MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
heartily wish you may be well apprized of this while
life is young ; for
Believe me, youth ; (for I am read in cases,
And bend beneath the weight of more than fifty years.)
Believe me, dear son, old age is the worst time we can
choose to mend either our lives or our fortunes. If the
foundations of solid piety are not laid betimes in sound
principles, and virtuous dispositions ; and if we neglect
while strength and vigour last to lay up something ere
the infirmities of age overtake us, it is a hundred to one
that we shall die both poor and wicked.
" Ah ! my dear son, did you with me stand on the
verge of life, and saw before you a vast expanse, an
unlimited duration of being, which you might shortly
enter upon, you can t conceive how all the inad
vertences, mistakes, and sins of youth, would rise to
your view ! and how different the sentiments of sensitive
pleasures, the desire of sexes, and the pernicious friend
ships of the world, would be then, from what they are
now, while health is entire, and seems to promise many
years of life."
About this time Mr. John Wesley wrote a letter
to his mother concerning afflictions, and what was the
best method of profiting by them. To which she thus
answers with her usual good sense and deep piety.
Wroote, July 26, 1727.
"It is certainly true that I have had larg e
experience of what the world calls adverse fortune ;
but I have not made those improvements in piety and
virtue, under the discipline of Providence, that I ought
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY. 169
to have done ; therefore I humbly conceive myself to
be unfit for an assistant to another in affliction, since I
have so ill performed my duty. But, blessed be God!
you are at present in pretty easy circumstances ; which
I thankfully acknowledge is a great mercy to me as well
as you. Yet, if hereafter you should meet with troubles
of various sorts, as it is probable you will in the course
of your life, be it of short, or long continuance, the
best preparation I know for sufferings, is a regular and
exact performance of present duty, for this will surely
render a man pleasing to God, and put him directly
under the protection of His good providence, so that
no evil shall befall him, but what he will certainly be the
" It is incident to all men to regard the past and
the future, while the present moments pass unheeded ;
whereas, in truth, neither the one nor the other is of
use to us any farther than that they put us upon im
proving the present time.
" You did well to correct that fond desire of dying
before me ; since you do not know what work God may
have for you to do ere you leave the ivorld. And be
sides, I ought surely to have the priority in point of
time, and go to rest before you. Whether you could
see me die without any emotions of grief, I know not ;
perhaps you could : it is what I have often desired of
the children, that they would not weep at our parting,
and so make death more uncomfortable than it would
otherwise be to me. If you, or any other of my children,
were likely to reap any spiritual advantage by being
with me at my exit, I should be glad to have you with
me. But as I have been an unprofitable servant, during
170 MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
the course of a long life, I have no reason to hope
for so great an honour, so high a favour, as to be em
ployed in doing our Lord any service in the article of
death. It was well, if you spake prophetically, that
joy and hope might have the ascendant over the other
passions of my soul in that important hour : nor do I
despair, but rather leave it to our Almighty Saviour to
do with me, both in life and death, just what he pleases,
for I have no choice."
About this time Mrs. Wesley became a convert
to her son John s opinions respecting "the ivitness of
the spirit." He asked Mrs. Wesley whether his father
had not the same evidence, and preached it to his
people. She replied that he had it himself, and de
clared a little before his death, he had no darkness nor
doubt of his salvation ; but that she did not remember
to have heard him preach upon it explicitly. MR.
SOUTHEY here intimates, that Mrs. Wesley " was then
seventy years of age, which induces a reasonable sus
picion that her powers of mind had become impaired, or
she would not else have supposed that any other faith,
or degree of faith, was necessary, than that in which her
husband had lived and died." It is wisely, as well as
eloquently said by DR. FULLER, whose niece married the
father of the rector of Epworth as before mentioned ;
" of such as deny that we had formerly in our churches
all truth necessary to salvation, I ask Joseph s question
to his brethren, Is your father well? the old man
is he yet alive p So, how fare the souls of their sires,
and the ghosts of their grandfathers ? are they yet
alive ? do they still survive in bliss and happiness ?
Oh no! they are dead; dead in soul, dead in body,
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY 171
dead temporally, dead eternally: if so be ive had not
all truth necessary to salvation before their time."
When MR. JOHN WESLEY wrote to his father in
1735 the reasons why he declined the living of Epworth,
he then appears not to have had the same views, as to
the ineffectiveness of his father s ministry, as he after
wards entertained. For lie says "these are part of my
reasons for choosing to abide (till I am better informed,)
in the station wherein God has placed me. As for the
flock committed to your care, whom for many years
you have diligently fed with the sincere milk of the
word, I trust in God your labour shall not be in vain
either to yourself or them j many of them, the Great
Shepherd has, by your hand, delivered from the hand
of the destroyer, some of whom are already entered
into peace, and some remain unto this day. For your
self, I doubt not, but when your warfare is accomplish
ed, when you are made perfect through sufferings, you
shall come to your grave, not with sorrow, but as a ripe
shock of corn, full of years and victories. And He
that took care of the sheep before you were born, will
not forget them when you are dead."
It must be allowed, however, that the Rector s
prejudice had made him a stranger to the practical and
experimental writings of the Puritans and Non-con
formists; and a change of society, and a new course
of reading, might in some measure obscure even the well
informed mind of Mrs. Wesley. " Their theological
reading," says MR. WATSON, " according to the fashion
of the church-people of that day, was directed rather to
the writings of those Divines of the English church who
were tinctured more or less with a Pelagianized Armi-
172 MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
nianism. They had parted with Calvinism ; but, like
many others, they renounced with it, for want of spirit
ual discrimination, those truths which were as fully
maintained in the theology of ARMINIUS, and in that of
their eminent son, who revived and more fully illus
trated it, as in the writings of the most judicious and
spiritual Calvinistic divines themselves. TAYLOR,
TILLOTSON, and BULL, who became their oracles, were
Arminians of a different class."
In a letter from Mrs. Wesley to her son Samuel,
dated Epworth, March 1739, she thus refers to that
laborious servant of Christ, MR. WHITFIELD, and to the
great good her sons John and Charles were then doing.
"You have heard, I suppose, that Mr. Whitfield is
taking a progress through these parts to make a col
lection for a house in Georgia, for orphans, and such
of the native children as they will part with, to learn
our language and religion. He came hitherto see me,
and we talked about your brothers. I told him I did
not like their way of living, wished them in some places
of their own, wherein they might regularly preach.
He replied, I could not conceive the good they did
in London ; that the greatest part of our clergy were
asleep, and there never was greater need of itinerant
preachers than now/ Upon which, a gentleman that
came with him, said that my son diaries had converted
him, and that both my sons spent all their time in doing
good. I then asked Mr. Whitfield if they were not
for making some innovations in the church, which I
much feared. He assured me they were so far from
it, that they endeavoured all they could to reconcile
Dissenters to our communion ; that my son John had
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY. 173
baptized five adult Presbyterians, and he Relieved would
bring over many to our communion. His stay was
short, so that I could not talk with him as much as I
desired. He seems to be a very good man, and one
who truly desires the salvation of mankind. God grant
that the wisdom of the serpent may be joined to the
innocence of the dove."
Of the closing scene of Mrs. Wesley s life, her
son John gives the following account : " I left Bristol
on the evening of Sunday, July 18th, 1742, and on
Tuesday came to London. I found my mother on
the borders of eternity ; but she had no doubts or fears,
nor any desire, but as soon as God should call, to
depart, and be with Christ/ Friday, July 23rd, about
three in the afternoon, I went to see my mother, and
found her change was near. I sat down on the bed
side ; she was in her last conflict, unable to speak, but I
believe quite sensible ; her look was calm and serene, and
her eyes fixed upwards while we commended her soul
to God. From three to four, the silver cord was loosing,
and the wheel breaking at the cistern ; and then without
any struggle, sigh, or groan, the soul was set at liberty.
We stood around the bed, and fulfilled her last request,
uttered a little before she lost her speech, Children,
as soon as I am released, sing a psalm to God. Her
age was 73. Sunday, 1st of August, about five in the
afternoon, in the presence of a great number of people,
I committed to the earth the body of my mother, to
sleep with her fathers. The portion of Scripture from
which I afterwards spoke, was, And I saw a great
white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face
the earth and the heaven fled away ; and there was found
174 MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
no place for them. And I saiv the dead, small and
great, stand before God; and the books were opened :
and another book icas opened which is the book of life :
and the dead were judged out of those things u-hich
were written in the books, according to their ivorks.
Rev. xx. 11, 12. It was one of the most solemn as
semblies I ever saw, or expect to see on this side of
Mrs. Wesley was interred in Bunhilf-Jields burial
ground, where so much precious dust reposes ! A plain
monumental stone is placed at the head of her grave.
The epitaph, however, is unjust to her memory. In
stead of recording the virtues and excellencies of this
extraordinary woman, she is there represented in un
worthy verse, living without real religion nearly the
whole of her life, or, in the words of the Epitaph,
" A legal night of seventy years."
" These words seem to intimate," says DR. CLARKE,
" that Mrs. Wesley was not received into the Divine
favour till she was seventy years of age ! For my own
part, after having traced her through all the known
periods of her life, and taking her spiritual state from
her own nervous and honest pen, I can scarcely doubt
but that she was in the divine favour long before that
time; according to the text, he that fear eth God, and
worketh righteousness, is accepted of Him. And though
she lived in a time when the spiritual privileges of
the children of God were not so clearly defined, nor so
well understood, as they are at present ; yet she was
not without large communications of the divine spirit,
heavenly light, and heavenly ardours, which often
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY. 175
caused her to sit like cherub bright some moments on
a throne of love/ She had the faith of God s elect,
she acknowledged the truth which is according to god
liness. Her spirit and life were conformed to this
truth ; and shew as not, as she could not be, without the
favour and approbation of God.
" But there is a fact which seems to stand against
this, which is alluded to in the second and third stanzas,
viz. that in receiving the sacrament of the Lord s sup
per, when her son-in-law presented the cup with these
words, the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, ivhich
was shed for THEE ; she felt them strike through her
heart; and she then knew that God for Christ s sake
had forgiven her all her sins/ That Mrs. Wesley did
then receive a powerful influence from the Holy Spirit
I can readily believe, by which she was mightily con
firmed and strengthened, and had from it the clearest
evidence of her reconciliation to God; but that she
had been in a legal state, or, as some have understood
that expression, was seeking justification by the works
of the law until then, I have the most positive facts to
"The Rector of Epworth s ministry was strong
and faithful : but it was not clear on the point of justi
fication by faith, and the witness of the Spirit. I can
testify this," says DR. CLARKE, "from the most direct
evidence, several of his manuscript sermons being
now before me. To know that we are of God, by the
spirit which he has given us; he, and most in his time
believed to be the privilege of a few, and but of a few :
hence the people were not exhorted to follow on to
know the Lord ; and although several of them had a
176 MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
measure of this knowledge, felt its effects, and brought
forth the fruits of it; yet they knew not its name."
Her epitaph which was written by MR. CHARLES
WESLEY has been strongly objected to by DR. CLARKE
on other grounds. He calls it " trite, bald, and inex
pressive." MR. SOUTHEY has also censured it; but
both MR. MOORE and MR. WATSON consider the lines
" beautiful." We shall give them, and leave the reader
to form his own judgment.
" Here lies the body of MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY,
the youngest and last surviving daughter of DR. SAMUEL
" In sure and stedfast hope to rise,
And claim her mansions in the skies ;
A Christian here her flesh laid down,
The cross exchanging for a crown.
" True daughter of affliction she,
Inured to pain and misery,
Mourn d a long night of griefs and fears,
A legal night of seventy years.
"The Father then reveal d his Son,
Him in the broken bread made known.
She knew and felt her sins forgiven,
And found the earnest of her heaven.
" Meet for the fellowship above,
She heard the call, arise, my love !
I come ! her dying looks replied,
And lamb-like as her Lord she died."
Mrs. Wesley s character will have been seen in
the preceding sketch of her life. She appears to have
possessed naturally a masculine strength of mind, which
MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY. 177
was improved by a liberal education. She feared no
difficulty; and, in the search of truth, at once looked
the most formidable objections full in the face ; and
never hesitated to give an enemy all the vantage ground
he could gain, when she rose up to defend either
the doctrines or precepts of religion. Mrs. Wesley had
evidently read much, and thought more. Both logic and
metaphysics formed part of her studies ; and these ac
quisitions, which she studiously endeavoured to conceal,
are seen to great advantage in all her writings. Her
education was conducted upon Christian principles;
and she appears very early to have attained a con
siderable acquaintance with the gospel as a system of
divine truth, and to have felt much of its influence
upon her heart. She was not only graceful, but beauti
ful in her figure. Her sister Judith is represented as
a very beautiful woman ; but one who well knew them
both, said, " beautiful as Miss ANNESLEY appears, she
is far from being so interesting as MRS. WESLEY."
As a WIFE, she was affectionate and obedient;
having a sacred respect for authority wherever lodged.
As the mistress of a large family, her management was
exquisite in all its parts; and its success beyond com
parison. As a Christian, she was modest, humble, and
pious. Her religion was as rational as it was scriptural
and profound. In forming her creed, she dug deep,
and laid her foundation upon a rock, and the storms of
life never shook it. Her faith carried her through
many severe trials, and it was unimpaired in death.
Mrs. Wesley had, indeed, her full share of sorrow.
We have seen, that, during the life of her husband, she
had to struggle with narrow circumstances ; and, at his
178 MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
death, she was left dependant upon her children. Of
nineteen children, she had wept over the early graves
of a great number ; she survived her son Samuel, and
had the keener anguish of seeing three of her daughters
unhappily married. She was a tender mother, and a
wise and invaluable friend. DR. CLARKE concludes his
character of Mrs. Wesley in the following words :
" I have been acquainted with many pious females ; I
have read the lives of several others, and composed
memoirs of a few ; but, of such a woman, take her for
all in all, I have not heard ; nor with her equal have I
been acquainted. Such a one, Solomon has described ;
and to Mrs. Wesley I can apply the character of his
accomplished housewife. Many daughters have done
virtuously, but thou excellest them all. ;
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
SENT TO WESTMINSTER SCHOOL. MRS. WESLEY S EXCELLENT LET
TER TO HIM. NOTICED BY BISHOP SPRAT. REMOVES TO CHRIST
CHURCH, OXFORD. APPOINTED ONE OF THE USHERS IN WEST
MINSTER SCHOOL. HIS INTIMACY WITH BISHOP ATTERBURY.
HIS EPIGRAMS AGAINST SIR ROBERT WALPOLE. ACCEPTS THE
MASTERSHIP OF TIVEKTON SCHOOL, DEVONSHIRE. HIS LETTER
TO HIS MOTHER ON HER COUNTENANCING THE METHODISTS.
PUBLISHES A VOLUME OF POEMS. INTIMATE WITH LORD OXFORD
AND MR. POPE. THEIR LETTERS TO HIM. HIS DEATH, CHARAC
TER, AND EPITAPH.
Though it is little more than forty years since the
venerable Founder of Arminian Methodism died, all
knowledge of that part of the Wesley Family which had
no public eminence, is almost wholly obliterated. Out
of nineteen children, which comprised the family of the
Rector of Epworth, the names of eleven only can be
recovered, and of most of these, little is comparatively
known. The registers of births and burials being in
the parsonage house at the time of the fire in 1709,
were totally consumed, which prevents us fixing their
ages with exactness.
MR. SAMUEL WESLEY, JUNIOR, was undoubtedly
the eldest child which Mrs. Wesley had ; and was born
in London, or its vicinity, before his father s removal to
South Ormsby. He could not speak till between four
and five years of age, which was a great grief to the
180 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
family; but one day having retired out of sight, as
was his frequent custom, to amuse himself with a
favourite cat, hearing his mother anxiously call for
him, he crept out from under the table and said, "here
I am mother," to the great surprize and comfort of the
whole family. It seems as if the child had been laying
up stores in secret till that time ; for one day, when
some question was proposed to another person concern
ing him, he answered it himself in a manner which
astonished all who heard him, and from that time he
began to speak without difficulty.
In 1704, when about fourteen years of age, he
was sent to Westminster school, and in 1707, admitted
king s scholar. This school, through the extraordinary
abilities of DR. BUSBY, its then late Head Master, had
acquired great celebrity in Europe. Mr. Wesley
availed himself of the valuable advantages thus put
within his reach, and became a thorough scholar. He
had naturally a strong and discerning mind, which soon
shone conspicuously for its correct classical taste.
We have seen what care Mrs. Wesley took to cul
tivate the minds of her children ; and from them, as far
as human influence, and teaching, can extend, to
religion and piety. As Samuel was the first born, she
felt it her duty, in a peculiar manner, to dedicate him
to the Lord, and her anxious cares were not lessened
after his removal to Westminster. A letter written to
him by his mother, in Oct. 1709, contains excellent
counsel and advice, expressed with much energy and
dignity of language.
" I hope that you retain the impressions of your
education, nor have forgot that the vows of God are
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 181
upon you. You know that \\\e Jirst fruits are heaven s
by an unalienable right ; and that as your parents de
voted you to the service of the altar, so you yourself
made it your choice, when your father was offered
another way of life for you. But have you duly con
sidered what such a choice, and such a dedication im
port ? Consider well, what separation from the world !
what purity ! what devotion ! what exemplary virtue !
are required in those who are to guide others to glory.
I say exemplary; for low common degrees of piety are
not sufficient for those of the sacred function. You
must not think to live like the rest of the world : your
light must so shine before men, that they may see your
good works, and thereby be led to glorify your Father
which is in heaven.
" I would advise you, as much as possible, in your
present circumstances, to throw your business into a
certain method, by which means you will learn to im
prove every precious moment, and find an unsuspecting
facility in the performance of your respective duties.
Begin and end the day with Him who is the Alpha and
Omega ; and if you really experience what it is to love
God, you will redeem all that you can for His more
immediate service. I will tell you what rule I used to
observe when I was in my father s house, and had as
little, if not less, liberty than you have now : I used to
allow myself as much time for recreation as I spent in
private devotion ; not that I always spent so much,
but I gave myself leave to go so far, but no farther.
So in all things else ; appoint so much time for sleep,
eating, company, &c. But of all things, my dear
Sammy, I command you, I beg, I beseech you, to be
182 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
very strict in observing the Lord s-day. In all things
endeavour to act upon principle ; and do not live like
the rest of mankind, \vho pass through the world like
straws upon a river, which are carried which way the
stream, or wind drives them. Often put this question
to yourself, Why do I this, or that ? Why do I pray,
read, study, or use devotion, &c. ? by this means
you will come to such a steadiness and consistency in
your words and actions, as becomes a reasonable crea
ture, and a good Christian."
As Samuelhad the reputation of being a good and
accurate scholar, he was taken occasionally by DR.
THOMAS SPRAT, Bishop of Rochester, to read to him
in the evenings at his seat at Bromley, in Kent. Bishop
Sprat had at that time, the character of being one of
the first scholars in England, learned in almost all arts
and sciences, and a poet of the first order. To almost
any young man of learning and genius, the friendship
and conversation of such a man as Bishop Sprat would
have been invaluable. But Mr. Wesley was so intent
upon his classical studies, and also short-sighted and
of a feeble voice, that he esteemed this service rather
a bondage than a privilege. The Bishop s studies
were nothing similar to his own ; and he considered the
time he was obliged to spend at Bromley as totally lost.
In 1711 Mr. Wesley was elected to Christ s
Church, Oxford, where his diligence was exemplary.
The anonymous author of his life, prefixed to an edi
tion of his poems, says, " In both these places, (West
minster and Oxford,) by the sprightliness of his
compositions, and his remarkable industry, he gained a
reputation beyond most of his contemporaries, being
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 183
thoroughly and critically skilled in the learned lan
guages, and he possessed a perfection in them rarely
attained." With these qualifications, he was sent for
from the University to officiate as one of the Ushers in
Westminster School; and soon after, under the di
rection of BISHOP ATTERBURY, then Dean of West
minster, he took orders. His attachment to this
political prelate* prevented him from obtaining the
vacant chair of Under Master in Westminster School,
for which he was eminently qualified, having officiated
as Head Usher in that establishment for about twenty
Though his intimacy with the Bishop blasted all
Mr. Wesley s prospects of church preferment, his po
litical principles were what he always gloried in ; and it
would be for the credit of human nature did great men
oftener find, upon the vicissitudes of fortune, such
firmness and fidelity as Mr. Wesley evinced to At-
terbury. The following extracts of letters from the
Bishop during his exile, will show in what light he
viewed Mr. Wesley s fidelity. They were occasioned
by a fine poem which Mr. Wesley wrote and printed in
his collection, on the death of MRS. MORICE, his lord
ship s daughter.
April 24, 1730.
"I have received a poem from MR. MORICE, which
I must be insensible not to thank you for your Elegy
upon the death of Mrs. Morice. It is what I cannot
help, an impulse upon me to thank you under my own
* it is said of BISHOP ATTERBURY, that on the death of QUEEN-
ANNE, he offered, with a sufficient guard, to proclaim the Pretender in full
184 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
hand, the satisfaction I feel, the approbation I give,
the envy I bear you, for this good deed and good
work. As a poet, and as a man, I thank you, I
Paris, May 27, 1730.
" I am obliged to Wesley for what he has written
on my dear child ; and take it the more kindly, because
he could not hope for my being ever in a condition to
reward him ; though if ever I am, I will, for he has
shown an invariable regard for me all along, in all
circumstances, and much more than some of his ac
quaintance, who had ten times greater obligations."
Paris, June 30, 1730.
" The verses you sent touched me very nearly ;
and the Latin in the front of them, as much as the
English that followed. There is a great many good
lines in them, and they are writ with as much affection
as poetry. They came from. 1 * the heart of the author,,
and he has a share of mine in return ; and if ever I
come back to my country with honour, he shall find it."
This was no mean praise from so great a man,
and so good a judge. All things considered, we can
not wonder at the neglect that Mr. Wesley received from
the then ministry, after reading the severity of the
following Epigrams, with which he assailed SIR ROBERT
WALPOLE and his friends :
" When patriots, sent a bishop cross the seas,.
They met to fix the pains and penalties :
While true-blue bloodhounds ou his death were bent,,
Thy mercy, WALPOLE, voted banishment!
Or, forc d thy sovereign s orders to perform,
Or proud to govern as to raise the storm.
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 185
Thy goodness shown in such a dangerous day
He only who received it can repay :
Thou never justly recompenc d canst be,
Till banish d Francis do the same for thee.
Tho some would give SIR BOB no quarter,
But long to hang him in his garter;
Yet surely he will deserve to have
Such mercy as in power he gave :
Send him abroad to take his ease,
By act of pains and penalties :
But if he ere comes back again,
Law, take thy course, and hang him then."
" Four shillings in the pound we see,
And well may rest contented,
Since war, Bob swore t, should never be,
Is happily prevented.
But he now absolute become,
May plunder every penny;
Then blame him not for taking some,
But thank for leaving any.
" A steward once, the Scripture says,
When ordered his accounts to pass,
To gain his master s debtors o er,
Cried for a hundred write fourscore.
Near as he could, SIR ROBERT bent
To follow gospel precedent,
When told a hundred late would do,
Cried, I beseech you, Sir, take two.
186 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
In merit, which should we prefer,
The steward or the treasurer ?
Neither for justice car d a fig,
Too proud to beg, too old to dig;
Both bountiful themselves have shown
In things that never were their own :
But here a difference we must grant,
One robb d the rich to keep off want,
T other, vast treasures to secure,
Stole from the public and the poor.
Though these stung the minister to the quick, they
did not fail, at the same time, to confirm him in his
resolution that Mr. Wesley should never rise at West
minster. The animosity between them was mutual ;
and yet such was the filial piety of this high-spirited
man, that in the latter end of his father s life, who was
but in narrow circumstances, he condescended in his
favour, to solicit a minister that he both hated and
despised. The solicitation, however, did not succeed.
Among Mr. Samuel Wesley s letters was found
one to his brother John, which contains some curious
family matters ; particularly respecting a project of the
latter, to draw the character of every branch of the
family, the commencement of which he had submitted
to his brother for his approbation. Whether this pro
ject was ever completed is not known. It would have
been an interesting document.
Dean s Yard, November 18, 1727.
" I am obliged to you for the beginning
of the Portrait of our Family : how I may judge when
I see the whole, though I may guess nearly within
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 187
myself, I cannot positively affirm to you. There is,
I think, not above one particular in all the characters
which you have drawn at length, that needs further
explanation. * *
" My wife and I join in love and duty ; and beg
my father and mother s blessing. I would to God they
were as easy in one another, and as little uneasy in
their fortunes, as we are ! In that sense, perhaps, you
may say I am, Tydides melior putris ; though I believe
there is scarcely more work to be done at Wroote than
here, though we have fewer debts to discharge. Next
Christmas I hope to be as clear as I have expected to
be these seven years. Charles is, I think, in debt for
a letter ; but I don t desire he should imagine it dis
charged by setting his name in your letter, or inter
lining a word or two. I must conclude, because my
paper is done, and company come in.
I am, your affectionate friend and brother,
Mr. Samuel Wesley had an only son, who died
young, but at what age we cannot learn. His death
appears to have been a heavy stroke to all the family ;
and was particularly so to his grandfather, for the
reasons which he alleges in the following consolatory
letter, written to his son on the occasion, and which
appears to have been the answer to that in which he
received the news of his death.
June 18, 1731.
" DEAR SON,
" Yes, this is a thunderbolt indeed to our
whole family ; but especially to me, who now am not
likely to see any of my name in the third generation,
188 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
(though Job did in the fourth,) to stand before God.
However, this is a new demonstration to me, that there
must be an hereafter; because when the truest piety
and filial duty have been shown, it has been followed
by the loss of children, which therefore must be restored
and met with again, as Job s first ten were in another
world. As I resolve from hence, as he directs to stir
up myself against the hypocrite, I trust I shall walk
on in my way, and grow stronger and stronger, as
well as that God will support you both under this
heavy and unspeakable affliction. But when and how
did he die? and where is his epitaph? Though if
sending this now, will too much refricare vulnus, I will
stay longer for it. S. WESLEY."
It is seen, from the accounts which have been
written of MR. JOHN WESLEY, how earnestly his father
wished him to succeed to the Rectory of Epworth, and
how strongly this was pressed upon him by his elder
brother Samuel. But it is not so well known that
SAMUEL WESLEY was the first object of his father s
choice; however this is sufficiently evident from the
following letter, which was transcribed from the original.
The offer of Epworth to Samuel was made February
1733; that to John was in 1734.
" DEAR SON SAMUEL,
" For several reasons I have earnestly
desired, especially in and since my last sickness, that
you might succeed me in Epworth; in order to which
I am willing and determined to resign the living,
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 189
provided you could make an interest to have it in my
"My first and best reason is, because I am per
suaded you would serve God and His people here
better than I have done. Though, thanks be to God,
after nearly forty years labour amongst them, they grow
better; I had above a hundred at my last Sacrament,
whereas I have had less than twenty communicants
formerly. My second reason relates to yourself, taken
from gratitude, or rather from plain honesty. You have
been a father to your brothers and sisters; especially
to the former, who have cost you great sums in their
education, both before and since they went to the
University. Neither have you stopped here; but
have shewed your piety to your mother and me in a
very liberal manner ; wherein your wife joined with
you when you did not overmuch abound yourselves ;
and have even done noble charities to my children s
children. Now what should I be if I did not endeavour
to make you easy to the utmost of my power, espe
cially when I know that neither of you have your health
in London ? My third is from honest interest; I mean
that of our family. You know our circumstances. As
for your aged and infirm mother, as soon as I drop she
must turn out, unless you succeed me; which if you
do, and she survives me, I know you ll immediately
take her then to your own house, or rather continue
her there; where your wife and you will nourish her
till we meet again in heaven ; and you will be a guide
and a stay to the rest of the family.
" There are a few things more which may seem
to be tolerable reasons to me for desiring you to be
190 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
my successor, whatever they may appear to others.
I have been at very great expense on this living :
have rebuilt from the ground the parsonage-barn,
and dove-cote ; leaded, planked, and roofed, a great
part of my chancel ; rebuilt the parsonage-house
twice when it had been burnt; the first time one wing,
the second down to the ground, wherein I lost all my
books and MSS., a considerable sum of money, all
our linen, wearing apparel, and household stuff, except
a little old iron, my wife and I being scorched with
the flames, and all of us very narrowly escaping with
life. This by God s help I built again, digging up
the old foundations, and laying new ones ; it cost me
above 400/., little or nothing of the old materials
being left : besides new furniture from top to bottom ;
for we had now very little more than what Adam and
Eve had when they set up housekeeping. I then
planted the two fronts of my house with wall fruit the
second time, as I had done the old ; for the former all
perished by the fire. I have before set mulberries in
my garden, which bear plentifully, as lately, cherries,
pears, &c., and in the adjoining croft walnuts ; and
am planting more every day. And this I solemnly
declare, not with any manner of view, or so much as
hopes, that any of mine should enjoy any of the fruit
of my labour, when 1 have so long since outlived all
my friends ; but my prospect was for some unknown
person, that I might do what became me, and leave
the living better than I found it.
" And yet I might own I could not help wishing,
as twas natural, that all my care and charge might
not be utterly sunk and lost to my family, but that
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
some of them might be the better for it; though yet I
despaired of it for the reason above mentioned, till
some time since the best of my parishioners pressed
me earnestly to try if I could do any thing in it :
though all I can do is to resign it to you ; which I am
ready, frankly and gladly to do; scorning to make
any conditions, for I know you better.
"I commend this affair and you, and yours to
God, as becomes
" Your affectionate father,
Mr. Wesley, finding that promotion at Westminster
was hopeless, and that his health had been greatly
impaired by a conscientious and rigorous fulfilment of
his duties, he accepted, about 1732, the Mastership of
the Free Grammar School of Tiverton, in Devonshire.
Without any solicitation on his part, he was invited to
that situation, and held it till his death. Before he
removed so far westward, he went to visit his parents
at Epworth, and there his two brothers met him, that
the whole family might, for the last time in this world,
be gathered together. Among the many solemn cir
cumstances of human life, few can be more solemn than
such a meeting.
Whilst his brothers, John and Charles, were in
Georgia, Samuel kept up an affectionate and instructive
correspondence with them ; but on their return to
England, he considered their missionary exertions, in
different parts of the kingdom, as little less than a
profanation of the Christian ministry. Possessing high
church, and tory principles, he was too apt to conceive
a violent prejudice against any thing that appeared
192 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
contrary to his notions of the orthodox faith. On this
ground the conduct of his brothers was viewed by him
with a jealous eye; and his mind was prejudiced to
wards them by tales which some of his correspondents
had gleaned up, and especially through the exertions
of a MRS. HUTTON, at whose house Mr. John and
Charles Wesley lodged after their return from Georgia.
By this "silly" woman s information, Samuel was led
to set down his brother John as a lunatic. Many
letters passed between the brothers in consequence of
Mrs. Hutton s correspondence. In one of her letters,
dated 6th of June, 1738, she says :
" Your brother John seems to be turned a wild
enthusiast or fanatic ; and to our very great affliction,
he is drawing our two children into these wild notions,
by their great opinion of his sanctity and judgment.
It would be a charity to many other honest, well-
meaning, simple souls, as well as to my children, if you
would either convert, or confine Mr. John when he is
with you ; for, after his behaviour on Sunday the 28th
of May, you will think him not quite right. Without
ever acquainting any one of his design, after MR.
HUTTON had ended a sermon of BISHOP BLACKHALL S,
which he had been reading in his study to a great num
ber of people, Mr. John got up and told the people,
that five days before, he was not a Christian; and the
way for them all to become so, was to believe and own
that they were not then Christians. Mr. Hutton was
much surprised at this unexpected speech."
When he repeated the assertion at supper, in Mrs.
Hutton s presence, she answered with female readiness,
"if you were not a Christian ever since I knew you,
SAMUEL WESLEY JUN. 193
you was a great hypocrite, for you made us all believe
you were one." In the same letter she adds,
" Mr. Charles went from my son s, where he lay ill
for some time ; and would not come to our house, where
I offered him the choice of two of my best rooms; but
he would accept of neither, and chose rather to go to a
poor brazier s in Little Britain, that the brazier might
help him forward in his conversion ; which was com
pleted on May 22nd. Mr. John was converted, or I
know not what, or how, but made a Christian, May 25th.
He has abridged the life of one Halyburton, a Pres
byterian teacher in Scotland. My son had designed
to print it, to show the experience of that holy man,
of indwelling, &c. Mr. Hutton and I have forbid our
son being concerned in handing such books into the
world ; but if your brother John, or Charles, thinks it
will tend to promote God s glory, they will soon convince
my son, that God s glory is to be preferred to his parents
commands! Then you will see what I never expected;
my son promoting rank fanaticism. If you can,
dear sir, put a stop to such madness, it will be a work
worthy of you, and very much oblige,
Your sincere and affectionate servant,
To Mr. Wesley, Tiverton, Devon.
The truly scriptural and impressive experience of
MR. HALYBURTON, appears thus to have been viewed
by Mrs. Hutton as rank fanaticism. This circumstance
alone is sufficient to show how utterly incapable
she was of judging correctly in matters of Christian
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
experience.* That Mr. Samuel should have given
her a serious answer, seems strange. We shall subjoin
an extract from his letter to her i
" DEAR MADAM,
"I am sufficiently sensible of yours,
and Mr. Button s kindness to my brothers, and
shall always acknowledge it, and cannot blame you
either for your concern, or writing to me about it.
Falling into enthusiasm is being lost with a witness.
What Jack means by not being a Christian till last
month I do not understand. I hope your son does not
think it as plainly revealed, that he should print an
enthusiastic book, as it is, that he should obey his
father and mother. God deliver us from visions that
make the law of God vain ! I pleased myself with the
expectation of seeing Jack, but it is now all over. I
know not where to direct to him, or where he is.
Charles I will write to as soon as I can, and shall be
glad to hear from you in the mean time. / heartily
pray God to stop the progress of this lunacy.
Tiverton, June 17, 1738. SAMUEL WESLEY."
* The Life of Halyburton was a book which that great scholar SIR
RICHARD ELLYS valued above all the books in his learned and extensive
library. DAVID SIMPSON, author of the "Plea for Religion," says of this
work, " I remember the excellent DR. CON* YERS of Deptford once observed
that if he was banished into a desert island, and permitted to take with him
only/our books, the life of Halyburton should be one." In this work there
are passages of the finest feeling. We hope there are few whose hearts are
in so diseased a state as not to relish and understand the beauty of the fol
lowing extract. When a long illness had well nigh done its work, Mr.
Halyburton said, "I did not believe that I could have borne, and borne
cheerfully, this rod so long. This is a miracle pain without pain! Blessed
be God that ever I was born. 1 have a father, a mother, and ten brothers
and sisters in heaven, and I shall be the eleventh ! O blessed be the day
that ever I was born." A few hours before he breathed his last, he said,
" I was just thinking on the pleasant spot of earth I shall get to lie in beside
Mr. Rutherford, Ulr. Forrester, and Mr. Anderson. I shall come in as the
little one amongst them, and 1 shall get my pleasant George in my hand, (a
child who was gone before him,) and oh ! we shall be a knot of bonny dust ."
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 195
Several letters passed between the brothers, in
consequence of Mrs. Hutton s gleanings : and though
Samuel seems to have altered his views in some re
spects towards the latter part of his life, he does not
appear even then to have "seen eye to eye," with his
brothers on the doctrine of assurance.
Mr. Wesley s mother about this time became a
convert to her son John s opinions respecting " a pre
sent forgiveness of sins." MR. SOUTHEY intimates, as
we have before stated, that Mrs. Wesley, from her
great age had become enfeebled in the powers of her
mind. Be this as it may, the alteration in his mother s
views was a great affliction to Samuel. He wrote to
her as follows : " It is with exceeding concern and
grief, I heard you have countenanced a spreading delu
sion, so far as to become one of Jack s congregation.
It is not enough that I am bereft of both my brothers,
but must my mother follow too ? I earnestly beseech
the Almighty to preserve you from joining a Schism at
the close of your life, as you were unfortunately en
gaged in one at the beginning of it. They boast of
you already as a disciple. CHARLES has told John
Bentham that I do not differ much, if we do but under
stand one another. I am afraid I must be forced to
advertise, such is their apprehension, or their charity.
But they design separation. Things will take their
natural course, without an especial interposition of Pro
vidence. My brothers are already forbid all the pulpits
in London, and to preach in that diocese is actual schism.
In all likelihood it will come to the same all over
England, unless the Bishops have courage. They leave
off the liturgy in the fields : though MR. WHITFIELD
196 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
expresses his value for it, he never once read it
to his tatterdemalions on a common. Their societies
are sufficient to dissolve all other societies, but their
own : icill any man of common sense or spirit suffer any
domestic to be in a bond engaged to relate every thing
without, to five or ten people, that concerns the persons
conscience, how much soever it may concern the family ?
Ought any married persons to be there, unless husband
and wife be there together ? This is literally putting
asunder whom God hath joined together. As I told
Jack, I am not afraid the church should excommunicate
him, discipline is at too low an ebb ; but that he should
excommunicate the church. Love-feasts are intro
duced, and extemporary prayers, and expositions of
Scripture, which last are enough to bring in all con
fusion : nor is it likely they will want any miracles to
support them. He only can stop them from being a
formed sect, in a very little time, who ruleth the madness
of the people."
In 1736 Mr. Samuel Wesley published "A Col
lection of Poems on several Occasions," in 4to, for which
it appears he got a considerable number of subscribers.
He informs the public in an advertisement prefixed to
his poems, that they were published not from "any
opinion of excellency in the verses themselves," but
only on account of " the profit proposed by the sub
scription." There are not many writers, who, with equal
talents, are possessed with equal diffidence. These
poems in general have the best tendency, and are cal
culated either to correct some vice, or to inculcate some
branch of morality and virtue. They abounded with
marks of profound erudition, great observation, and
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 197
knowledge of mankind, with a most lively and vigorous
imagination. His verses, however, in many parts, possess
not that harmony they might have acquired, had he
taken more pains to polish and refine them. But they
are masculine and nervous in the highest degree.
DR. CLARKE thus speaks of them : " As a poet, Samuel
Wesley stands entitled to a very high niche in the
temple of fame ; and it has long appeared to me strange
that his Poetical Works have not found a place either
in JOHNSON S, ANDERSONS , or CHALMERS Collection
of the British Poets. To say that those collectors
did not think them entitled to a place there, would be
a gross reflection on their judgment; as in the last
and best collection, consisting of 127 Poets, it would
be easy to prove, that Samuel Wesley, Jun. is equal
to most, and certainly superior to many of that num
ber. But the name /the name would have scared
many superficial and fantastic readers, as they would
have been afraid of meeting, in some corner or other,
with METHODISM." One of his poems is entitled The
Battle of the Sexes, and was greatly admired by DEAN
SWIFT. It contains fifty verses in the stanza of Spencer,
and produced a handsome poetical compliment from
MR. CHRISTOPHER PITT, who says,
" What muse but your s so justly could display,
The embattled passions marshall d in array?
To airy notions solid forms dispense,
And make our thoughts the images of sense?
Discover all the rational machine,
And show the movements, springs, and wheels within."
Mr. Wesley s personification and description of
religion in this poem, according to DR. CLARKE, has
been much admired.
198 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
" Mild, sweet, serene, and cheerful was her mood :
Nor grave with sternness, nor with lightness free.
Against example resolutely good,
Fervent in zeal and warm in charity."
In this collection there are four Tales, The Cobbler,
The Pig, The Mastiff, and The Basket, admirable for
the humour, and for their appropriate and instructive
moral, though in some instances the descriptions are
rather coarse. He very nearly approached, if he did
not equal PRIOR, whom he took for his model. As
the work is scarce, we shall give the Tale of the Pig as
THE PIG. A TALE.
Some husbands on a winter s day
"Were met to laugh their spleen away.
As wine flows in, and spirits rise,
They praise their consorts to the skies.
Obedient wives were seldom known,
Yet all could answer for their own:
Acknowledg d each as sovereign lord,
Abroad, at home, in deed, in word;
In short, as absolute their reign, as
Grand seignior s, over his sultanas.
For pride or shame to be outdone,
All join d in the discourse but one ;
Who, vex d so many lies to hear,
Thus slops their arrogant career :
Tis mighty strange, sirs, what you say!
What ! all so absolutely sway
In England, where Italians wise
Have plac d the women s paradise ;
In London, where the sex s flower
Have of that Eden fix d the bow r !
SAMUEL WESLEY JUN. 199
Fie, men of sense, to be so vain !
You re not in Turkey or in Spain ;
True Britons all, I 11 lay my life
None here is master of his wife,
These words the general fury rouse,
And all the common cause espouse;
Till one with voice superior said,
(Whose lungs were sounder than his head,)
I 11 send my footman instant home,
To bid his mistress hither come;
And if she flies not at my call,
To own my pow r before you all,
I ll grant I m hen-pecked if you please,
As S , or as Socrates.
Hold there, replies th objector sly,
Prove first that matrons never lie;
Else words are wind: to tell you true,
I neither credit them nor you :
No, we ll be judg d a surer way,
By what they do, not what they say.
I 11 hold you severally, that boast
A supper at the loser s cost,
That if you ll but vouchsafe to try
A trick I 11 tell you by and by.
Send strait for every wife quite round,
One mother s daughter is not found,
But what before her husband s face
Point blank his order disobeys.
To this they one and all consent:
The wager laid, the summons went.
Meanwhile he this instruction gives,
Pray only gravely tell your wives,
200 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
Your will and pleasure is, t invite
These friends to a BOIL D PIG to night ;
The commoner the trick has been,
The better chance you have to win :
The treat is mine, if they refuse ;
But if they boilii, then I lose.
The first to whom the message came
Was a well-born and haughty dame :
A saucy independent she,
With jointure and with pin-money.
Secur d by marriage-deeds from wants,
Without a sep rate maintenance.
Her loftiness disdain d to hear
Half-through her husband s messenger:
But cut him short with How dare he
Mong pot companions send for me ?
He knows his way, if sober, home;
And if he w T ants me, bid him come.
This answer, hastily return d,
Pleas d all but him whom it concern d,
For each man thought, his wife on trial,
Would brighter shine by this denial.
The second was a lady gay,
Who lov d to visit, dress, and play,
To sparkle in the box, or ring,
And dance on birth-nights for the King ;
Whose head was busy wont to be
With something else than cookery.
She, hearing of her husband s name,
Tho much a gentlewoman, came.
When half-informed of his request,
A dish as he desired it drest,
Quoth madam, with a serious face,
Without inquiring what it was,
SAMUEL WESLEY, JTJN. 201
You can t sure for an answer look,
Sir, do you take me for your cook?
But I must haste a friend to see,
Who stays my coming for her tea.
So said, that minute out she flew :
What could the slighted husband do?
His wager lost must needs appear,
For none obey that will not hear.
The next for housewifery renown d,
A woman notable was own d,
Who hated idleness and airs,
And minded family affairs.
Expert at ev ry thing was she,
At needlework, or surgery ;
Fam d for her liquors far and near,
From richest cordial to small beer.
To serve a feast she understood,
In English or in foreign mode,
Whate er the wanton taste could choose
In sauces, kickshaws, and ragouts ;
She spar d for neither cost nor pain,
Her welcome guests to entertain.
Her husband fair accosts her thus;
To-night these friends will sup with us.
She answer d with a smile, my dear,
Your friends are always welcome there.
But we desire a pig, and pray
You d boil it. Boil it ! do you say ?
I hope you ll give me leave to know
My business better, sir, than so.
Why ! ne er in any book was yet
Found such a whimsical receipt.
My dressing none need be afraid of,
But such a dish was never heard of.
202 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
I 11 roast it nice, but shall not boil it ;
Let those that know no better spoil it.
Her husband cry d, for all my boast,
I own the wager fairly lost ;
And other wives besides my love,
Or I m mistaken much, may prove
More chargeable than this to me,
To show their pride in housewifery.
Now the poor wretch who next him sat,
Felt his own heart go pit-a-pat ;
For well he knew his spouse s way;
Her spirit brook d not to obey!
She never yet was in the wrong :
He told her with a trembling tongue,
Where, and on what his friends would feast,
And how the dainty should be drest.
To-night ? quoth, in a passion, she ;
No, sirs, to-night it cannot be,
And was it a boiPd pig you said?
You and your friends sure are not mad !
The kitchen is the proper sphere,
Where none but females should appear:
And cooks their orders, by your leave,
Always from mistresses receive.
Boil it ! was ever such an ass !
Pray, what would you desire for sauce?
If any servant in my pay
Dare dress a pig that silly way,
In spite of any whim of your s
m turn them quickly out of doors :
For no such thing nay, never frown,
Where I am mistress, shall be done.
Each woman wise her husband rules,
Passive obedience is for fools.
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 203
This case was quickly judg d. Behold,
A fair one of a softer mould ;
Good humour sparkled in her eye,
And unaffected pleasantry.
So mild and sweet she enter d in,
Her spouse thought certainly to win.
Pity such golden hopes should fail !
Soon as she heard th appointed tale,
My dear, I know not, I protest,
Whether in earnest or in jest
So strange a supper you demand;
Howe er I 11 not disputing stand,
But do t as freely as you bid it,
Prove but that ever woman did it.
This cause, by general consent,
Was lost for want of precedent.
Thus each denied a several way;
But all agreed to disobey.
One only dame did yet remain,
Who downright honest was and plain :
If now and then her voice she tries,
Tis not for rule, but exercise.
Unus d her lord s commands to slight,
Yet sometimes pleading for the right ;
She made her little wisdom go
Further than wiser women do.
Her husband tells her, looking grave,
A roasting pig I boifd would have:
And to prevent all pro and con,
I must insist to have it done.
Says she, my dearest, shall your wife
Get a nick-name to last for life?
If you resolve to spoil it do ;
But I desire you ll eat it too:
204 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
For though tis boifd, to hinder squabble,
I shall not, will not, sit at table.
She spoke, and her good man alone
Found he had neither lost nor won,
So fairly parted stakes. The rest
Fell on the wag that caus d the jest
Would your wife boil it ? let us see :
Hold there you did not lay with me.
You find, in spite of all you boasted,
Your pigs are fated to be roasted.
The wager s lost, no more contend,
But take this counsel from a friend :
Boast not your empire, if you prize it,
For happiest he that never tries it.
Wives unprovok d think not of sway,
Without commanding they obey.
But if your dear ones take the field,
Resolve at once to win or yield ;
For heaven no medium ever gave
Betwixt a sovereign and a slave.
The following letter from MR. POPE, which is
without date, appears to refer to the subscription for
Mr. Wesley s collection of Poems. If so it must
have been written about 1735.
" DEAR SIR,
"Your letter had not been so long
unanswered, but that I was not returned from a jour
ney of some weeks, when it arrived at this place. You
may depend upon the money from the Earl of Peter
borough, Mr. Bethel, Dr. Swift, and Mr. Eckershall ;
which I will pay before hand to any one you shall
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 205
direct, I think you may set down Dr. Delany whom
I will write to. I desired my Lord Oxford some
months since to tell you this. It was just upon my
going to take a last leave of Lord Peterborough, in so
much hurry, that I had not time to write, and my Lord
Oxford undertook to tell it to you for me. I agree
with you in the opinion of Savage s strange perform
ance, which does not deserve the benefit of clergy.
Mrs. Wesley has my sincere thanks for her good wishes
in favour of this wretched tabernacle, my body. The
soul that is so unhappy as to inhabit it deserves her
regard something better, because it harbours much
good will for her husband, and herself; no man being
more truly, dear Sir,
Your faithful and affectionate Servant,
Mrs. Wesley, Jun. was the author of the Hymns in
the Methodist Hymn Book which begin with the
"The morning flowers display their sweets, &c.
The Sun of righteousness appears, &c.
The Lord of Sabbath let us praise, &c.
Hail, Father, whose creating call, &c.
Hail, God the Son in glory crowned, &c.
Hail ! Holy Ghost ! Jehovah third, &c.
Hail, holy, holy, holy Lord," &c.
Mr. Samuel Wesley held an exalted rank amongst
the literary men of his day, and was in great intimacy
with LORD OXFORD, POPE, SWIFT, and others. He fre
quently dined at Lord Oxford s house, but this was an
honour for which he was obliged to pay a very grievous
tax, and ill suited to the narrowness of his circumstances.
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
VALES to servants, were in those days quite common ;
and in some instances, seem to have stood in the place
of wages. A whole range of livery-men generally stood
in the lobby with eager expectation and rapacity, when
any gentleman came out from dining at a nobleman s
table ; so that no person who was not affluent could
afford to enjoy the privilege of a nobleman s entertain
ment : Mr. Wesley having paid this tax oftener than well
suited his circumstances, thought it high time either
to come to some compromise with these cormorants, or
else to discontinue his visits. One day, on returning
from Lord Oxford s table, and seeing the usual range
of greedy expectants, he addressed them thus : " My
friends, I must make an agreement with you suited to
my purse ; and shall distribute so much (naming the
sum) once in the month, and no more." This becom
ing generally known, their master, whose honour was
concerned, commanded them to " stand back in their
ranks when a gentleman retired ;" and prohibited their
begging!* The following letter from Lord Oxford
* Upon the subject of Vales, DR. KING, in the "Anecdotes of his onn
Times," observes, "if, when I am invited to dine with any of my acquaint
ance, I were to send the master of the house a sirloin of beef for a present,
it would be considered as a gross affront; and yet, as soon as 1 shall have
dined, or before I leave the house, I must be obliged to pay for the sirloin
which was brought to his table. If the servants wages were increased in
some proportion to their vales, (which is the practice of a few great families)
this scandalous custom might be totally extinguished. 1 remember a
Roman Catholic Peer of Ireland, who lived upon a small pension which
Queen Anne had granted him. The DUKE of ORMOXD often invited this
nobleman to dinner, and he as often excused. At last the Duke kindly
expostulated with him, and would know the reason why he so constantly
refused to be one of his guests. My Lord Poor then honestly confessed
that he could not afford it, but, says he, if your Grace will put a
guinea into my hands as often as you are pleased to invite me to dine, I will
not decline the honour of waiting on you. This was done, and my Lord
was afterwards a frequent guest in St. James Square,
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 207
shows the familiarity and confidence that subsisted
between his Lordship and Mr. Wesley :
Dover-Street, Aug. 7, 1734.
" DEAR SIR,
" I am sorry and ashamed to say it, but
the truth must come out, that I have a letter of yours
dated June 8th, and this is August 7th; and I only
now set pen to paper to answer it.
" I am sure I was very glad to hear from you ; and
since that you are much mended in your health, change
of air will certainly be of great service to you, and I
hope you will use some other exercise than that of the
school. I hear you have had an increase of above forty
boys since you have been down there. I am very
glad for your sake that you are so well approved of.
I hope it will in every respect answer your expectation.
If your health be established, I make no doubt that all
parts will prove to your mind, which will be a great
pleasure to me.
" There is very little news stirring. They all agree
that the BISHOP of WINCHESTER is dying. They say
HOADLEY is to succeed him, and POTTER, Hoadley ; but
how farther I cannot tell ; nor does the town pretend to
know, which is a wonderful thing. I am very glad you
were induced to read over HUDIBRAS three times with
care, and I find you are perfectly of my mind that it
much wants notes, and that it will be a great work.
Certainly it would, to do it as it should be. I do not
know one so capable of doing it as yourself. I speak
this very sincerely. LILLY S life I have ; and any
books that I have you shall see, and have the perusal
208 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
of them, and any other part that I can assist. I own I
am very fond of the work, and it would be of excellent
use and entertainment.
" The news you read in the papers of a match with
my daughter, and the DUKE of PORTLAN D, was com
pleted at Mary-le-bone Chapel. I think there is the
greatest prospect of happiness to them both. I think
it must be mutual ; one part cannot be happy without
the other. There is a great harmony of tempers, a
liking to each other, which I think is a true founda
tion for happiness. Compliments from all here attend
I am, Sir, your most affectionate humble Servant,
It has been the opinion of several others, as well
as Lord Oxford, that the genius of Mr. Wesley, his
knowledge of the transactions of those times, and his
extreme aversion to the OLIVERIAN worthies, rendered
him the fittest person in the kingdom for a commentator
on HUDIBRAS ; and notwithstanding the industry and
abilities of DR. GREY, who is said to have had many of
his notes, it is lamented by some, that Mr. Samuel
Wesley did not undertake an edition of that work.
We, however, do not join in this regret, as it would not
have been to his credit, nor was it to that of the bigoted
Dr Grey, to libel so many of the best and greatest men
that England ever produced. We are far from justify
ing the fanaticism and enthusiasm of some of them;
but this does not warrant the treatment they have
received from BUTLER, and his commentators.
In a letter to his mother dated October 20, 1739,
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 209
Samuel writes, " When you were here, as I remember,
I was applied to for an account of my father s life and
writings, and of my own. I have since that had the
same request made to me for the same book, Wood s
Athcnse Oxoniensis, and whether I grow vainer than I
was then, or really am somewhat depraved in my in
tellect, I begin to think it not altogether so absurd as
I did at first. The person applying is an old clergy
man, who wants to know where and when my father was
born, where, when, and by whom admitted into holy
orders. I have sent him your epitaph, and promised
him to write to you who can inform him much fuller
than myself about my father. He wants my two
brothers histories also ; and as their actions have been
important enough to be committed to writing, they are
the fittest people alive to send information about them
selves, especially now, because it will prevent any mis
representation from others. They are now become
so notorious, the world will be curious to know when,
and where they were born, what schools bred at, of what
colleges in Oxford, when matriculated, what degrees
they took, and when, where, and by whom ordained ;
what books they have written or published. I wish
they may spare so much time as to vouchsafe a little of
their story. For my own part I had much rather have
them picking straws within the walls of Bedlam, than /
their preaching in the area of Moor Fields !"
In another letter to his brother John about this
time, he thus writes : " My mother tells me she fears
a formal schism is already begun among you, though
you and Charles are ignorant of it. For God s sake
take care of that, and banish extemporary expositions
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
and extemporary prayers. I have got your abridge
ment of HALIBURTON, and have sent for WATTS j* if it
please God to allow me life and strength, I shall, by his
help, demonstrate that the Scot as little deserves
preference to all Christians but our Saviour, as the hook
to all writings but those you mention. There are two
flagrant falsehoods in the very first chapter. But your
eyes are so fixed upon one point, that you overlook
every thing else. You overshoot, but Whitfield raves."
It will be recollected that Mr. Samuel Wesley was
in a bad state ofhealth before he left Westminster, and
his removal to Tiverton, where he had the charge of a
large school, did not much improve it. DR. CLARKE
was of opinion, that the occupation of a school-master
is as prejudicial to health as working in the bottom of
a coal-mine. Others, however, maintain the converse
of this. On the night of the 5th of November, 1739,
we are informed that he went to bed seemingly as well
as usual, but was taken ill about three o clock next
morning, and died at seven. The following letter to
Mr. Charles Wesley states this circumstance more
Tiverton, November \4th. 1739.
" DEAR SIR,
"Your brother, and my dear friend, (for
so you are sensible he was to me,) on Monday the 5th
of November, went to bed, as he thought, as well as
he had been for some time before. He was seized with
extreme illness about three o clock in the morning,
when your sister immediatly sent for Mr. Norman, and
* It is presumed that he here alludes to DR. VVATTs s excellent treatise
entitled "A Guide to Prayer," than which there are few better hooks.
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 21 1
ordered the servant to call me. Mr. Norman came,
and said that your brother could not get over it, but
would die in a few hours. He was not able to take any
thing, nor to speak to us, only yes and no to questions
asked him, and that did not last half an hour. I never
went from his bedside till he expired, which was about
seven in the morning. With a great deal of difficulty,
we persuaded your dear sister to leave the room before
he died. I trembled to think how she would bear it,
knowing the sincere love she had for him. But blessed
be God, he answered prayer on her behalf, and in a
great measure calmed her spirits, though she has not
yet been out of her chamber. Your brother was buried
on Monday last, in the afternoon ; and is gone to reap
the fruit of his labours. I pray to God we may imitate
him in all his virtues, and be prepared to follow.
On receiving this intelligence, Messrs. John and
Charles Wesley set off to visit and comfort their
widowed sister at Tiverton, which they reached on the
21st. And under this date, John makes the following
entry in his journal: " On Wednesday, 21st, (Novem
ber, 1739,) in the afternoon, we came to Tiverton.
My poor sister was sorrowing as one almost without
hope. Yet we could not but rejoice at hearing that
several days before my brother went hence, God had -
given him a full assurance of his interest in Christ.
O ! may every one who opposes it be thus convinced,
that this doctrine is of God."
It is said of Mr. Samuel Wesley, by those who
knew him well, that he possessed an open, benevolent
212 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
temper, and was so intent upon its cultivation, that the
number aud success of his good offices were astonishing,
even to his friends. He had a singular dexterity in
soliciting charity. His own little income was liberally
made use of; and as those to whom he applied, were
always confident of his discrimination and integrity, he
never wanted means to carry on his benevolent purposes.
A part of Mr. Samuel Wesley s character, of which
the world knew but little, was the brightest and most
worthy of imitation, to every son and every brother.
" I have/ says an eminent literary character, "in my
possession, a letter of the Rector of Epworlh, ad
dressed to his son Samuel, in which he gratefully
acknowledges his filial duty in terms so affecting, that
I am at a loss which to admire most, the gratitude of
the parent, or the affection and generosity of the child.
It was written when the good old man was nearly four
score, and so weakened by palsy, as to be incapable of
directing a pen, unless with his left hand. I preserve
it as a curious memorial of what will make Wesley
applauded when his wit is forgotten." " From the time
he became Usher in Westminster school," says DR.
CLARKE, " he divided his income with his parents and
family. Through him principally were his brothers
John and Charles maintained at the University; and
in all straits of the family, his purse was not only
opened, but emptied, if necessary. And all this was
done with so much affection and deep sense of duty,
that it took off, and almost prevented, the burthen of
gratitude, which otherwise must have been felt. These
acts of filial kindness were done so secretly, that
though they were very numerous, and extended through
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 213
many years, no note of them is to be found in his cor
respondence : his right hand never knew what his left
hand did." Those alone knew his bounty who were
its principal objects, and they were not permitted to
record it. Indirect hints we frequently find in the
letters of old Mr. and Mrs. Wesley, and sometimes in
those of his brothers; and those hints were all they
dared mention in their correspondence with a man, who
wished to forget every act of kindness he had done.
His brothers always spoke of him with the highest
reverence, respect, and affection. Among other acts
of charity we are informed, that the first Infirmary at
Westminster was much forwarded, both in design and
execution, by his industrious charity. DR. CLARKE
states that he can assert "on the best authority, that
such was the amiableness, benevolence, and excellence
of his public and private character, that during the
seven years he resided at Tivcrton, where he was well
known, he was almost idolized. His diligence and able
method of teaching in his school were so evident and
successful, that in the first year, upwards of forty boys
were added to it. And such confidence had the public
in him, that children were sent from all quarters to be
placed under his tuition. His memory was dear to all
who had the privilege of his acquaintance."
Mr. Samuel Wesley was a high churchman, and it
must be owned that he was extremely rigid in his prin
ciples, which is perhaps the greatest blemish in his
character. It has been said that he was prejudiced
against some of the most important truths of the gos
pel, because many of the Dissenters insisted upon
them. Mr. Wesley s strong objections to extempore
214 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
prayer is well known. In the duodecimo edition of his
poems, are the following lines, on forms of prayer,
which, for the sprightly turn of thought they contain,
we shall insert.
" Form stints the spirits WATTS has said,
And therefore oft is wrong ;
At best a crutch the weak to aid,
A cumbrance to the strong.
" Old David both in prayer and praise,
A form for crutches brings ;
But Watts has dignified his lays,
And furnished. him with wings.
" E n Watts a form for praise can choose,
For prayer, who throws it by;
Crutches to walk he can refuse,
But uses them to fly."
On the subject of extempore prayer DR. WHITE-
HEAD, in his life of Mr. Charles Wesley, has some
sensible remarks, which we shall quote. " A man
qualified to instruct others, will find many occasions
of prayer and praise, which will suggest matter adapted
to particular persons and circumstances. If he be a
man of tolerable good sense and some vigour of
thought, he will never want words to express the ideas
and feelings of his own mind. Such a person will
therefore often find a prescribed form of prayer to be a
restraint upon his own powers under circumstances
which become powerful incentives to an animated and
vigorous exercise of them, and by varying from the
words and matter now suggested by the occasion, it
will often throw a damp on the ardour of his soul.
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 215
We may observe likewise, that a form of prayer be
comes familiar by frequent repetitions, and according
to a well known principle in human nature, the more
familiar an object, or a form of words become, the less
effect they have on the mind, and the difficulty is
increased of fixing the attention sufficiently to feel the
full effect, which otherwise they would produce. Hence
it is that we find the most solemn forms of prayer,
in frequent use, are often repeated by rote, without the
the least attention to the meaning and importance of
the words, unless a person be under some affliction,
which disposes him to feel their application to himself.
Extempore prayer has therefore a great advantage over
set forms, in awakening and keeping up the attention
of an audience.
" Both Mr. John and Charles Wesley were greatly
censured by some persons, particularly by their brother
Samuel, when they began this practice. I cannot see
any cause for censure. The most sensible and mode
rate men have allowed, that a form of prayer may be
useful to some particular persons in private ; and that
it may be proper on some occasions in public worship.
But the most zealous advocates for forms of prayer are
not satisfied with this ; they wish to bind them upon
all persons as a universal rule of prayer in public wor
ship, from which we ought in no instance to depart.
This appears to me unjustifiable on any ground what
ever. To say that we shall not ask a favour of God,
nor return him thanks ; that we shall hold no inter
course with him in our public assemblies, but in a set
of words dictated to us by others, is an assumption of
power in sacred things which is not warranted either by
216 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
scripture or reason ; it seems altogether as improper
as to confine our intercourse with one another to pre
scribed forms of conversation. Were this restraint
imposed upon us we should immediately feel the hard
ship and see the impropriety of it; and the one appears
to me as ill adapted to edification and comfort, as the
other would be."
Mr. Wesley married a Miss BERRY, daughter of a
clergyman, the Vicar of What ton, in Norfolk.* Her
grandfather, JOHN BERRY, M. A., fellow of Exeter
College, Oxford, was presented to the rectory of East
Down, Devon, by the protector, Richard Cromwell,
in 1658; from which he was ejected in 1662, by the
"Act of Uniformity/ When ejected he had ten
children, and scarcely any thing for their subsistence ;
but God took care of them, and they afterwards lived
in comfortable circumstances. Mr. Berry continued to
* " We take this opportunity," says the Editor of the Wesleyan
Magazine, " of noticing an error into which DR. CLARKE in common with
others, has fallen, respecting the subject of a poem, by Mr. Samuel Wesley
Jun , entitled The Parish Priest . By a friend who has ascertained the
fact from authentic documents, we learn that this piece was not written
on his own father, but on his father-in-law the REV. JOHN BERRY. We
feel the greater pleasure in rectifying this error, not only because it relieves
the Rector of Epworth from the imputation of exercising an injudicious
hospitality, which, however laudable, was not sanctioned by his means, but
also because it rescues the character of his son from the severe charge of
asserting in behalf of his father a circumstance that was not true, a
delinquency for which no plea of filial piety and affection, amiable and
honourable as they are, could satisfactorily be offered, either in exculpation,
or excuse. " Mr. Samuel Wesley Sen., died in 1735, but this poem made its
appearance several years prior to that date. In the first volume of the
Gentleman s Magazine for November, 1731, page 504, it is found thus
advertised, No, 9, The Parish Priest, a Poem upon a clergyman lately
deceased. Price 6d. " This clergyman was the REV. JOHN BERRY, M.A.
Vicar of Whatton, in Norfolk, whose daughter was the wife of the REV.
SAMUEL WESLEY JUN. He died in 1730,after being forty years incumbent
of that living ; and to him belongs those particulars in the poem, which
truth and consistency will not allow to be applied to the Rector of Epworth.
SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN. 217
preach as he had an opportunity. Once, if not oftener,
he was cast into Exeter gaol for teaching and preach
ing. DR. CALAMY says that "he was advised by some
who would have borne the charges, to prosecute those
who committed him, for wrong imprisonment, but he
would not." Mr. Berry possessed good abilities for his
office, though they were much concealed by his modesty.
His preaching was very serious and affectionate. All
that knew him esteemed him as a very sincere Christian.
Whatever difficulties he met with, he maintained constant
communion with God in his providences, as well as
ordinances ; as appears by a diary he kept both of
public and private occurrences, respecting the state of
his own soul, his children, and friends their actions,
troubles, mercies, &c. The death of his friends,
and especially of ministers, were more particularly ob
served by him and piously reflected upon. He died
with great calmness and serenity of spirit, resigning
his soul into the hands of his Saviour, Dec. 1704, aged
about eighty. MR. BAXTER gives him the character
of " an extraordinary humble, tender-conscienced,
serious, godly, able minister." He was moderator of
of the Assembly at Exeter, Sept. 8, 1696.
Mr. Samuel Wesley was a most indulgent hus
band, and passionately fond of his wife. His sister,
Mrs. Hall, who knew Mrs. Wesley, spoke of her as one
who was well described in her husband s poetic tale,
called " The Pig."
" She made her little wisdom go,
Farther than miser women do."
They had several children, but only one daughter
reached woman s estate. She married an apothecary
218 SAMUEL WESLEY, JUN.
named Earle, in Barnstaple, whose chief motive in this
union appears to have been the expectation of succeed
ing to the title of Earl of Anglesey, which he imagined to
be nearly extinct, and only recoverable through his wife.
Mr. Wesley was interred in Tiverton church-yard,
where there is a monument erected to his memory,
on which is the following inscription :
The Remains of the REV. SAMUEL WESLEY, M. A.
Sometime student of Christ Church, Oxon.
A man for his uncommon wit and learning,
For the benevolence of his temper,
And simplicity of manners,
Deservedly beloved and esteemed by all.
An excellent Preacher,
Whose best sermon
Was the constant example of an edifying life :
So continually and zealously employed
In acts of beneficence and charity,
That he truly followed
His blessed Master s example,
In going about doing good :
Of such scrupulous integrity,
That he declined occasions of advancement in the world
Through fear of being involved in dangerous compliances,
And avoided the usual ways to preferment
As studiously as many others seek them.
Therefore, after a life spent
In the laborious employment of teaching youth,
First for nearly twenty years,
As one of the Ushers in Westminster school ;
Afterwards for seven years
As Head Master of the Free School at Tiverton,
He resigned his soul to God,
November 6, 1739, in the 49th year of his age.
THE RECTOR OF EPWORTH S DAUGHTERS.
MISS EMILIA WESLEY. MARRIES MR. HARPER. HER LET
TER TO HER BROTHER JOHN. HER CHARACTER BY MRS. WRIGHT.
HER DEATH. MISS MARY WESLEY. MARRIES MR.
WHITELAMB. HER CHARACTER AND EPITAPH BY MKS. WRIGHT.
MISS ANNE WESLEY. MARRIES MR. LAMBERT. VERSES
ON HER MARRIAGE, BY HER BROTHER SAMUEL. MISS SU
SANNA WESLEY. MARRIES MR. ELLISON. THIS UNION
PROVES UNHAPPY. ACCOUNT OF THEIR CHILDREN. MR. JOHN
WESLEY, BAPTIZED BY THE NAME OF JOHN BENJAMIN WESLEY.
MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY. MARRIES MR. WRIGHT.
POSSESSES A FINE POETIC TALENT. HER MARRIAGE UNHAPPY.
ADDRESSES SOME LINES TO HER HUSBAND. ALSO TO HER DYING
INFANT, &C. HER DEATH. MISS MARTHA WESLEY. A
FAVOURITE WITH HER MOTHER. MARRIES MR. HALL, WHO ALSO
ADDRESSES HER SISTER KEZZIA. CHARLES WESLEY S SEVERE
VERSES TO MARTHA. DR. CLARKE S VINDICATION OF MRS. HALL.
MR. JOHN WESLEY S OPINION OF HALL. HIS LICENTIOUS
CONDUCT. MRS. HALL S BEHAVIOUR UNDER THIS AFFLICTION.
HER ACQUAINTANCE WITH DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON. HER DEATH.
MR. CHARLES WESLEY. AN ANECDOTE RESPECTING HIM. MISS
KEZZIA WESLEY. HER LETTER TO HER BROTHER JOHN.
MISS EMILIA WESLEY, afterwards MRS.
HARPER, appears to have been the eldest of the seven
surviving daughters of the Rector of Epworth. She
is reported to have been the favourite of her mother,
(though some accounts state this of Patty,} and to
have had good strong sense, much wit, a prodigious
memory, and a talent for poetry. She was a good
classical scholar, and wrote a beautiful hand. She
married an apothecary at Epworth, of the name of
220 MISS EMILIA WESLEY.
Harper, who left her a young widow. What proportion
the intellect of Mr. Harper bore to that of his wife, we
know not : but in politics they were ill suited, as he
was a violent WHIG, and she an unbending- TORY.
It appears from the education given to Miss
Emilia, and some of her other sisters, that their pa
rents designed them for governesses. About the year
1730 Emilia became a teacher at the boarding school
of a Mrs. Taylor, in Lincoln, where, though she had
the whole care of the school, she was not well-used,
and worse paid. Having borne this usage as long as
reason would dictate forbearance, she laid the case be
fore her brothers, with a resolution to begin a school
on her own account at Gainsborough. She had their
approbation, gave Mrs. Taylor warning, and went to
Gainsborough, where she continued at least till 1735,
as she was there at the time of her father s death.
With her MRS. WESLEY, appears to have sojourned
awhile, before she went to live with her sons John and
Charles ; where, free from cares and worldly anxieties,
with which she had long been unavoidably encumbered,
she spent the evening of her life in comparative ease
and comfort. We learn several particulars respecting
Mrs. Harper from a letter she wrote to her brother
John, when she had resolved upon going to Gainsbro*.
" DEAR BROTHER,
" Your last letter comforted and settled my
mind wonderfully. O ! continue to talk to me of the
reasonableness of resignation to the Divine Will, to
enable me to bear cheerfully the ills of life, the lot
appointed me ; and never to suffer grief so far to prevail,
MISS EMILIA WESLEY. 221
as to injure my health, or long to cloud the natural
cheerfulness of my temper. I had writ long since, but
had a mind to see first how my small affairs would be
settled ; and now can assure you that at Lady-day I
leave Lincoln certainly. You were of opinion that my
leaving MRS. TAYLOR would not only prove prejudicial
to her affairs, (and so far all the town agrees with you)
but would be a great affliction to her. I own I thought
so too : but we both were a little mistaken. She re
ceived the news of my going with an indifference I did
not expect. Never was such a teacher, as I may justly
say I have been, so foolishly lost, or so unnecessarily
disobliged. Had she paid my last year s wages but
the day before Martinmas, I still had staid : instead of
of that, she has received 129 within these three
months, and yet never would spare one six or seven
pounds for me, which I am sure no teacher will ever
bear. She fancies I never knew of any money she
received ; when, alas ! she can never have one five
pounds, but I know of it. I have so satisfied brother
Sam, that he wishes me good success at Gainsborough,
and says he can no longer oppose my resolution;
which pleases me much, for I would gladly live civilly
with him, and friendly with you.
" I have a fairer prospect at Gainsborough than
I could have hoped for; my greatest difficulty will be
want of money at my first entrance. I shall furnish my
school with canvass, worsted, silks, &c. though I am
much afraid of being dipt in debt at first: but God s
will be done. Troubles of that kind are what I have
been used to. Will you lend me the other 3 which
you designed for me at Lady-day ; it would help me
222 MISS EMILIA WESLEY.
much : you will if you can I am sure, for so would I
do by you. I am half starved with cold, which hinders
me from writing longer. Emery is no better. Mrs.
Taylor and Kitty give their service. Pray send soon
to me. Kez is gone home for good and all. I am
knitting brother Charles a fine purse ; give my love
I am, dear brother,
Your loving sister and constant friend,
Mrs. Harper is represented as a fine woman ; of a
noble yet affable countenance, and of a kind and af
fectionate disposition, as appears by the following poem
addressed to her by her sister, Mrs. Wright, before her
" My fortunes often bid me flee
So light a thing as Poetry :
But stronger inclination draws,
To follow Wit and Nature s laws.
Virtue, form, and wit in thee
Move in perfect harmony :
For thee my tuneful voice I raise,
For thee compose my softest lays;
My youthful muse shall take her flight,
And crown thy beauteous head with radiant beams of light.
True wit and sprightly genius shine
In every turn, in every line :
To these, O skilful nine annex
The native sweetness of my sex ;
And that peculiar talent let me shew
Which Providence divine doth oft bestow
On spirits that are high, with fortunes that are low.
MISS EMILIA WESLEY. 223
Thy virtues and thy graces all,
How simple, free, arid natural !
Thy graceful form with pleasure I survey ;
It charms the eye, the heart, away.
Malicious fortune did repine,
To grant her gifts to worth like thine !
To all thy outward majesty and grace,
To all the blooming features of thy face,
To all the heavenly sweetness of tby mind,
A noble, generous, equal soul is joined,
By reason polished, and by arts refined.
Thy even steady eye can see
Dame fortune smile, or frown, at thee ;
At every varied change can say, it moves not me !
Fortune has fixed thee in a place*
Debarred of wisdom, wit, and grace.
High births and virtue equally they scorn,
As asses dull, on dunghills born :
Impervious as the stones, their heads are found;
Their rage and hatred stedfast as the ground.
With these unpolished wights thy youthful days
Glide slow and dull, and nature s lamp decays :
Oh ! what a lamp is hid, midst such a sordid race I
But tho thy brilliant virtues are obscured,
And in a noxious irksome den immur d;
My numbers shall thy trophies rear,
And lovely as she is, my Emily appear.
Still thy transcendent praise I will rehearse,
And form this faint description into verse ;
And when the poet s head lies low in clay,
Thy name shall shine in worlds which never can decay.
* Wroote is the place to which Mrs. Wright alludes. It is situated in
the Low Levels of Lincolnshire, and at that time was a very rode district.
224 MISS MARY WESLEY.
Mrs. Harper was left without property : but in her
widowhood for many years, she was maintained entirely
by her brothers, and lived at the preachers house ad
joining the chapel, in West Street, Seven Dials, Lon
don. She terminated her earthly existence at a very
advanced age, about the year 1772. That her mind
was highly cultivated, and her taste exquisite, appears
from the following assertion of her brother John :
" My sister Harper was the best reader of Milton I
MISS MARY WESLEY, afterwards MRS. WHITE-
LAMB, was the second of the grown-up daughters of the
Rector of Epworth. Through affliction, and probably
some mismanagement in her nurse, she became con
siderably deformed in body : and her growth in con
sequence was much stinted, and her health injured;
but all written and oral testimony concur in the state
ment, that her face was exquisitely beautiful, and was
a fair and legible index to her mind. Her humble,
obliging, and even disposition, made her the favourite
and delight of the whole family. Her brothers, John
and Charles, frequently spoke of her with the most
tender respect; and her sister, Mrs. Wright, (no mean
judge of character,) mentions her as one of the most
exalted of human characters. She married, with the
approbation of the family, MR. JOHN WHITELAMB. He
was the son of parents at that time in very low circum
stances, and was put to a charity school at Wroote.
He suffered many privations in order to acquire a suffi
ciency of learning to pass through the University and
MISS MA11Y WESLEY. 225
obtain orders. It is in reference to this, that Mrs.
Wesley calls him "poor starveling Johnny." So low
were his circumstances that he could not purchase
himself a gown when ordained. Mr. John Wesley,
writing to his brother Samuel in 1732, says, "JoHN
WHITELAMB wants a gown much : I am not rich enough
to buy him one at present. If you are willing my
twenty shillings should go towards that, I will add ten
more to make up the price of a new one." In every
respect, the Wesleys divided with him, according to
their power : and by his humble and upright conduct
in the early part of his life, he repaid their kindness.
When he got orders, Mr. Wesley made him his curate
in Wroote; and having engaged Miss Mary s affections,
they were married, arid Mr. Wesley gave up to him the
living at Wroote. His wife died in childbed of her first
child. From the following lines composed by her
sister Wright, we learn that Mrs. Whitelamb was a
steady and affectionate friend, deeply devoted to God,
full of humility, and diligent in all the duties of life.
But she was a Wesley : and in that family excellencies
of all kinds were to be found ; and the female part was
as conspicuous as the male, if not more so.
TO THE MEMORY OF MRS. WHITELAMB.
"If blissful spirits condescend to know,
And hover round what once they loved below ;
Maria ! gentlest excellence ! attend
To her, who glories to have called thee friend !
Remote in merit, tho allied in blood,
Unworthy I, and thou divinely good!
226 MISS MARY WESLEY.
Accept, blest shade, from me these artless lays,
Who never could unjustly blame, or praise.
How thy economy and sense outweighed
The finest wit in utmost pomp display d,
Let others sing, while I attempt to paint
The godlike virtues of the friend and saint.
With business and devotion never cloy d,
No moment of thy life pass d unemployed;
Well-natured mirth, matured discretion joined,
Constant attendants of the virtuous mind.
From earliest dawn of youth, in thee well known,
The saint sublime and finished Christian shone.
Yet would not grace one grain of pride allow,
Or cry, stand off, I m holier than thou.
A worth so singular since time began,
But once surpassed, and He was more than man,
When deep immers d in griefs beyond redress,
And friends and kindred heightened my distress,
And with relentless efforts made me prove
Pain, grief, despair, and wedlock without love ;
My soft MARIA could alone dissent,
O erlook d the fatal vow, and mourn d the punishment !
Condoled the ill, admitting no relief,
With such infinitude of pitying grief,
That all who could not my demerit see,
Mistook her wond rous love for worth in me;
No toil, reproach, or sickness could divide
The tender mourner from her Stella s side ;
My fierce inquietude, and madd ning care,
Skilful to soothe, or resolute to share !
Ah me ! that heaven has from this bosom tore
My angel friend, to meet on earth no more ;
That this indulgent spirit soars away,
Leaves but a still insentient mass of clay ;
MISS MARY WESLEY.
E er Stella could discharge the smallest part
Of all she owed to such immense desert ;
Or could repay with ought but feeble praise
The sole companion of her joyless days!
Nor was thy form unfair, tho heaven confined
To scanty limits thy exalted mind.
Witness thy brow serene, benignant, clear,
That none could doubt transcendent truth dwelt there ;
Witness the taintless whiteness of thy skin,
Pure emblem of the purer soul within :
That soul, which tender, unassuming, mild,
Through jetty eyes with tranquil sweetness smil d.
But ah ! could fancy paint, or language speak,
The roseate beauties of thy lip or cheek,
Where Nature s pencil, leaving art no room,
Touch d to a miracle the vernal bloom.
(Lost though thou art) in Stella s deathless line,
Thy face immortal as thy fame should shine.
To soundest prudence (life s unerring guide)
To love sincere, religion without pride :
To friendship perfect in a female mind
Which I nor hope, nor wish, on earth to find :
To mirth (the balm of care) from lightness free,
Unblemish d faith, unwearied industry.
To every charm and grace combin d in you,
Sister, and friend! a long, a last adieu !"
Her sister, Mrs. Wright, also wrote for her the
following Epitaph :
" If highest worth, in beauty s bloom,
Exempted mortals from the tomb ;
We had not round this sacred bier
Mourned the sweet babe and mother here,
228 MISS MARY WESLEY.
Where innocence from harm is blest,
And the meek sufferer is at rest !
Fierce pangs she bore without complaint,
Till heaven relieved the finished saint.
If savage bosoms felt her woe,
(Who lived and died without a foe,)
How should I mourn, or how commend,
My tenderest, dearest, firmest friend?
Most pious, meek, resign d, and chaste,
With every social virtue graced !
If, reader, thou would st prove and know,
The ease she found not here below ;
Her bright example points the way
To perfect bliss and endless day."
As for the husband of Mrs. Whitelamb, it appears
that he afterwards became rather infidel in sentiment,
and disorderly in his conduct. When Mr. John Wesley
visited Epworth in 1742, and preached on his father s
tombstone, having been refused the church, Mr. White-
lamb was in the congregation, and a few days afterwards
sent him the following letter :
" DEAR BROTHER,
" I saw you at Epworth on Tuesday
evening. Fain would I have spoken so you, but that I
am quite at a loss to know how to address or behave.
" Your way of thinking is so extraordinary, that your
presence creates an awe, as if you were an inhabitant
of another world. God grant you and your followers
may always have entire liberty of conscience. Will not
you allow others the same ?
" Indeed I cannot think as you do, any more than
MISS ANNE WESLEY. 229
I cannot help honouring and loving you. Dear Sir, will
you credit me ? I retain the highest veneration and
affection for you. The sight of you moves me strangely.
My heart overflows with gratitude : I feel in a higher
degree all that tenderness and yearning of bowels with
which I am affected towards every branch of Mr.
Wesley s family. I cannot refrain from tears when I
reflect, this is the man, who at Oxford was more than
a father to me ; this is he whom I have heard expound,
or dispute publicly, or preach at St. Mary s, with such
applause ; and, O that I should ever add, whom I have
lately heard preach on his father s tombstone at
" I am quite forgot by the family. None of them
ever honour me with a line! Have I been ungrateful ?
I appeal to sister Patty, I appeal to MR. ELLISON, whe
ther I have or not. I have been passionate, fickle, a
fool ; but I hope I shall never be ungrateful. Dear
Sir, is it in my power to serve or oblige you any way ?
Glad I should be that you would make use of me. God
open all our eyes, and lead us into truth wherever it be !
The Whitelamb family have since become very
respectable in Lincolnshire, and especially at Wroote,
where one of them succeeded to the pastoral charge in
that parish, and was remarkable for his various learn
ing, especially for his great skill in mathematics.
MISS ANNE WESLEY, afterwards MRS. LAM
BERT, was married to a gentleman of the name of
John Lambert, a land-surveyor in Epworth, of whom
and their children, if they had any, we know nothing.
230 MISS ANNE WESLEY.
Mr. and Mrs. Lambert are probably the persons meant
by Mr. John Wesley in his Journal, under date Tuesday,
June 8th, 1742, where he says : " I walked to Hibald-
stone, about ten miles from Epworth, to see my brother
and sister;" but he mentions no name. On Mrs.
Lambert s marriage, her brother Samuel presented to
her the following verses :
" No fiction fine shall guide my band,
But artless truth the verse supply ;
Which all with ease may understand,
But none be able to deny.
Nor, sister, take the care amiss
Which I, in giving rules, employ
To point the likeliest way to bliss,
To cause, as well as wish, you joy.
Let love your reason never blind,
To dream of paradise below;
For sorrows must attend mankind,
And pain, and weariness, and woe !
Though still from mutual love, relief
In all conditions may be found,
It cures at once the common grief,
And softens the severest wound.
Through diligence, and well-earned gain,
In growing plenty may you live !
And each in piety obtain
Repose that riches cannot give !
If children ere should bless the bed,
O ! rather let them infants die,
Than live to grieve the hoary head,
And make the aged father sigh !
MISS SUSANNA WESLEY. 231
Still duteous, let them ne er conspire
To make their parents disagree ;
No son be rival to his sire,
No daughter more beloved than thee !
Let them be humble, pious, wise,
Nor higher station wish to know ;
Since only those deserve to rise,
Who live contented to be low.
Firm let the husband s empire stand,
With easy but unquestioned sway;
May HE have kindness to command,
And THOU the bravery to obey!
Long may he give thee comfort, long
As the frail knot of life shall hold !
More than a father when thou rt young,
More than a son when waxing old.
The greatest earthly pleasure try,
Allowed by Providence divine ;
Be still a husband, blest as I,
And thou a wife as good as mine !
There is much good sense and suitable advice in
these verses; and they give an additional testimony to
the domestic happiness of their author. " I wish,"
says DR. CLARKE, " they were in the hands of every
newly married couple in the kingdom."
MISS SUSANNA WESLEY, afterwards MRS.
ELLISON, was born about the year 1701. She is re
ported to have been good-natured, very facetious, but
a little romantic. She married Richard Ellison, Esq.
a gentleman of good family, who had a respectable*^
232 MISS SUSANNA WESLEY.
establishment. But though she bore him several chil
dren, the marriage, like some others in the Wesley
family, was not a happy one. She possessed a mind
naturally strong, which was much improved by a good
education. His mind was common, coarse, unculti
vated, and too much inclined to despotic sway, which
prevented conjugal happiness. Unfitness of minds more
than circumstances, is what in general mars the marriage
union. Where minds are united, means of happiness
and contentment are ever within reach.
What little domestic happiness they had, was not
only interrupted, but finally destroyed, by afire which
took place in their dwelling-house. What the cause of
this fire was, is not known : but after it took place,
Mrs. Ellison would never again live with her husband !
She went to London, and hid herself among some of
her children, who were established there, and received
also considerable helps from her brother John, who,
after the death of his brother Samuel, became the com
mon almoner of the family. Mr. Ellison used many
means to get his wife to return ; but she utterly refused
either to see him, or to have any further intercourse
with him. As he knew her affectionate disposition, in
order to bring her down into the country, he advertised
an account of his death ! When this met her eye, she
immediately set off for Lincolnshire, to pay the last
tribute of respect to his remains : but when she found
him still alive and well, she returned, and no persuasion
could induce her to live with him. It does not appear
that she communicated to any person the cause of her
aversion ; and after this lapse of time it is in vain to
pursue it by conjecture.
MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY. 233
She had several children : of four of them we have
the following brief account :
JOHN ELLISON, who lived and died at Bristol.
ANN ELLISON, married Mr. Pierre Lievre, a French
protestant refugee. She left one son, Peter Lievre,
who was educated at Kingswood School, near Bristol.
He took orders in the church of England, and died at
his living of Lutterworth, in Leicestershire.
DEBORAH ELLISON, married another French refu
gee, Mr. Pierre Collet, father of Mrs. Biam, and of the
Collets now or lately alive. Both Lievre and Collet
were silk weavers.
RICHARD ANNESLEY ELLISON, who died at twenty
seven. He left two orphan daughters, of whom Mrs.
Voysey is one, " an excellent, warm-hearted Christian/
says DR. CLARKE, " and the wife of a pious dissenting
minister. This excellent couple had four children,
one a surgeon in the East Indies, another an architect,
and two daughters."
MR. JOHN WESLEY,* (whose name only is intro
duced here in the connected order of the family,) was
born at Epworth on the 17th of June, 1703, and died
in London, March 2nd, 1791, in the 88th year of his
age, and 65th of his ministry.
MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY, afterwards
Mrs. Wright, (called also Hetty, and, by her brother
*MR. JONATHAN GROWTH EH in his * Portraiture of M ethodismj states
that he has heard Mr. Wesley say he " was baptized by the name of JOHN
BENJAMIN; that his mother had buried two sons, one called John, and
the other Benjamin, and that she united their names in him." But he never
made use of the second name.
234 MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY.
Samuel, sometimes Kilty,} gave, from infancy, such
proofs of strong mental powers, as led her parents to
cultivate them with the utmost care. These exertions
were crowned with success; for at the early age of
eight years, she made such proficiency in the learned
languages, that she could read the Greek text. She
appears to have been the most eminently gifted of the
female branches of the Wesley family. She had a fine
talent for poetry, and availed herself of the rich, sweet
and pensive warblings of her lyre, to soothe her spirit
under the pressure of deep and accumulated calamity.
At the tale of her afflictions every feeling heart must
sigh. Religion was the balm which allayed her an
guish ; and the sorrows of the moment, now enhance
her eternal joy. From her childhood she was gay and
sprightly ; full of mirth, good humour, and keen wit.
She appears to have had many suitors ; but they were
generally of the thoughtless class, and ill-suited to make
her either happy, or useful, in a matrimonial life.
To some of those proposed matches, in early life,
the following lines allude, which were found in her
father s hand-writing, and marked by Mr. John Wesley
" Hetty s letter to her Mother."
" You were once in the ew n,
As by us cakes is plainly shewn,
Who else had ne er come after.
Pray speak a word in time of need,
And with my sour-look d father plead
For your distressed daughter."
In the spring freshness of youth and hope, her
affections were engaged by one who, in point of abilities
MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY. 235
and situation, might have been a suitable husband ;
some circumstances, however, caused a disagreement
with her father. This interference did not move Hetty.
She refused to give her lover up ; and had he been
faithful to her, the connexion, in all probability, would
have issued in marriage ; but, whether he was offended
with the opposition he met with, or it proceeded from
fickleness, is not known. He, however, remitted his
assiduities, and at last abandoned a woman who tcould
have been an honour to the first man in the land. The
matter thus terminating, Hetty committed a fatal error,
which many women have done in their just, but blind
resentment, she married the first person who offered.
This was a man of the name of Wright, in no desirable
rank in life, of coarse mind and manners, inferior to
herself in education and intellect, and every way un
worthy of a woman, whose equal in all things it Mould
have been difficult to find ; for her person was more
than commonly pleasing, her disposition gentle and
affectionate, her principles those which arm the heart
either for prosperous or adverse fortune, her talents
remarkable, and her attainments beyond what are or
dinarily permitted to women, even those who are the
most highly educated. Duty in her had produced so
much affection towards the miserable creature whom
she had made her husband, that the brutal profligacy
of his conduct almost broke her heart. He did not
know the value of the woman he had espoused ! He
associated with low, dissolute company, spent his even
ings from home, and became a confirmed drunkard.
This marriage is supposed to have taken place at the
end of the year 1725. Mary, of all her sisters, had
236 MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY.
the courage to counsel her not to marry him. To this
she alludes in her fine lines addressed to the memory
of MRS. WHITELAMB.
" When deep immersed in griefs beyond redress,
And friends and kindred heightened my distress ;
And by relentless efforts made me prove
Pain, grief, despair, and wedlock without love ;
My soft MARIA could alone dissent,
O erlook d the fatal vow, and mourned the punishment."
A perplexed and thorny path appears to have been
the general lot of the sensible and pious daughters of
the Rector of Epvvorth. They were for the most part
unsuitably, and therefore unhappily, married. At a
time when Mrs. Wright believed and hoped that she
should soon be at peace in the grave, she composed
this Epitaph for herself:
" Destined while living to sustain,
An equal share of grief and pain ;
All various ills of human race
Within this breast had once a place.
Without complaint, she learn d to bear,
A living death, a long despair;
Till hard oppressed by adverse fate,
O ercharged, she sunk beneath the weight ;
And to this peaceful tomb retired,
So much esteem d, so long desired.
The painful mortal conflict s o er;
A broken heart can bleed no more."
From that illness, however, she recovered, so far
as to linger on for many years, living to find in religion
the consolation she needed, and which nothing else can
bestow. That she was almost compelled by her father
MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY. 237
to marry Wright, appears evident from the following
July 3, 1729.
" HONOURED SIR,
" Though I was glad on any terms, of the
favour of a line from you ; yet I was concerned at your
displeasure on account of the unfortunate paragraph,
which you are pleased to say was meant for the flower
of my letter, but which was in reality the only thing I
disliked in it before it went. I wish it had not gone,
since I perceive it gave you some uneasiness.
" But since what I said occasioned some queries,
which I should be glad to speak freely about, were I
sure that the least I could say would not grieve or offend
you, or were I so happy as to think like you in every
thing ; I earnestly beg that the little I shall say may not
be offensive to you, since 1 promise to be as little witty
as possible, though I can t help saying, you only accuse
me of being too much so ; especially these late years
past I have been pretty free from that scandal.
" You ask me < what hurt matrimony has done
me ? and whether I had always so frightful an idea of
it as I have now ? Home questions indeed ! and I
once more beg of you not to be offended at the least I
can say to them, if I say any thing.
" I had not always such notions of wedlock as now :
but thought where there was a mutual affection and de
sire of pleasing, something near an equality of mind
and person; either earthly or heavenly wisdom, and any
thing to keep love warm between a young couple, there
was a possibility of happiness in a married state : but
238 MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY.
where all, or most of these, are wanting, I ever thought
people could not marry without sinning against God
and themselves. I could say much more : but would
rather eternally stifle my sentiments than have the
torment of thinking they agree not with yours. You
are so good to my spouse and me, as to say, you
shall always think yourself obliged to him for his
civilities to me. I hope he will always continue to use
me better than I merit from him in one respect.
" I think exactly the same of my marriage as I did
before it happened : but though I would have given at
least one of my eyes for the liberty of throwing myself
at your feet before I was married at all ; yet since it is
past, and matrimonial grievances are usually irre
parable, I hope you will condescend to be so far of my
opinion, as to own, that since upon some accounts I
am happier than I deserve, it is best to say little of things
quite past remedy ; and endeavour, as I really do, to
make myself more and more contented, though things
may not be to my wish.
" You say; you will answer this if you like it/
Now though I am sorry to occasion your writing in the
pain I am sensible you do ; yet I must desire you to
answer it, whether you like it or not, since if you are
displeased, I would willingly know it ; and the only
thing that could make me patient to endure your dis
pleasure is, your thinking I deserve it.
"Though I can t justify my late indiscreet letter
which makes me say so much in this ; yet I need not
remind you that I am not more than human ; and if the
calamities of life (of which perhaps I have my share,)
sometimes wring a complaint from me, I need tell no
MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY. 239
one, that though / bear, I must feel them. And if you
cannot forgive what I have said, I sincerely promise
never more to offend you by saying too much, which
(with begging your blessing) is all from,
Your most obedient daughter,
The following address to her husband will give us
some notion of his character, and shew us the true
cause of her wretchedness.
The ardent lover cannot find
A coldness in his fair unkind,
But blaming what he cannot hate,
He mildly chides the dear ingrate ;
And though despairing of relief,
In soft complaining vents his grief.
Then what should hinder but that I,
Impatient of my wrongs, may try,
By saddest, softest strains, to move
My wedded, latest, dearest love.
To throw his cold neglect aside,
And cheer once more his injured bride ?
O thou whom sacred rites design d
My guide, and husband ever kind,
My sovereign master, best of friends,
On whom my earthly bliss depends ;
If e er thou didst in Hetty see
Ought fair, or good, or dear to thee,
If gentle speech can ever move
The cold remains of former love,
Turn thee at last my bosom ease,
Or tell me why I cease to please.
240 MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY.
Is it because revolving years,
Heart-breaking sighs, and fruitless tears,
Have quite deprived this form of mine
Of all that once thou fanciedst fine?
Ah no ! what once allured thy sight
Is still in its meridian height.
These eyes their usual lustre show,
When uneclipsed by flowing woe.
Old age and wrinkles in this face
As yet could never find a place ;
A youthful grace informs these lines,
Where still the purple current shines ;
Unless by thy ungentle art,
It flies to aid my wretched heart :
Nor does this slighted bosom show
The thousand hours it spends in woe.
Or is it that, oppressed with care,
I stun with loud complaints thine ear?
And make thy home, for quiet meant,
The seat of noise and discontent?
Ah no ! these ears were ever free
From matrimonial melody:
For though thine absence I lament
When half the lonely night is spent,
Yet when the watch, or early morn
Has brought me hopes of thy return,
I oft have wiped these watchful eyes,
Concealed my cares, and curbed my sighs,
In spite of grief, to let thee see
I wore an endless smile for thee.
Had I not practis d every art
T oblige, divert, and cheer thy heart,
To make me pleasing in thine eyes,
And turn thy house to paradise ;
MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY. 241
I Lad not ask d why dost thou shun
These faithful arms, and eager run
To some obscure, unclean retreat,
With fiends incarnate glad to meet,
The vile companions of thy mirth,
The scum and refuse of the earth ;
Who, when inspired by beer, can grin
At witless oaths and jests obscene,
Till the most learned of the throng
Begins a tale of ten hours long ;
While thou in raptures, with stretched jaws,
Crownest each joke with loud applause ?
Deprived of freedom, health, and ease,
And rivall d by such things as these ;
This latest effort will I try,
Or to regain thy heart, or die.
Soft as I am, I ll make thee see
I will not brook contempt from thee !
Then quit the shuffling doubtful sense,
Nor hold me longer in suspense ;
Unkind, ungrateful, as thou art,
Say, must I ne er regain thy heart?
Must all attempts to please thee prove
Unable to regain thy love ?
If so, by truth itself I swear,
The sad reverse I cannot bear :
No rest, no pleasure, will I see ;
My whole of bliss is lost with thee !
I ll give all thoughts of patience o er ;
(A gift I never lost before ;)
Indulge at once my rage and grief,
Mourn obstinate, disdain relief,
242 MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY.
And call that wretch my mortal foe,
Who tries to mitigate my woe ;
Till life, on terms severe as these,
Shall, ebbing, leave my heart at ease ;
To thee thy liberty restore
To laugh when Hetty is no more.
It is not likely that these lines produced any good
effect on the untutored mind of Wright. He had an
establishment in Frith Street, Soho, London, where he
carried on the business of plumbing and glazing, and
had lead works connected with it. His employment
greatly injured his own health, and materially affected
that of Mrs. Wright. They had several children, all
of whom died young ; and it was their mother s opinion
that the effluvia from the lead-works was the cause of
We extract the following from a MSS. letter of
MR. WILLIAM BUNCOMBE, to MRS. ELIZABETH CARTER,
inserted in " Brydges Censura Literaria," Vol. VII.
p. 227. It speaks better of Wright than he deserved.
" You desire some account of MRS. WRIGHT. She
was sister to Samuel, John, and Charles Wesley. The
first was an Usher at Westminster, and died master of
Tiverton School in Devonshire. John and Charles are
eminent preachers among the Methodists. Her father
was a clergyman, and author of a poem called The
Life of Christ. It is a pious book, but bears no
character as a Poem. But we have a volume of poems
by Samuel Wesley, jun. which are ingenious and en
tertaining. He had an excellent knack of telling a
tale in verse. I suppose you must have seen them.
" Mr. Highmore, who knew Mrs. Wright when
MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY. 243
young, told me that she was very handsome. When I
saw her she was in a languishing way, and had no re
mains of beauty, except a lively piercing eye. She
was very unfortunate, as you will find by her poems,
which are written with great delicacy ; but so tender
and affecting, they can scarcely be read without tears.
She had an uncle, a surgeon, with whom she was a
favourite. In her bloom, he used to take her with him
to Bath, Tunbridge, &c. ; and she has done justice to
his memory in an excellent poem.
" Mr. Wright, her husband, is my plumber, and
lives in this street; an honest, laborious man, but by
no means a fit husband for such a woman. He was but
a journeyman when she married him ; but set up with the
fortune left her by her uncle. Mrs. Wright has been dead
about two years. On my asking if she had any child
living, she replied, I have had several, but the white
lead killed them all ! She had just come from Bristol
and was very weak. How, madam, said I, could
you bear the fatigue of so long a journey ? We had
a coach of our own/ said she, and took short stages ;
besides, I had the King with me ! The king ; I sup
pose you mean a person whose name is King/ No ;
I mean my brother, the King of the Methodists ! This
looked like a piece of lunacy.
" She told me that she had long ardently wished
for death; and the rather/ said she, because we, the
methodists, always die in transports of joy ! I am
told that she wrote some hymns for the methodists, but
have not seen any of them.
" It affected me to view the ruin of so fine a frame ;
so I made her only three or four visits. Mr. Wright
244 MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY.
told me she had burned many poems, and given some
to a beloved sister, which he could never recover.
As many as he could procure, he gave me. I will send
them to you speedily.
" I went one day with Wright to hear Mr.
Charles Wesley preach. I find his business is only
with the heart and affections. As to the understanding,
that must shift for itself. Most of our clergy are in the
contrary extreme, and apply themselves only to the
head. To be sure they take us all for stoics ; and
think, that, like a young lady of your acquaintance,
we have no passions.
20th Nov. 1752. W. BUNCOMBE."
The following beautiful lines by Mrs. Wright,
seem to have been a mere extempore effusion, poured
out from the fulness of her heart on the occasion, and
sharpened with the keen anguish of distress.
A Mother s Address to her dying Infant.
Tender softness ! infant mild !
Perfect, purest, brightest child 1 !
Transient lustre ! beauteous clay 1
Smiling wonder of a day!
Ere the last convulsive start
Rends thy unresisting heart ;
Ere the long enduring swoon
Weigh thy precious eyelids down ;
Ah ! regard a mother s moan,
Anguish deeper than thy own.
Fairest eyes, whose dawning light
Late with rapture blest my sight,
Ere yonr orbs extinguish d be,
Bend their trembling beams on me !
MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY. 245
Drooping sweetness ! verdant flower !
Blooming, withering in an hour !
Ere thy gentle breast sustains
Latest, fiercest, mortal pains,
Here a suppliant ! let me be
Partner in thy destiny !
That whene er the fatal cloud
Must thy radiant temples shroud ;
When deadly damps, impending now,
Shall hover round thy destined brow,
Diffusive may their influence be,
And with the blossom blast the tree !
This was composed during her confinement, and
written from her mouth by her husband, who sent it to
MR. JOHN WESLEY. The original letter sent with these
verses was in DR. CLARKE S possession, who says,
" it is a curiosity of its kind ; and one proof amongst
many, of the total unfitness of such a slender, and un
cultivated mind, to match with one of the highest or
naments of her sex. I shall give it entire in its own
orthography, in order to vindicate the complaints of
this forlorn woman, who was forced to accept in mar
riage the rude hand which wrote it. It is like the
ancient Hebrew, all without points."
" To the Revd. Mr. John Wesley Fellow in Christ
Church College Oxon.
" DEAR BRO :
" This comes to Let you know that my
wife is brought to bed and is in a hopefull way of
Doing well but the Dear child Died the Third day
after it was born which has been of great concerne to
246 MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY.
me and my wife She Joyns With me In Love to your
Selfe and Bro : Charles
" From Your Loveing Bro :
to Coomd WM. WRIGHT."
" PS. Ive sen you Sum Verses that my wife maid
of Dear Lamb Let me hear from one or both of you as
Soon as you Think Conveniant."
The following poems, selected from several others,
are also by Mrs. Wright.
Lines written when in deep Anguish of Spirit.
" Oppressed with utmost weight of woe,
Debarr d of freedom, health, and rest;
What human eloquence can show
The inward anguish of my breast!
The finest periods of discourse,
(Rhetoric in all her pompous dress
Unmoving) lose their pointed force,
When griefs are swell d beyond redress.
Attempt not then with speeches smooth
My raging conflicts to control ;
Nor softest sounds again can soothe
The wild disorder of my soul ?
Such efforts vain to end my fears,
And long lost happiness restore,
May make me melt in fruitless tears,
But charm my tortured soul no more.
Enable me to bear my lot,
Oh ! Thou who only cans t redress !
Eternal God! forsake me not
In this extreme of my distress.
MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY. 247
Regard thy humble suppliant s suit;
Nor let me long in anguish pine,
Dismayed, abandoned, destitute
Of all support, but only thine.
Nor health, nor life, I ask of Thee;
Nor languid nature to restore :
Say but " a speedy period be
To these thy griefs," I ask no more !
To a Mother on the Death of her Children.
Though sorer sorrows than their birth
Your children s death has given;
Mourn not that others bear for earth,
While^ou have peopled heaven !
If now so painful tis to part,
O ! think that when you meet,
Well bought with shortly fleeting smart
Is never-ending sweet !
What if those little angels, nigh
T assist your latest pain,
Should hover round you when you die,
And leave you not again ?
Say, shall you then regret your woes,
Or mourn your teeming years ;
One moment will reward your throes,
And overpay your tears.
Redoubled thanks will fill your song ;
Transported while you view
Th inclining, happy, infant throng,
That owe their bliss to you !
248 MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY.
So moves the common star, tho bright,
With simple lustre crown d ;
The planet shines, with guards of light
Attending it around.
A Farewell to the World.
While sickness rends this tenement of clay,
Th approaching change with pleasure I survey;
O erjoy d to reach the goal, with eager pace,
Ere my slow life has measur d half its race.
No longer shall I bear, my friends to please,
The hard constraint of seeming much at ease;
Wearing an outward smile, a look serene,
While piercing racks and tortures work within.
Yet let me not, ungrateful to my God,
Record the evil, and forget the good :
For both I humble adoration pay;
And bless the power who gives and takes away.
Long shall my faithful memory retain
And oft recal each interval of pain.
Nay, to high heaven for greater gifts I bend ;
Health I ve enjoy d, and once I had a friend . *
Our labour sweet, if labour it might seem,
Allowed the sportive and instructive scene.
Yet here no lewd or useless wit was found ;
We poiz d the wav ring sail with ballast sound.
Learning here plac d her richer stores in view,
Or, wing d with love, the minutes gaily flew !
Nay, yet sublimer joy our bosoms prov d,
Divine benevolence, by heaven belov d.
Wan, meagre forms, torn from impending death,
Exulting, blest us with reviving breath.
The shiv ring wretch we cloth d, the mourner cheer d,
And sickness ceas d to groan when we appear d.
* She here refers to her beloved Sister Mary.
MISS MEHETABEL WESLEY. 249
Unask d, our care assists with tender art
Their bodies, nor neglects th immortal part.
Sometimes in shades unpierc d by Cynthia s beam,
Whose lustre glimmer d on the dimpled stream,
We wander d innocent thro sylvan scenes,
Or tripp d like faries o er the level greens.
From fragrant herbage deck d with pearly dews,
And flowrets of a thousand diff rent hues,
By wafting gales the mingling odours fly,
And round our heads in whisp ring breezes sigh.
Whole nature seems to heighten and improve
The holier hours of innocence and love.
Youth, wit, good-nature, candour, sense, combin d
To serve, delight, and civilize mankind j
In wisdom s love we ev ry heart engage,
And triumph to restore the golden age !
Nor close the blissful scene, exhausted muse,
The latest blissful scene that thou shalt choose ;
Satiate with life, what joys for me remain,
Save one dear wish, to balance ev ry pain ;
To bow my head, with grief and toil opprest,
Till borne by angel-bands to everlasting rest.
Mrs. Wright could never be prevailed upon to
collect and give her poems to the public. It is said
that she gave them at her death to one of her sisters.
Many have been published in different collections.
Some may be found in the Poetical Register, the
Christian Magazine, the Arminian Magazine, and in
the different lives of her brothers John and Charles.
Most of the poems were written under strong mental
She was visited by her brother Charles in her last
250 MISS MARTHA WESLEY.
illness. He says in his journal : " I prayed by my
sister Wright, a gracious, trembling soul ; a bruised
reed which the Lord will not break." She died March
21, 1751 ; and Mr. Charles Wesley preached her fu
neral sermon from these words, " Thy sun shall no
more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself,
for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the
days of thy mourning shall be ended." Mrs. Wright
was described to DR. CLARKE, by one who knew her, as
"an elegant woman, with great refinement of manners."
MISS MARTHA WESLEY, afterwards MRS.
HALL, (who was sometimes termed Patty) seems to have
been born between 1704 and 1708. She was reported
to be her mother s favourite. Mr. Charles expressed
his "wonder that so wise a woman as his mother could
give way to such a partiality." Many years after, when
this saying was mentioned to MRS. HALL, she replied,
"what was called partiality, was what they might all have
enjoyed if they had wished it ; which was to sit in my
mother s chamber when disengaged ; and listen to her
conversation." " What was called partiality to Patty,"
says DR. CLARKE, "was the indulgence of a propensity
to store her mind with the observations of a parent
whose mode of thinking was not common, and whose
conversation was peculiarly interesting : and it would
have been cruelty to have chased away a little one, who
preferred her mother s society to recreation."
Mrs. Wesley s opinion of the strong characteristic
steadiness of Martha will appear from the following
incident. One day, when she entered the nursery,
all the children, Patty excepted, (who was ever sedate
MISS MARTHA WESLEY.
and reflecting,) were in high glee and frolic, as they
ought to be, their Mother said, but not rebukingly,
" you will all be more serious one day." Martha lifting
up her head, immediately asked, "shall I be more serious
Ma am?" " No," replied the mother. The truth ap
pears to be, that the partiality was on the part of the
child. Patty loved her mother, and wished to listen to
her discourse, by which she increased her fund of
knowledge : a propensity which was very properly in
dulged." To her brother John she was uncommonly
attached. They had the same features as exactly as if
cast in the same mould; added to a great similarity
of disposition. Even their handwriting was so much
alike, that one might be easily mistaken for the other.
But there is one part of Martha s character which
has been strongly censured her conduct in reference
to her marriage. Whilst she was at her uncle s house
in London, she received the addresses of a gentleman
of the name of HALL, who was one of Mr. Wesley s
pupils at Lincoln College. He possessed an agree
able person, considerable talents, aud manners which
were in a high degree prepossessing, to those who
did not see beneath the surface. Mr. John Wesley
was much attached to him; he thought him humble,
and teachable, and in all manner of conversation holy
and unblameable. There were indeed parts of his
conduct which might have led a wary man to suspect
either his sanity, or his sincerity ; but the tutor was too
sincere himself, and too enthusiastic, to entertain the
suspicion which some of his extravagancies might
justly have excited. Samuel formed a truer judgment.
" I never liked the man," says he, " from the first time
252 MISS MARTHA WESLEY.
I saw him. His smoothness did not suit my roughness.
He appeared always to dread me as a wit and a jester :
this with me is a sure sign of guilt and hypocrisy. He
never could meet my eye in full light. Conscious
that there was something foul at the bottom, he was
afraid that I should see it, if I looked keenly into his
eye." John, however, took him to his bosom.
In Hall s addresses to Martha, there is no doubt he
was sincere ; and in order to secure her, he took the
expedient which was frequently practised in those days,
to betroth her to himself. All this was done without the
knowledge of her parents, or her brothers, for some time.
He afterwards accompanied John and Charles to
Epworth, and there he saw her sister Kezzia, became
enamoured of her, obtained her consent to marry him,
and was on the point of leading poor unconscious
Kezzia to the altar, affirming vehemently that " the
thing was of God; that he was certain it was His
will ; God had revealed to him that he must marry,
and that Kezzia was the very person." The family
were justly alarmed at his conduct; in vain they
questioned him on the reason of this change, when, to
the utter astonishment of all parties, in a Jew days
Hall changed his mind again, and pretending, with
blasphemous effrontery, that the Almighty had changed
His ; declared that a second revelation had counter
manded the first, and instructed him to marry not
Kezzia, but her sister Martha. The family, and es
pecially the brothers, felt indignant at this infamous
proposal ; and Charles afterwards addressed the fol
lowing poem to Martha on the occasion, who, he then
thought, Mas highly to blame.
MISS MARTHA WESLEY. 253
To Miss Martha Wesley.
When want, and pain, and death, besiege our gate,
And every solemn moment teems with fate ;
While clouds and darkness fill the space between,
Perplex th event, and shade the folded scene :
In humble silence wait th unuttered voice,
Suspend thy will, and check thy forward choice ;
Yet wisely fearful for th event prepare,
And learn the dictates of a brother s care.
How fierce thy conflict, how severe thy flight,
When hell assails the foremost sons of light;
When he, who long in virtue s paths had trod,
Deaf to the voice of conscience and of God,
Drops the fair mask, proves traitor to his vow ;
And thou the temptress, and the tempted thou !
Prepare thee then to meet the infernal war,
And dare beyond what woman knows to dare :
Gaard each avenue to thy flutt ring heart,
And act the sister s and the Christian s part.
Heaven is the guard of virtue ; scorn to yield,
When screened by heaven s impenetrable shield.
Secure in this, defy the impending storm,
Though Satan tempt thee in an angel s form.
And, Oh ! I see the fiery trial near ;
I see the saint, in all his forms, appear,
By nature, by religion, taught to please,
With conquest flushed, and obstinate to press,
He lists his virtues in the cause of hell,
Heaven, with celestial arms, presumes to assail;
To veil with semblance fair, the fiend within,
And make his God subservient to his sin!
Trembling I hear his horrid vows renew d,
I see him come by Delia s groans pursued.
254 MISS MARTHA WESLEY.
Poor injured Delia! all her groans are vain;
Or he denies, or listening mocks her pain.
What though her eyes with ceaseless tears o erflow,
Her bosom heave with agonizing woe ;
What though the horror of his falsehood near
Tear up her faith, and plunge her in despair;
Yet can he think, (so blind to heaven s decree,
And the sure fate of curs d apostacy)
Soon as he tells the secret of his breast,
And puts the angel off and stands confess d ;
When love, and grief, and shame, and anguish meet
To make his crimes and Delia s wrongs complete,
That then the injured maid will cease to grieve ;
Behold him in a sister s arms and live !
Mistaken wretch by thy unkindness hurl d
From ease, from love, from thee, and from the world ;
Soon must she land on that immortal shore,
Where falsehood never can torment her more :
There all her sufferings, and her sorrows cease,
Nor saints turn devils there to vex her peace !
Yet hope not then, all specious as thou art,
To taint with impious vows her sister s heart;
With proffered worlds her honest soul to move,
Or tempt her virtue to incestuous love.
No wert thou as thou wast, did heaven s first rays
Beam on thy soul, and all the Godhead blaze,
Sooner shall sweet oblivion set us free
From friendship, love, thy perfidy, and thee ;
Sooner shall light in league with darkness join,
Virtue, and vice, and heaven and hell combine,
Than her pure soul consent to mix with thine ;
To share thy sin, adopt thy perjury,
And damn herself to be revenged on thee ;
To load her conscience with a sister s blood,
The guilt of incest, and the curse of God !
MISS MARTHA WESLEY 255
These verses are severe enough, had the case
even been so bad as Mr. Charles then conjectured.
Martha appears at that time to have been in London,
when Hall went down into Lincolnshire; and knew
nothing of the transaction with Kezzia at Epworth till
a considerable time after it took place. When she
found how matters stood, she wrote to her mother, and
laid open the whole business ; who, on this explanation,
wrote her full consent, assuring Martha " that if she had
obtained the consent of her uncle, there was no
DR. CLARKE, who labours hard to vindicate Mrs.
Hall in this matter, says, " Kezzia, on hearing the true
relation, cordially renounced all claim to Hall ; and,
from every thing I have been able to learn, she sat as
indifferent to him as if no such transaction had ever ex
isted. Her uncle, Matthew, with whom Patty lived,
was so satisfied with her conduct and the match, that
he gave her 500 on her marriage, and his testimony
of her dutiful and grateful conduct during the whole
time she had resided in his house. Kezzia also
gave her consent by choosing to live with Mr. and Mrs.
Hall after their marriage, though she had a pressing
invitation to reside with her brother Samuel; and her
brother John was to have furnished 50 per annum to
cover her expences. The true state of the case was for
some years unknown to her brothers ; and Mr. John
Wesley, in a letter to Hall, dated Dec. 2, 1747, charges
him with having stolen Kezzia from the god of her
youth ; that in consequence she refused to be comfort
ed, fell into a lingering illness, which terminated in her
death ; but her blood still cried unto God from the
256 MISS MARTHA WESLEY.
earth against him, and that surely it was upon his
head/ That this was Mr. Wesley s impression I well
know; but it is not strictly correct. I have the almost
dying assertions of Mrs. Hall, delivered to her beloved
niece, Miss WESLEY, and by her handed in writing to
me, that the facts of the case were as stated above."
Opposed to this opinion, however, we have the
testimony of MR. MOORE, who was intimately acquaint
ed with Mrs. Hall. He says that "Mrs. Hall did not
speak of her marriage quite as the respectable bio
grapher of her family does. She was convinced for
many years, that her brothers were so far right, that
for both sisters to have refused him, after he had mani
fested such a want of principle and honour, would have
been the more excellent way."
Till this time John Wesley believed that Hall was,
" without question, filled with faith, and the love of
God ; so that in all England he knew not his fellow.
He thought him a pattern of lowliness, meekness, seri
ousness, and continual advertance to the presence of
God ; and, above all, of self-denial of every kind, and
of suffering all things with joyfulness." But afterwards
he found there was a worm at the root of the gourd.
Hall began to teach that there was " no resurrection of
the body, no general judgment, no hell, no worm that
never dieth, no fire that never shall be quenched."
Mr. J. Wesley, in the course of his travelling, came to
Hall s house, near Salisbury, and was let in, though
orders had been given that he should not be admitted.
Hall left the room as soon as he entered, sent a message
to him that he must quit the house, and presently
turned his wife Out of doors. Having now thrown off
MISS MARTHA WESLEY. 257
all restraint, and all regard to decency, he publicly
and privately recommended polygamy, as conformable
to nature, preached in its defence, and practised as he
preached. Soon he laid aside all pretensions to reli
gion, professed himself an infidel, and led, for many
years, the life of an adventurer and a profligate, at
home and abroad; acting sometimes as a physician,
sometimes as a priest, or figured away with his sword,
cane, and scarlet cloak ; assuming any character,
according to his humour, or the convenience of the
day. Hall passed from change to change, till at
last he gloried in his shame, and became a proverb of
" The vilest husband, and the worst of men."
He would talk, with apparent ease, to his chaste wife
concerning his concubines ! He would tell her, that
she was his carnal wife, but they his spiritual wives !
for he had taught them to despise all sober, scriptural re"
ligion, and to talk as corruptly as himself. At length he
broke all bounds, and retired to the West Indies, taking
his chief favourite with him. She was a remarkable
woman ; and appears to have had more personal courage
than her wretched paramour. In an assault upon the
house in which they lived, by a black banditti, she
seized a large pewter vessel, and standing at the turn
ing of the stairs which led to their apartment, she
knocked the assailants down in succession, as thev ap
proached, and maintained the post till succour arrived
and dispersed the villians. Hall continued his con
nexion with this wretched woman till she died, and
then returned to England, weak and in some degree
humbled, and was afterwards seen officiating in a church
MISS MARTHA WESLEY,
in London, where, not long before his death, he de
livered, with great energy, an extempore discourse,
which a gentleman who heard it, says was inimitably
pathetic. Mrs. Hall, bound as she most conscientiously
thought herself, by her original vows, showed him every
kind of charitable attention till his death, which took
place at Bristol, January 6, 1776. He exclaimed, in
his last hours, " I have injured an angel ! an angel
that never reproached me \" Mr. John Wesley gives
the following account of the closing scene : " I came
to Bristol just in time enough, not to see but to bury,
poor Mr. Hall, my brother-in-law, who died on Wed
nesday morning, I trust in peace, for God had given
him deep repentance. Such another monument of
Divine mercy, considering how low he had fallen, and
from what heights of holiness, I have not seen, no not
in seventy years. I had designed to have visited him
in the morning, but he did not stay for my coming.
It is enough, if, after all his wanderings, we meet again
in Abraham s bosom."
We shall now consider Mrs. Hall s behaviour as a
wife, to one of the worst and most unkind of husbands.
" I will adduce an instance," says DR. CLARKE, "re
corded by witnesses on the spot, and corroborated by
herself, on being questioned as to its truth. When
they lived at Fullerton, near Salisbury, where Hall was
the curate, she had taken a young woman into the house
as a seamstress, whom he seduced : these were the be
ginnings of his ways. Mrs. Hall being quite unsuspi
cious, was utterly ignorant of any improper attachment
between her husband and the girl.
" Finding the time of the young woman s travail
MISS MARTHA WESLEY. 259
drawing near, he feigned a call to London on some
important business, and departed. Soon after his
departure the girl fell into labour. Mrs. Hall, one
of the most feeling and considerate of women on such
occasions, ordered her servants to go instantly for a
doctor. They all refused ; and when she had remon
strated with them on their inhumanity, they completed
her surprise by informing her that the girl, (to whom
they gave any thing but her own name,} was in labour
through her criminal connexion with Mr. Hall, and
that they all knew her guilt long before. She heard,
without betraying any emotion, what she had not be
fore even suspected, and repeated her commands for
assistance. They, full of indignation at the unfortunate
creature, and strangely inhuman, absolutely refused
to obey ; on which Mrs. Hall immediately went out
herself, and brought in a midwife; called on a neigh
bour; divided the only six pounds she had in the
house, and depositedjfoe with her, who was astonished
at her conduct; enjoined kind treatment, and no re
proaches; and then set off for London, found her
husband, related in her own mild manner the circum
stances, told him what she had done, and prevailed
upon him to return to Salisbury as soon as the young
woman could be removed from the house. He thought
the conduct of his wife not only Christian, but heroic ;
and was for a time suitably affected by it; but having
embraced the doctrine of polygamy, his reformation
was but of short continuance. Mr. Hall was guilty of
many similar infidelities ; and after being the father of
ten children by his wife, nine of whom lie buried at
Salisbury, he abandoned his family, and went off to the
260 MISS MARTHA WESLEY.
West Indies with one of his mistresses. Notwithstand
ing all this treatment, Mrs Hall was never heard to speak
of him but with kindness. She often expressed won
der that women should profess to love their husbands,
and yet dwell upon their faults, or indeed upon those
of their friends. She was never known to speak
evil of any person."
"When Mr. Charles Wesley asked her "how she
could give money" as previously related " to her hus
band s concubine?" she answered,"! knew I could
obtain what I wanted from many ; but she, poor hapless
creature! could not; many thinking it meritorious to
abandon her to the distress which she had brought
upon herself. Pity is due to the wicked; the good
claim esteem; besides, I did not act as a woman, but
as a Christian."
Mrs. Hall frequently visited DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON,
(at his own particular request,) who always treated her
with high respect. The injuries she had sustained, and
the manner in which she had borne them, could not
but excite the esteem and pity of such a mind as his.
He wished her very much to become an inmate in his
house ; and she would have done so, had she not feared
to provoke the jealousy of two females already there,
MRS. WILLIAMS and MRS. DESMOULINS. She ventured
to tell him the reason, and he felt its cogency. It is
no wonder that Dr. Johnson valued her conversation.
In many cases it supplied the absence of books ; her
memory was a repository of the most striking events of
past centuries ; and she had the best parts of all our
poets by heart. She delighted in literary discussions,
and moral argumentations ; not for display, but for the
MISS MARTHA WESLEY.
exercise of her mental faculties, and to increase her
fund of useful knowledge ; and she bore opposition
with the same composure which regulated all the other
parts of her conduct. Of wit, she used to say, she was
the only one of the family who did not possess it; and
Mr. Charles Wesley remarks, that his "sister Patty
was too wise to be witty." Yet she was very capable
of acute remark; and once at Dr. Johnson s house,
when he was on a grave discussion, she made a remark
which turned the laugh against the doctor, in which he
cordially joined, feeling its propriety and force. "It
excited her surprise," says DR. CLARKE, " that women
should dispute the authority which God gives the hus
band over the wife." "It is," said she, "so clearly
expressed in scripture, that one would suppose such
wives never read their Bibles : and those women who
contest this point, should not marry." Her mother
seems to have been of the same opinion, though she
evidently possessed what is called a great spirit.
" Vixen, and unruly wives," continues Du. CLARKB,
" did not relish Mrs. Hall s sentiments on this subject,
and her example they could never forgive."
As to the authority vested in husbunds, MR.
JOHN WESLEY, in his treatise "On the Duties of
Husbands and Wives," usually printed with his ser
mons, says, " It is the duty of a husband to govern
his wife, and to maintain her. The former implies that
he keeps his authority ; for every man is bound to re
tain that place, wherein his maker hath set him. But
some will say this is reasonable, if it were practicable ;
yet some wives are so violent and headstrong, their
husbands cannot govern them. I answer, most men
262 MISS MARTHA WESLEY.
blame their wives, when the real fault is in themselves.
A man cannot hinder a violent woman from assaulting
his authority, but he may from winning it : not indeed
by violence, but by skill. Whoever, therefore, would
be a good wife, let this sink into her inmost soul, My
husband has the right to rule me. God has given him
this, and I will not strive against God. It is granted
that a wife may have more wit and understanding,
more readiness of speech, more skill in business, than
her husband, but a servant may exceed both in these
respects : and yet it would be improper for the servant
to claim an equality on that account. Though the
husband be of meaner birth, or smaller capacity ; though
he had no wealth before marriage, and the wife had, yet,
from that hour, the case is changed, and he is no
longer beneath his wife, but above her."
In a conversation, there was a remark made, that the
public voice was the voice of God, universally recog
nized, whence the proverb, " Vox populi, vox Dei. *
This Mrs. Hall strenuously contested ; and said the
" public voice" in Pilate s court was, " Crucify him !
Crucify him !"
She had a great dread of melancholy subjects.
" Those persons," she maintained, " could not have real
feeling, who could delight to see, or to hear details
of misery they could not relieve, or descriptions of
cruelty which they could not punish." Nor did she like
to speak of death : it was heaven, the society of the
blessed, and the deliverance of the happy spirit from
this tabernacle of clay, (not the pangs of separation, of
which she always expressed a fear,) on which she de
lighted to dwell. She could not behold a corpse,
MISS MARTHA WESLEY. 263
" because/ 1 said she, " it is beholding Sin sitting upon --
his throne." She objected strongly to those lines in
Mr. Charles Wesley s funeral hymns :
" Ah ! lovely appearance of death ;
What sight upon earth is so fair," &c.
Her favourite hymn among these was,
" Rejoice for a brother deceased," &c.
There were few persons of whom she had not
not something good to say ; and if their faults were
glaring, she would plead the influence of circumstances,
education, or sudden temptation, to which all imprison
ed in a tenement of clay are liable, and by which their
actions are often influenced : yet she was no apologist
for bad principles ; for she thought with an old puritan,
that a fault in an individual was like a fever ; but a bad
principle resembled a plague, spreading desolation and
death over the community. Few persons feel as they
should do for transgression, when it is the effect of
" Of her sufferings," says DR. CLARKE, " she spoke
so little, that they could not be learned from herself:
I could only get acquainted with those I knew from
other branches of the family. Her blessings and the
advantages she enjoyed, she was continually recounting.
Evil/ she used to say, was not kept from me; but
evil has been kept from harming me/ Though she
had a small property of her own, yet she was princi
pally dependent on the bounty of her brothers, after
her husband had deserted her : and here was a striking
illustration of the remark, that in noble natures benefits
264 MISS MARTHA WESLEY.
do not diminish love on either side/ She left to her
niece, whom she dearly loved, and who well knew how-
to prize so valuable a woman, the little remains of her
fortune, who in vain urged her to sink it on her own
life, in order to procure her a few more comforts."
Her niece, Miss Wesley, was with her in her last
moments : Mrs. Hall had no disease, but a mere decay
of nature. She spoke of her dissolution with the same
tranquillity with which she spoke of every thing else.
A little before her departure, she called Miss Wesley
to her bedside, and said, " I have now a sensation which
convinces me my departure is near; the heart-strings
seem gently, but entirely loosened." Miss Wesley
asked her if she was in pain? "No," said she, "but a
new feeling." Just before she closed her eyes, she
bade her niece come near, she pressed her hand and
said, " I have the assurance for which I have long
prayed ; shout!" and then expired. Thus her noble
and happy spirit passed into the hands of her Redeem
er on the 12th. July, 1791, a few months after the
death of her brother John, with whom she is interred
in the same vault. She was the last surrivor of the
original Wesley family.
We shall conclude this account with a few words
extracted from her niece Miss Wesley s description
of her. "Mrs. Hall s trials were peculiar. Wounded
in her affections in the tenderest part; deserted by
the husband she much loved ; bereaved of her ten
children ; reduced from ample competency to a nar
row income ; yet no complaint was ever heard from
her lips ! Her serenity was undisturbed, and her
peace beyond the reach of calamity." Active virtues
MISS KEZZIA WESLEY. 265
command applause, they are apparent to every eye ;
. A J
but the passive, are only known to Him by whom the}
are registered on high, where the silent sufferer shall
meet a full reward.
MR. CHARLES WESLEY, the youngest son of
the Wesley family, was born at Epworth, December
18th, 1708, and died in London, March 29th, 1788,
aged seventy-nine years and three months. Connect
ed with his name, the following anecdote may not be
uninteresting. DR. CLARKE mentions that a gentle
man of the name of WESLEY, of Dangan, in the county
of Meat/i in Ireland, of considerable property, wrote
to the rector of Epworth, that, if he had a son called
CHARLES he would adopt him as his heir; and at the
expense of this gentleman, Charles was actually sup
ported at Westminster school, and when afterwards,
he wished to take him over to Ireland, Charles
thankfully declined, fearing, lest worldly prosperity
should corrupt him. The person who Mr. Wesley, of
Dangan made his heir, and who took the name of
Wesley, was Richard Colley, of Dublin, afterwards
created the first Earl of Mornington, and was grand
father to the present MARQUIS WELLESLEY, and DUKE
of WELLINGTON. Wellcslcy is therefore a corruption,
and an awkward one, made by the present Marquis,
of the simple, and more elegant name of Wesley.
MISS KEZZIA WESLEY, called in (he family
papers Kezzy and Kez, appears to have been the
youngest daughter. About 1730, Miss Kezzy became
a teacher in a boarding-school, at Lincoln. She pos-
266 MISS KEZZIA WESLEY.
sessed very delicate health through life, which prevent
ed her from improving a mind that seems to have been
capable of high cultivation. She wrote a peculiarly
neat and beautiful hand, even more so than her sister
Emilia. Her brother John frequently gave her di
rections both for the improvement of her mind, and
increase in true religion. To a letter of this description
she thus replies :
Lincoln, July 3, 1731.
" DEAR BROTHER,
" I should have writ sooner had not
business, and indisposition of body prevented me.
Indeed sister Pat s going to London shocked me a
little, because it was unexpected ; and perhaps may
have been the cause of my ill health for the last fort
night. It would not have had so great an effect upon
my mind if I had known it before : but it is over now
The past as nothing we esteem ;
And pain, like pleasure, is a dream.
" I should be glad to see Norris s Reflections on
the Conduct of the Human Understanding, and the
book wrote by the female author : but I don t expect
so great a satisfaction as seeing either of them, ex
cept you should have the good fortune to be at
Epworth when I am there, which will be towards the
latter end of August. I shall stay a fortnight or three
weeks, if no unforeseen accident prevent it. I must
not expect any thing that will give me so much pleasure
as having your company so long; because a dis
appointment would make me very uneasy. Had your
supposition been true, and one of your fine ladies had
MISS KEZZIA WESLEY. 267
heard your conference, they would have despised you
as a mere ill-bred scholar, who could make no belter
use of such an opportunity, than preaching to young
women for the improvement of their minds. I am
entirely of your opinion, that the pursuit of knowledge
and virtue will most improve the mind : but how to
pursue these is the question. Cut off indeed I am
from all means which most men, and many women
have of attaining them. I have Nelson s Method of
Delation and The Whole Duty of Man, which are all
my stock ! As to history and poetry, I have not so
much as one book.
" I could like to read all the books you mention,
if it were in my power to buy them ; but as it is not
at present, nor have I any acquaintances of whom I can
borrow them, I must make myself easy, if I can, but I
had rather you had not told me of them, Here I have
time in the morning, three or four hours, but want
books; at home I had books, but not time. I wish you
would send me the questions you speak of, and I would
read them. Perhaps they may be of use to me in
learning contentment, for I have long been endeavour
ing to practice it.
" I should be glad if you would say a little to sister
Emily on the same subject. / can t persuade her to
the contrary, because I am so much addicted to the
same failing myself. Pray desire brother Charles to
bring Prior, the second part, when he comes ; or send
it, according to promise, for leaving off snuff till next
May ; or else I shall think myself at liberty to take
as soon as I please. Pray let me know in your next
letter when you design to come down, and whether
268 MISS KEZZIA WESLEY.
Brother Wesley and Sister will come with you. If you
intend to walk, and brother Charles with you ?
" I think it no great matter whether I say any
thing relating to the people of Epworth, or not, for you
may be sure he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth
sorrow. I expect you will come by London. Pray
desire sister Pat to write to me. I have not heard
from her since she went. You must not measure the
length of your next letter by this. I am ill, and can t
write any more,
" Your affectionate Sister,
" KEZZIA WESLEY."
Miss Kezzy was to have been married to a gentle
man who paid his addresses to her when she resided
with her sister HALL, near Salisbury, but death pre
vented the union. It appears that her brother Charles
was present when she died. Of her closing scene, he
gives the following account to his brother John :
" Yesterday morning, (March the 9th, 1741,) sister
Kezzy died in the Lord Jesus. He finished his work
and cut it short in mercy. Without pain or trouble
she commended her spirit into the hands of Jesus, and
APPENDIX A. Page 12.
ON THE DOCTRINE OP PASSIVE OBEDIENCE.
The great question of this session (1675) was the non-
resisting test, which was submitted by the cabinet to the
upper house. The object of this measure was to bind all
parties to a course of PASSIVE OBEDIENCE, with respect to
the will of the sovereign, and the church. It was in short
an effort to lay that yoke on all persons holding offices
under the crown, and even on the legislature itself, which
had already been imposed on corporations, magistrates,
officers in the army, and the ministers of religion. So long
as the NON-CONFORMIST MINISTERS were the only parties
assailed by weapons of this nature, their followers exhorted
them to persist in the course of the confessor. But it is
related by BAXTER, that when these severeties were ex
tended from the ministers to the people^ many of the latter
began to hold a different language. It was discovered
also that an oath, which pledged the persons taking it, in
no case to resist the authority of the crown or the mitre,
not only vested those authorities with divine right, but
virtually " dissettled the whole birthright of Englishmen." C
The oath which the bill was framed to extort was, " I
do swear that I will not endeavour the alteration of the
church or state. 1 This pledge, it was contended, went to
annihilate the legislative power of parliament. Once
adopted, consistency would require that no improvement
in our institutions should be attempted, nor the concurrence
of altered circumstances justify a change in them ; if im
perfect, they must remain so ; and if inapplicable, they
must be continued ! It was moreover objected, that the
intended prohibition was not limited to what might be
done in parliament, but extended to whatever might be
spoken or written elsewhere, with a design to effect an
amendment of law; and the ministers did not hesitate in
substance, to acknowledge, that the bill was meant to put
down all opposition to the government, both in the senate
and the nation, the existence of which might be found
2 A 2
But it was on the part of this engagement which had
respect to the Church, that the most obstinate discussions
took place. Men were required to swear an adherence
to Episcopacy. But in what, it was asked, does epis
copal government consist? From what source are its
powers derived ? In what manner, and to what extent,
may they be exercised ? The prelates answered, that
their office was derived from the Saviour of the world,
their liberty to exercise its functions from the civil magis
trate. It did not occur to them to ask what the conse
quence of this doctrine of dependence on the magistrate
would be, as applied to their predecessors in office be
fore the age of Constantine. It was remarked by LORD
WHARTON, that excommunication is a great instrument
of Episcopal authority, and he wished to know whether the
bishops considered themselves as deriving a liberty from
Caesar to excommunicate Csesar. It was inquired also,
whether the church of Rome was not Episcopal as well as
the church of England ; and when to meet this difficulty,
the word protestant was proposed, it was shown that pro
testantism was as little susceptible of accurate definition as
episcopacy, and much was said to expose the injustice of
insisting that men should swear to what they could at best
only imperfectly understand. In conclusion, the allegiance
demanded was to " the religion now established by law in
the church of England."
This memorable debate lasted seventeen days, fre
quently beginning early and continued till midnight, and
beyond doubt was the most obstinate and powerful that
had ever taken place in the history of the Upper house.
But the bill, in its amended form, was passed by the Lords,
which imposed a fine of 500 on every member, at the
meeting of a new parliament, who should persist in re
fusing the security which it demanded.
But the party defeated in the Lords hoped to be vic
torious in the Commons. Ministers, on the other hand,
confided much in the assistance of bribes, which, in more
than one instance, had already enabled them to command
a majority in that assembly. But as the moment ap
proached in which the opposite party were to have tried
their strength, a question arose that brought on a dispute
between the two houses, suspended all other business, and
made way for a prorogation. By this, all that had been
done on the non-resisting test was made void.
MARVELL speaks of this debate as " the greatest
which had perhaps ever been in parliament, wherein," he
observes, " those lords that were against this oath, being
assured of their own loyalty and merit, stood up for the
English liberties, with the same genius, virtue, and courage,
that their noble ancestors had formerly defended the great
charter of England; but with so much greater commenda
tion, in that they had here a fairer field, and the more civil
way of decision : they fought it out under all the disad
vantages imaginable ; they were overlaid by numbers; the
noise of the house, like the wind, was against them; and if
not the sun, ike fireside (the king, who was present at the
debates, generally stood there) was always in their faces,
nor, being so few, could they, as their adversaries, withdraw
to refresh themselves in a whole day s engagement; yet
never was there a clearer demonstration how dull a thing
is human eloquence and greatness ; when bright truth
discovers all things in their proper colours and dimensions,
and shoots its beams through all fallacies."
APPENDIX B. Page 50.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OP JOHN DUNTON.
JOHN DUNTON was born at Graff ham in Huntingdon
shire, May 14, 1659. He was the son of John Dunton,
Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Rector of Graff-
ham. We have already stated that Duuton married one
of the daughters of DR. SAMUEL ANNESLEY, and that he
was a considerable bookseller and publisher. About the
beginning of the eighteenth century, Dunton failed in
business, the reason of which he states as follows, " when I
was living prosperously at the Black Raven, in Princes
Street, and as happy in marriage as I could wish, there
came an universal damp upon trade, occasioned by the
defeat of the Duke of Monmouth in the West; and at this
time having 500 owing to me in New England, I began
to think it worth while to make a voyage thither.
" I first made trial how dear IRIS [his wife] would
part with me ; and I found that though she had a very
tender sense of all the dangers I should be exposed to, yet
she was always perfectly resigned to the will of her hus
band. I stated the matter to my honoured father-in-law,
Dr. Annesley, who was then going to Tunbridge, and
afterwards I wrote him the following letter.
" MUCH HONOURED SIR,
This comes to desire your free thoughts con
cerning my voyage to New England. I have consulted
several friends upon it, who all ihink it the best method I
can take. I have a great number of books that lie upon
my hands, as the " Continuation of the Morning Exer
cises" and others, very proper for that place, besides the
500 which I have there in debts. However, I will not
move without your advice and consent. My dear wife
sends her duty to you, and we hope the waters agree with
you. I am, your dutiful and affectionate son,
To this letter he received the following answer, which
we the more readily insert, as there remains so little of the
correspondence of that venerable minister Dr. Annesley.
" I received yours, but cannot give so par
ticular and direct an answer as you may expect. You
know I came hither soon after you mentioned this voyage,
and had not an opportunity to consider all the circum
stances of it. I perceive those you have consulted, are for
it; and they are better able to foresee what may probably
be the issue of such an undertaking, than I am, or can be.
The infinitely wise God direct you, and give wisdom to those
that advise you. I do as heartily desire your universal
welfare as any friend you have in the world, and therefore
dare not say a word against it. My present opinion is,
that you do not, (if you resolve upon the voyage) carry too
great a cargo ; for I think it will be the less trouble to
you to wish there, that you had brought more, than to fret
at the want of a market for too many. If you observe the
course of the world, the most of all worldly trouble is
through the frustration of our expectations ; were we not
to look for much, we should easily bear a disappointment.
Moderation in all things, but love to God, and serious god
liness, is highly commendable. Covet earnestly the best
gifts the best graces the best enjoyments ; for which
you shall never, while I live, want the earnest prayer of
" Your most affectionate father,
Tunbridge, August 10, 1685. S. ANNESLEY."
A little time after Dunton arrived at Boston, he sent
the following letter to Dr. Annesley.
"HONOURED AND DEAR SlR,
" I am at last through a merciful Providence
arrived safe at Boston. We were above four months at
sea, and very often in extreme danger by storms ; and what
added to our misfortunes, our provisions were almost spent
before we landed. For some time we had no more than
the allowance of one bottle of water a man for four days.
Since my arrival, I have met with many kindnesses from
Mr. Burroughs, arid others, of your acquaintance in Bos
ton. I am now in great suspense whether to part with my
venture of books by wholesale, or to sell them by retail.
If this letter comes shortly after the date of it to your
hands, pray let me have your advice in this matter. I am
" Your most affectionate and dutiful son,
Boston, March 2.5, 1686. J. DUNTON."
To this letter Dunton received the following answer.
London, May 10, 1686.
" DEAR SON,
" I was very glad to hear of your safe arrival,
after your tedious and hazardous passage. Those mercies
are most observed, and through grace the best improved,
that are bestowed with some grievous circumstances. I
hope the impression of your voyage will abide, though the
danger be over. I know not what to say to you about
your trading. Present providences upon present circum
stances must be observed, and therefore I shall often in
prayer recommend your case to God, who alone can, and
I hope will, do both in you and for you, exceeding abun
dantly, above what you can ask or think.
Soon after the date of the above letter, Dunton returned
to London. The first interview with his wife he relates
in his usual artless manner. " We cast anchor at Ratcliffe,
where I went ashore to visit my sister Mary. We sent
immediately for sister Sudbury ; and desired her to go and
tell dear Iris l there was a gentleman waiting for her
there, who could give her some account of her husband.
About an hour after Iris came ; and at the first interview
we stood speechless, whilst Iris shed a flood of tears. At
last we got our tongues at liberty ; and then
Embraced and talk d, as meeting lovers would,
Who had the pangs of absence understood.
We left the tavern, and went home to Dr. Annesley s
where I was received with great kindness and respect.
" At my return to England, I expected nothing but a
golden life of it for the future ; but all my satisfactions were
soon withered ; for being so deeply entangled for my sister-
in-law, I was not suffered to step over the threshold for ten
months, unless it was once under disguise ; and the story
is this. My confinement growing very uneasy to me, espe
cially on Lord s day, I was extremely desirous to hear
Dr. Annesley preach ; and immediately this contrivance
was started in my head, that dear Iris should dress me in
woman s clothes, and I would venture myself abroad under
those circumstances. To make short of it, I got myself
shaved, and put on as effeminate a look as my countenance
would let me ; and being well fitted out with a large scarf,
I set forward; but every step I took, the fear was upon me,
that it was made out of form. As for my arms, I could
not tell how to manage them, being altogether ignorant to
what figure they should be reduced. At last I got safe to
the meeting, and sat down in the most obscure corner I could
find. But as I was returning through Bishopgate Street,
with all the circumspection and care imaginable (and then
I thought I had done it pretty well,) there was an unlucky
rogue cried out, I ll be hang d if that ben t a man in
woman s clothes. This put me into my preternaturals
indeed, and I began to scour off as fast as my legs would
carry me. There was at least twenty or thirty of them
that made after me ; but being acquainted with the alleys,
I dropped them and came off with honour. My reverend
father-in-law knew nothing of this religious metamorphis;
nor do I think he would have suffered it, yet my in
clination to public worship was justifiable enough. But
I have no need to apologize here, for it is common
for men to conceal themselves in women s apparel. The
Lord G y made his escape from the Tower in pet
ticoats ; and that brave man the Earl of Argyle, made
his escape by exchanging clothes with his daughter."
Dunton did not long possess his excellent wife, whose
death he bitterly lamented, though in the same year he
consoled himself by another marriage with Sarah, daughter
of a Mrs, Nicholson, of St. Alban s. With this lady he
does not appear to have added much either to his comforts
or his fortune. Her mother, who seems to have possessed
considerable property, left the most of it to public charities,
rather than to her daughter. This conduct caused Dunton
to publish a work bearing the following title: "Death
bed Charity, or Alms or no Alms ; a Paradox proving
Madam Jane Nicholson giving 50 a year to the poor of
St. Alban s was no charity, but as she vainly thought, a
sort of compounding with God Almighty for giving nothing
to the poor in her lifetime ; with reflections on the pane-
gyric sermon preached at her funeral, by Mr. Cole,
Archdeacon of St. Alban s."
Dunton, in connexion with others, published " The
Athenian Mercury" or a scheme to answer a series of
questions monthly. This work was continued to about 20
volumes; and afterwards reprinted under the title of the
"Athenian Oracle" 4 Vols. 8vo. It forms a strange
jumble of knowledge and ignorance, sense and nonsense,
curiosity and impertinence. In 1710 he published his ^ ""
" Athenianism" or the projects of Mr. John Dunton.
This contains, amidst a variety of matter, six hundred
treatises in prose and verse ; by which he appears to have
been with equal facility a philosopher, physician, poet,
civilian, divine, humourist, &c. As a specimen of this
miscellaneous farrago, the reader may take the following
titles: 1. " The Funeral of Mankind, a Paradox proving
that we are all dead and buried. 2. The Spiritual Hedge
hog ; or a new and surprising thought. 3. The Double
Life ; or a new way to redeem Time, by lie ing over to-mor
row before it comes. 4. Dunton preaching to himself; or
every man his own Parson. 5. His Creed ; or the Religion
of a bookseller" in imitation of Brown s Religio Medici,
which has some humour and merit. This he dedicated to
the Stationers company. As a satirist, Duntou appears
to the most advantage in his poems entitled the " Beggar
mounted ;" the " Dissenting Doctors ;" " Parnassus hoa !
or frolics in verse ;" Dunton s Shadow ; or the character
of a Summer Friend." In all his writings he is exceed
ingly prolix and tedious, and sometimes obscure. His
" Case altered; or Dunton s re-marriage to his own wife"
has some singular notions, but very little merit in the com
position. For further particulars of this heterogeneous
genius, see his " Life and Errors." Dunton died in 1733.
APPENDIX C. Page 88.
THH HISTORY OP THE CALVES HEAD CLUB.
In many of the Tory pamphlets about the year 1703,
allusion was made to a society that was supposed to hold
meetings for the purpose of commemorating the death of
Charles I. It was called the CALVES HEAD CLUB. If
such a society ever existed, which has been doubted, it
must have been confined to few persons, and those not of
the most respectable description. Although it was evi
dently apolitical club, and resorted to by persons of various
religions, yet the fashion of the day being to run down the
Dissenters, ^Ae?/ were made to bear the odium of it. LESLIE,
one of the foremost of their antagonists, seriously invites
the Dissenters "to put down their Calves Head Clubs,
in which they feast every 30th of January, and have lewd
songs which they profanely call anthems." 1 But what
would Leslie have said, if he had known that these anthems
were composed by a member of his own church. In ano
ther publication he says, " I am told that the last 30th of
January, at one of the principal of their CALVES HEAD
feasts in London, they used a sort of symbolical ceremony,
of sticking their knives all at once into the biggest of the
calves 1 heads, thereby engaging themselves in a bond of unity
for the restoration of Puss, that is, their Commonwealth,
and the extirpation of monarchy, especially in the line of
the martyr, whom they thus represented."
This political manuoevre of Leslie was hastily caught up
by other demagogues. SACHEVERELL, who was never
behind hand in any dirty work, employs it in a similar way.
In aid of this dishonest plot, it is lamentable to find that the
publishers of Lord Clarendon s history should be at all
implicated. The writer of the dedication asks, " What can
be the meaning of the constant solemnizing, by some men,
the anniversary of that dismal 30th of January, in scanda
lous and opprobrious feasting and jesting, which the law
of the land hath commanded to be perpetually observed in
fasting and humiliation ?" He intimates that it looks like
an industrious propagation of the rebellious principles of
the last age ; and recommends her Majesty "to have an
eye towards such unaccountable proceedings." OLDMIXON
has a just remark upon the passage. "One would have
hoped," says he, "that the vulgar scandal of the Calves
Head Club might have been reserved for some hatf-penny
history ; but I was surprised to find it in a dedication to
the Earl of Clarendon."
Let us now hear what the Dissenters have to say upon
the subject ; for in an appeal to fact, the accused party is
most likely to have the best information.
Tbe first witness is "honest TOM BRADBURY," who
at that time was a minister of considerable note amongst
the Independents, and eminent for hispatriotism. Endowed
by nature with inimitable wit and courage, combined with
the advantages of a liberal education, no man was better
constituted to support the cause he had zealously at heart.
Mr. Bradbury annually commemorated the Revolution
by a sermon on the 5th of Nov., which he afterwards pub
lished. Some of these discourses are as remarkable for
their shrewdness, as for their adaptation to the occasion,
and may be ranked among the most animated defences of
civil and religious liberty. Being attacked by Mr. Luke
Milbourne, "a clergyman of yearly fame," who in one
of his anniversary sermons, had said, "that London has a
club of those God-mocking wretches, who profane this day
with impious feasting." Mr. Bradbury remarks, "As I
never was present at such an assembly, so it is but lately
that I was assured any person of note could be guilty of a
thing so ludicrous : but I am satisfied, it has been done
within these few years ; though I can tell him (that except
ing one) all the persons who met there, are such as his
party do now admire for staunch churchmen, and lovers of
monarchy ; and much joy may he have via. flying squadron,
who can step so fast from profaning a day, to adoring it."
The other testimony .is that of DE FOE. " Tis be
low an Englishman and a gentleman," says he, " to insult
any man that s down. To conquer a man consists with
honour; but to insult him when reduced, is below man,
as a rational, much more as a generous creature. For
this reason if ever there was any such thing as a Calves -
head club, which I profess not to know, I abhor, not Ihe
practice only, but the temper, that can stoop to a thing so
base, which is as much beneath a generous spirit, as hang
ing Oliver Cromwell, and others, when they were dead."
This club, if it ever existed, was dragged from its
obscurity by a work of some curiosity that then made its
appearance. The first edition was published in the early
part of 1703, and bore the following title : " The Secret
History of the Calves * Head Club ; or, the Republicans
Unmasked : wherein is fully shewn the Religion of the
Calves 1 Head Heroes, in their Anniversary thanksgiving
Songs, on the 30</< of January, by them called ANTHEMS,
from the year 1693 to 1697." Such was the popularity
of the work, that within a few years it passed through
several editions, with variations in the title. The matter
of which it is composed consists of improbable stories, dull
poetry, and the common cant of the times. This is dealt
out in very coarse language, with occasional digressions of
low wit to relieve its general dulness. The best edition is
the eighth, published in octavo, 1713, under the title of
" The Wigs Unmasked, 1 with eight satirical engravings,
illustrating the leading subjects of the work, which are
characteristic of the spirit of the times. In all probability,
NED WARD manufactured the history of the Calves Head
Club. This writer, who is best known as the author of
" The London Spy," kept a public house in the skirts of the
city ; and having a degree of low humour, with a taste for
doggrel rhyme, devoted his powers to the service of the
high-party, whereby he drew together many persons of
similar taste and character, who were entertained by his
wit, and enlivened by his ale.
Of the origin and proceeding of the Calves Head Club,
the writer of its history gives the following account, which,
it appears he had only from hearsay. He says "that
MILTON and some other creatures of the Commonwealth
instituted this club, in opposition to Bishop Juxon, Dr.
Hammond, and others, who met privately on the 30th of
January, and had a form of service for the day, not
much different from that now to be found in the Liturgy."
The writer further adds, that he was informed the Calves 1
Head Club was kept in no fixed house, but that they
removed as they thought convenient. The place where
they met, when his informant was with them, " was in a
blind alley near Moorfields, where an axe hung up in
the club-room, was reverenced as the principal symbol.
Their bill of fare was, a large dish of calves heads, dressed
several ways, by which they represented the king; a large
pike, with a small one in its mouth, as an emblem of his
tyranny ; a large cod s head, by which they pretended to
represent the person of the king ; and a boar s head, with
an apple in its mouth, to represent the king as bestial, as
by their other hieroglyphics, they made him foolish and
tyrannical. After the repast was over, one of the elders
presented an Icon Bat-Hike, which was, with great so
lemnity, burnt upon the table whilst the anthems were
singing. After this, another produced MILTON S Defensio
Populi Anglicani, upon which all of them laid their hands,
and made a protestation in the form of an oath, for ever
to stand by and maintain the same. The company only
consisted of Independents, and Anabaptists, and the famous
Jeremy White, formerly chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, who
no doubt came to sanctify the club with his pious ex
hortations, said grace. After the table-cloth was removed,
the anniversary anthem, as they impiously called it, was
sung, and a caffs skull filled with wine, or other liquor,
and then a brimmer, went about to the pious memory of
those worthy patriots who had killed the tyrant, and
relieved their country from his arbitrary sway; and lastly,
a collection was made for the mercenary scribbler, to
which every man contributed according to his zeal."*
* This " mercenary scribbler," DlJNTON says, was a " Mr. Benjamin
Bridgemater, of Trinity College, Cambridge. IJ is genius was very rich, and
ran much upon poetry, in which lie excelled. But, alas ! in the issue, wine,
and lovf, were the ruin of this ingenious gentleman."
Although no reliance is to be placed on the faithful
ness of IPar(Fs narrative, yet, in the frightful mind of a
high-flying church-man, the caricature would easily pass
for a likeness. It is probable, that the persons thus col
lected together, although in a manner dictated by bad
taste, and outrageous to humanity, would have confined
themselves to the ordinary methods of eating and drinking,
if it had not been for the ridiculous farce so generally acted
by the royalists upon the same day. The trash that issued
from the pulpit in this reign, upon the 30th of January, was
such as to excite the worst passions in the hearers. No
thing can exceed the grossness of language employed upon
these occasions. Forgetful even of common decorum, the
speakers ransacked the vocabulary of the vulgar, for terms
of vituperation, and hurled their anathemas with wrath
and fury against the objects of their hatred. The terms
rebel, and fanatic, were so often upon their lips, that they
became the reproach of honest men, who preferred the
scandal, to the slavery they attempted to establish. Those
who could prophane the pulpit with so much rancour, in
the support of senseless theories, and deal it out to the
people for religion, had little reason to complain of a few
absurd men, who mixed politics and calves head at a
tavern ; and still less to brand a whole religious community
with their actions.
See WILSON S " Life and Times of De Foe.
APPENDIX D. Page 121.
DISTURBANCES IN THE PARSONAGE-HOUSE.
THE RECTOR OF EPXVORTH S account of the Noises
find Disturbances in the Parsonage-house, is as follows :
" In December, 1716, my children and servants heard
many strange noises, groans, <tc. in most of the rooms of
my house. But hearing nothing of them myself, they
would not tell me. When the noise increased, and the
family could not further conceal it, they told me. My
daughters Susanna and Ann were below stairs, and heard a
knocking, first at the doors, then over their heads, and the
night after under their feet. The maid servant heard
groans as of a dying man. My daughter Emilia coming
down stairs to draw up the clock, and lock the doors at
ten at night, as usual, heard, under the staircase, a sound
ing among some bottles, as if they had been dashed to
pieces. Something, like the steps of a man, was heard
going up and down stairs, at all hours of the night. My
man, who lay in the garret, heard some one glaring
through it, and rattling as if against his shoes; at other
times walking up and down stairs, and gobbling like a
turkey-cock. Noises were heard in the nursery, and in
other chambers; my wife would have persuaded them it
was rats, till at last we heard several loud knocks in our
own chamber, on my side of the bed. On Sunday morn
ing, the twenty-third of December, about seven, my
daughter Emilia called her mother into the nursery, and
told her she might now hear the noise there. She went
in, and heard it at the bedstead, then under the bed, then
at the head of it. She knocked, and it answered her. She
looked under the bed, and thought that something ran
from thence, like unto a badger. The next night but one
we were awaked by the noises. I rose, and my wife would
rise with me. We went into every chamber, and gene
rally as we went into one room, we heard it in that
behind us. When we were going down stairs, we heard,
as Emilia had done before, a clashing among the bottles,
as if they had been broken all to pieces, and another sound
distinct from it, as if a peck of money had been thrown
down before us. The same, three of my daughters heard
at another time. We went through the hall into the
kitchen, when our mastiff came whining to us, as he did
always after the first night of its coming ; for then he
barked violently, but was silent afterwards.
" Wednesday night, December 26, a little before ten,
my daughter Emilia heard the signal of its beginning: it
was like the strong winding up of a jack. She called us;
and I went into the nursery, when it began with knocking
in the kitchen underneath. I went down stairs, and struck
my stick against the joists. It answered me as often, and
as loud as I struck ; but when I knocked as T usually do
at my door, 1 2 345 6 7, this puzzled it, and it did not
answer. I went up stairs and heard it still, though with
some respite. I observed my children were frightened
in their sleep, and trembled very much, till it awaked them.
I stayed there alone, bid them go to sleep, and sat on the
bed s side by them, when the noise began again. I asked
it what it was, and why it disturbed innocent children, and
did not come to me in my study, if it had any thing to say.
I went out of doors, sometimes alone, at other times with
company, and walked round the house, but could see or
hear nothing. Several nights the latch of our lodging-room
would be lifted up when we were in bed. One night, when
the noise was great in the kitchen, the latch whereof was
often lifted up, my daughter Emilia went and held it fast on
the outside : but it was still lifted up, and the door pushed
violently against her, though nothing was to be seen on the
outside. When we were at prayers, and came to the prayer
for the king and the prince, it would make a great noise
over our heads, whence some of the family called it a
Jacobite. I have been thrice pushed by an invisible power.
I followed the noise into almost every room of the house,
both by day and night, with lights and without, and have
sat alone for some time, and when I heard the noise, spoke
to it to tell me what it was, but never heard any articulate
voice, and only once or twice two or three feeble squeaks,
a little louder than the chirping of a bird.
" I had designed, on Friday, December the 28th, to
make a visit to a friend, and stay some days with him :
but the noises were so boisterous on Thursday night, that
I would not leave my family. So I sent to Mr. Hoole,
and desired his company on Friday night. He came; and
it began after ten, a little later than usual. The younger
children were gone to bed, the rest of the family and Mr.
Hoole were together in the matted chamber. I sent the
servants to fetch in some fuel, and staid in the kitchen till
they returned. When they were gone, I heard a loud
noise against the doors and partition. It was much like
the turning of a windmill when the wind changes. When
the servants came in, I went up to the company, who had
heard the noises below, but not the signal. We heard all
the knocking as usual, from one chamber to another, but
from that time till January the 24th, we were quiet. Hav
ing received a letter from my son Samuel the day before,
relating to it, I read what I had written to my family ; and,
next day, at morning prayer, the family heard the usual
knocks. At night they were more distinct, both in the
prayer for the king, and that for the prince; and one very
loud knock at the amen was heard by my wife, and most
of my children. I heard nothing myself. After nine,
Robert Brown, sitting alone by the fireside in the back
kitchen, something came out of the copper hole like a
rabbit, but less, and turned round five times very swiftly..
Its ears lay flat upon its neck, and its little scut stood
erect. He ran after it with the tongues in his hands:
but when he could find nothing, he was frighted, and went
to the maid in the parlour. On Friday, the 25th, having
prayers at church, I shortened, as usual, those in the.
family at morning, omitting the confession and prayers for
the king and prince. I observed, when this is done, there
2 R 2
is no knocking. I therefore used them one morning for
a trial ; at the name of the king, it began to knock, and did
the same when I prayed for the prince. This affair would
make a glorious penny book for Jack Dunton, but whilst
I live, I am not ambitious of any thing of that nature."
MRS. WESLEY gives the following account of the Dis
turbances to her son Samuel.
"January 12, 1717.
" The reason of our fears is as follows :
On the first of December our maid heard, at the door of
the dining room, several dismal groans, like a person at
the point of death. We gave little heed to her relation,
and endeavoured to laugh her out of her fears. Some
nights after, several of the family heard strange noises in
divers places, usually three or four knocks at a time. This
continued for a fortnight ; sometimes it was in the garret,
but more commonly in the nursery, or green chamber. We
all heard it but your father, and I was not willing he should
be informed of it, lest he should fancy it was against his own
death, which, indeed, we all apprehended. But when it
began to be so troublesome, both day and night, that few
of the family durst be alone, I resolved to tell him, being
minded he should speak to it. At first he would not believe
but that somebody did it to alarm us ; but the night after,
as soon as he was in bed. it knocked loudly nine times, just
by his bedside. He rose, and went to see if he could find
out what it was, but could see nothing. One night it made
a noise in the room over our heads as if several people were
walking, then ran up and down stairs, and was so outra
geous, that we thought the children would be frighted ; so
your father and I arose, and went down in the dark to light
a candle. Just as we came to the bottom of the broad
stairs, having hold of each other, on my side there seemed
as if somebody had emptied a bag of money at my feet ;
and on his, as if all the bottles under the stairs had been
dashed in pieces.
" The next night your father would get Mr. Hoole to
lie at our house, and we all sat together till one or two
o clock in the morning, and heard the knocking as usual.
Sometimes it would make a noise like the winding up of a
jack; at other times, as that night Mr. Hoole was with us,
like a carpenter planing deals. We persuaded your father
to speak, and try if any voice could be heard. One night,
about six o clock, he went into the nursery in the dark, and
at first heard several groans, then knocking. He adjured it
to speak if it bad power, and tell him why it troubled his
house, but no voice was heard, audit knocked thrice aloud.
Then he questioned it if it were Sammy ; and bid it, if it
were, and could not speak, to knock again ; but it did no
more that night, which made us hope it was not against
your death. Thus it continued till the 28th of December,
when it loudly knocked in the nursery, (as your father used
to do at the gate) and departed. We have various con
jectures what this may mean. For my own part, I fear
nothing now that you are safe at London, and I hope God
will still preserve you. Though sometimes I am inclined to
think my brother is dead. Let me know your thoughts
on it. SUSANNA WESLEY."
Miss EMILIA WESLEY, the eldest daughter, thus writes
to her brother Samuel in reference to the Disturbances.
" I thank you for your last ; and shall give
you what satisfaction is in my power, concerning Jeffrey.
I am so far from being superstitious, that I was too much
inclined to infidelity. I shall only tell you what I myself
heard, and leave the rest to others. My sisters had heard
noises, and told me of them; but I did not much believe,
till one night, about a week after when groans were heard,
just after the clock had struck ten, and I went down stairs
to lock the doors : scarcely had I got up the best stairs,
when I heard a noise, like a person throwing down a vast
coal in the middle of the kitchen. I was not much frighted,
but went to my sister Sufcey, and we together went all
over the low rooms, but there was nothing out of order.
" Our dog was fast asleep, and our only cat at the other
end of the house. No sooner was I got up stairs, and un
dressing for bed, than I heard a noise among many bottles
that stand under the best stairs, just like the throwing of a
great stone among them. This made me hasten to bed;
but my sister Hetty who always waited on my father going
to bed, was still sitting on the lowest step of the garret
stairs, the door being shut at her back, when there came
down the stairs, something like unto a man in a loose night
gown trailing after him, which made her fly, rather than
run, to me in the nursery. All this time we never told our
father of it ; but soon after we did. He smiled, and gave
no answer, but was more careful than usual, from that
time, to see us in bed, imagining it to be some of us young
women that sat up late, and made a noise. His incredulity,
and especially his imputing it to us, or our lovers, made
me desirous of its continuance till he was convinced. As
for my mother, she firmly believed it to be rats, and sent
for a horn to blow them away. I laughed to think how
wisely they were employed, who were striving half a day
1o fright away Jeffrey, for that name I gave it, with a horn.
But whatever it was, I perceived it could be made angry.
From that time it was so outrageous, there was no quiet
for us after ten at night. I heard frequently between ten
and eleven something like the quick winding up of a jack,
at the corner of the room by my bed s head. This was
the common signal of its coming. Then it would knock
on the floor three times, and afterwards at my sister s
bed s head in the same room, almost always three together.
The sound was hollow and loud, so as none of us could
ever imitate. It would answer to my mother, if she
stamped with her foot on the floor. It would knock when
I was putting the children to bed, just under me where I
sat. One time little Kezzt/, pretending to scare Patty, as
I was undressing them, stamped with her foot on the floor,
and immediately it answered with three knocks, just in the
same place. It was more loud and fierce if we said it was
rats, or any thing natural.
" I could tell you abundance more of it ; but the rest
will write, and therefore it would be needless. It was
never near me, except two or three times; and never fol
lowed me, as it did my sister Hetty. I have been with her
when it has knocked under her, and when she has removed,
has followed, and still kept under her feet. Besides, some
thing was thrice seen. The first time by my mother, under
my sister s bed, like a badger. The same creature was sat
by the dining room fire one evening; when our man went
into the room, it ran by him, through the hall. He fol
lowed with a candle and searched, but it was gone. The
last time he saw it in the kitchen, it was like a white rabbit.
I would venture to fire a pistol at it, if I saw it long enough.
" EMILIA WESLEY."
There are other details of the noises and disturbances
by several of the elder Sisters to their brothers, Samuel and
John ; and also a Narrative drawn up by Mr. John Wesley,
that appeared in the " Arminian Magazine" several years
ago, which last we here insert.
"When I went down to Epworth" says he, "in the
year 1720, I carefully inquired into the particulars of the
strange Disturbances at the Parsonage-house. I spoke to
each of the persons who were then living, and had heard
the noises, and took down what they could testify. The
sum of which was this. "Dec. 2, 1716, while Robert Brown,
fny father s servant, was sitting with one of the maids
about ten at night, in the dining room, they heard a knock
ing at the door. Robert rose and opened it, but could see
nobody. Quickly it knocked again, and groaned. It is
Mr. Turpine, said Robert, he has the stone, and used to
groan so. He opened the door again twice or thrice, the
knocking being repeated. But still seeing nothing, he
went to bed. When Robert came to the top of the great
stairs, he saw a hand-mill, which was at a little distance,
whirled about very swiftly. When he related this, he said,
nought vexed me, but that it was empty. I thought if
it had been full of malt, he might have ground his heart
out for me. When he was in bed he heard, as it were, the
gobbling of a turkey cock, close to his bed-side ; and soon
after, the sound of one stumbling over his shoes and boots,
but there were none, he had left them below. The next
day, he and the maid related these things to the other
maid, who laughed heartily, and said, what a couple of
fools are you ! I defy any thing to frighten me. After
churning in the evening, she put the butter in the tray, and
had no sooner carried it into the dairy, than she heard a
knocking on the shelf where several pancheons of milk
stood, first above the shelf, then below. She took the can
dle and searched both above and below; but being able to
find nothing, threw down butter, tray and all, and ran
away. The next evening, between five and six o clock, my
sister Molly, then about twenty years of age, sitting in the
dining room, reading, heard the door that leads into the
hall open, and a person walking in, that seemed to have on
a silk night-gown, rustling and trailing along. It appeared
to walk round her, and then to the door : but she could see
nothing. So she rose, put her book under her arm, and
walked slowly away. After supper, she was sitting with
my sister Sukey, (about a year older,) in one of the cham
bers, and telling her what had happened, she quite made
light of it; saying, I wonder you are so easily frightened ;
I would fain see what could frighten me. Presently a
knocking began under the table. She took the candle and
looked, but could find nothing. The iron casement began
to clatter, and the lid of a warming pan. Next, the latch
of the door began to move up and down without ceasing.
She started up, leaped into the bed without undressing,
pulled the bed clothes over her head, and never ventured to
look up till morning. A night or two after, my sister
Hetty, a year younger than Molly, was waiting, as usual,
between nine and ten, to take away my father s candle,
when she heard one coming down the garret stairs,
walking slowly. At every step, the house seemed shook
from top to bottom. Just then my father called. She went
in, took his caudle, and got to bed as fast as possible. In
the morning, she told this to my eldest sister, who said,
you know I believe none of these things. Pray let me
take away the candle to-night, and I will find out the
trick. She accordingly took my sister Hetty s place ; and
had no sooner taken away the candle, than she heard a
noise below. She hastened down stairs to the hall, where
the noise was. But it was then in the kitchen. She ran
into the kitchen, where it was drumming on the inside of
the screen. When she went round, it was drumming on
the outside. Then she heard a knocking at the back
ktchen door. She ran to it ; unlocked it softly ; and when
the knocking was repeated, suddenly opened it : but nothing
was to be seen. As soon as she had shut it, the knocking
began again. She opened it again, but could see nothing :
when she went to shut the door, it was violently thrust
against her : but she set her knee to the door, forced it too,
and turned the key. Then the noise began again : but
she let it go on, and went up to bed.
" The next morning my sister telling my mother what
had happened, she said, If I hear any thing myself, I shall
know how to judge. Soon after, Emilia begged her mother
to come into the nursery. She did, and heard in a corner
of the room, as it were the violent rocking of a cradle.
She was convinced it was preternatural, and earnestly
prayed it might not disturb her in her chamber at the
hours of retirement: and it never did. She now thought
it was proper to tell my father. He was extremely angry,
and said, Siikey, I am ashamed of you : these girls frighten
one another ; but you are a woman of sense, and should
know better. Let me hear of it no more. At six in the
evening, we had family prayers as usual. When my father
began the prayer for the king, a knocking commenced all
round the room ; and a thundering one attended the Amen.
The same was heard from this time every morning and
evening, while the prayer for the king was repeated.
" Being informed that Ma. HOOLE, the vicar of Haxey
near Epworth, a very sensible man, could give me some
further information, I walked over to him. He said,
* Robert Brown came and told me your father desired my
company. When I went, he gave me an account of all that
had happened; particularly the knocking during family
prayer. But that evening (to my great satisfaction) we
had no knocking during prayer. But between nine and
ten o clock, a servant came in and said, Old Jeffrey is
coming, for I hear the signal. This, they informed me
was heard every night about a quarter before ten. It
was at the top of the house on the outside, and resem
bled the loud creaking of a saw : or rather that of a wind
mill, when the body of it is turned about. We then heard
a knocking over our heads, and Mr. Wesley catching up a
candle, said, come, Sir, now you shall hear for yourself.
We went up stairs, he with much hope and I (to say the
truth) with much/ear. When we came into the nursery,
it was knocking in the next room ; when we were there, it
was knocking in the nursery. And there it continued to
knock, though we came in, particularly at the head of the
bed in which Miss Hetty and two of her sisters lay. Mr.
Wesley, observing that they were much affected, though
asleep, sweating and trembling exceedingly, was angry,
pulled out a pistol, and was going to fire at the place from
whence the sound came, but I caught his arm, and
said, Sir, you are convinced this is something preterna
tural. If so, you cannot hurt it: but you give it power to
hurt you. He then went close to the phice, and said
sternly, thou deaf and dumb devil, why dost thou frighten
these children? Come to me in my study, that am a man.
Instantly it gave the particular knock which your father
uses at the gate, as if it would shiver the board in pieces.
" Till this, my father had not heard the least dis
turbance in his study. But the next evening, as he went
into it, the door was thrust against him. Presently there
was knocking in the next room where my sister Nancy was.
He went into that room, and adjured it to speak; but in
vain. He then said these spirits love darkness: put out
the candle, and perhaps it will speak : she did so; and he
repeated his adjuration; but still there was no articulate
sound. Upon this, he said, Nancy, go downstairs ; itmay
be, when I am alone, it will have courage to speak.
When she was gone, a thought struck him, if thou art
the spirit of my son Samuel, I pray, knock thrice, but not
oftener. Immediately all was silence ; and there was no
more noise that night. I asked my sister Nancy whether
she was not afraid. She answered, yes, when the candle
was put out ; but was not so in the day-time, when it fol
lowed her, as she swept the chambers, and seemed to sweep
after her. Only she thought he might have done it for her.
By this time all my sisters were so frequently accus
tomed to these noises, that they gave them little disturb
ance. A gentle tapping at their bed-head usually began
between nine and ten at night. They then commonly said
to each other, Jeffrey is coming : it is time to go to sleep." 1
And if they beard a noise during the day, they said lo
their youngest sister, hark, Kezzy, Jeffrey is knocking
above, 1 she would then run up stairs, and pursue it from
room to room, saying, it was a nice diversion.
"A few nights after, my father and mother were just
gone to bed, and the candle was not taken away, when
they heard three blows, as it were with a large staff, struck
upon a chest which stood by the bed-side. My father im
mediately arose, put on his night gown, and hearing great
noises below, took the candle and went down : my mother
walked by his side. As they went down the stairs, they
heard as if a vessel full of silver was poured upon my mother s
breast. Soon after there was a noise as if a large iron ball
was thrown among the bottles under the stairs : and the
mastiff dog came and ran to shelter himself between them.
After two or three days, the dog used to tremble, and
creep away before the noise began. A little before my
father and mother came into the hall, it seemed as if
a large coal was violently thrown upon the floor, and
dashed in pieces: but nothing was seen. My father then
cried out, Sukey, do you not hear ? All the pewter is
thrown about the kitchen. 1 But when they looked, the
pewter stood in its place. There was then a very loud
knocking at the back-door. My father opened it, but saw
nothing. It was then at the fore-door. He opened that ;
but it was still lost labour. After opening first the one,
then the other several times, he went up to bed. But
the noises were so violent all over the house, that he
could not sleep till four in the morning.
" Several gentlemen and clergymen now earnestly
advised my father to quit the house. But he constantly
answered, no : let the devil flee from me : I will never
flee from the devil. 1 But he wrote to my eldest brother at
London to come down, who was preparing to do so, when
another letter went, informing him that the disturbances
were over; after they had continued from the second of
December 1716, to the end of January, 1717."
Anglesea, Arthur, Earl of, 32, 35, 218.
Anglesea, Countess of, 60.
Anuesley, Francis, Esquire, 32 note.
ANNESLEY, DR. SAMUEL, Life of, 32, 88, 114, 153.
ANNESLEY, SAMUEL, JUN., Life of, 43.
Annesley, Miss Elizabeth, Life of, 50, see MRS. DUNTON.
Annesley, Miss Judith, her character, 64.
Annesley, Miss Anne, her character, 65.
Annesley, Miss Susanna, see MRS. SUSANNA WESLEY.
Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, 107 note, 183 note.
Bates, Dr. William, 36 note, 38.
Baxter, Richard, 6, 10, 12, 40, 217.
Berry, Mr., Vicar of East Down, Devon, 216.
Berry Mr., Vicar of Whatton, 216 note.
Beverley, R. M. Esquire, 83 note.
Bradbury, Thomas, 276.
Burnet, Bishop Gilbert, 3, 18, 32, 107 note.
CALAMY, DR. EDMUND, 6, 14, 16, 20, 30, 34, 36 note,41,
Carter, Mrs. Elizabeth, 242.
Charles I., 82, 87.
Charles II., 2, 14, 17.
Clarendon, Lord, 2, 5 note, 17 note, 18, 82 note.
Crowther, Mr. Jonathan, 233 note.
CLARKE, DR. ADAM, 1, 9, 29, 44, 71, 87, 92, 105, 119, 129,
132, 144, 150, 153, 174, 178, 197, 210, 212. 255, 263.
Cromwell, Oliver, 35.
De Foe, Daniel, 36, 84, 277.
Dover, Lord, 82 note.
Duncombe, Mr. William, 242.
DUNTON, JOHN, 36, 37, 50, 55, 64, 65, 84, 85, 89, 90, 92, 93.
DUNTON, MRS., Life of, 50, 81.
Elliot, Mr. (the apostle of the Indians,) 37.
ELLISON, MRS., Life of, 231.
Eupolis Hymn to the Creator, 135144.
Fuller, Dr. Thomas, 20, 170.
Grey, Dr. Zachary, 208.
HALL, MRS., Life of, 250.
Hampden, John, 6.
Halyburton, Mr. Thomas, 194 note.
HARPER, MRS., Life of, 219.
Haselrigg, Sir Arthur, 23 note.
Heber, Bishop Reginald, 6 note.
Hoole, Mr., Vicar of Haxey, 110, 287.
Howe, John, 6, 19, 36 note, 38.
Hutton, Mrs., 192.
Ince, Mr., 28 note.
Ironside, Bishop of Bristol, 20.
James II, 14, 91.
Johnson, Dr. Samuel, 260.
King, Dr. William, 206 note.
LAMBERT, MRS., Life of, 229.
Locke, John, 3, 18.
Manton, Dr. Thomas, 43.
Maryborough, Duke of, 95.
Marvell, Andrew, 270.
Mary, Queen to William III, 91.
Milton, John, 278.
MOORE, MR. HENRY, 44, 93, 109, 176, 256.
Morton, Mr. Charles, 80, 84.
Normanby, Marquis of, 89, 94.
Northampton, Countess of, 98, 99, 100.
Oglethorpe, General, 126.
Oldmixon, Mr., 276.
Oxford, Lord, 125, 206.
Owen, Dr. John, 6, 18, 19.
Pitt, Christopher, 197.
Pepys, Samuel, 3, 12, 17.
Pope, Alexander, 95 note, 147, 204.
Person, Professor, 146.
Priestley, Dr. Joseph, 120, 121.
Rogers, Mr. Timothy, 58.
Sacheverell, Dr. Henry, 28 note, 86, 107 note.
Sault, Mr. Richard, 93 note.
SHARP, ARCHBISHOP of YORK, 95, 101, 105, 108, 121.
Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury, 2, 3, 4.
Silvester, Mr. Matthew, 53.
Southey, Dr. Robert, 170, 195.
Sprat, Bishop of Rochester, 182.
Taylor, Dr. John, 7.
Thoresby, Ralph, 121.
Tillotsou, Archbishop, 38 note, 94, 171.
Veal, Mr. Edward, 80 note.
Walpole, Sir Robert, 184.
Ward, Ned, 277.
Watson, Mr. Richard, 148, 171, 176.
Watts, Dr. Isaac, 95 note, 210, 214.
WESLEY, BARTHOLOMEW, Life of, 15.
WESLEY, JOHN, near of Whitchurcli^ Life of, 19.
WESLEY, MATTHEW, Life of, 66, 114, 255.
WESLEY, SAMUEL, Rector of Epworth, 72, Life of, 80,
123, 129, 188, 279.
WESLEY, MKS. SUSANNA, 44, 110, Life of, 152, 282.
WESLEY, SAMUEL, JUN., Life of, 179, 230.
WESLEY, MR. JOHN, 2, 14 note, 38, 44, 89, 91, 92, 109,
112, 129, 135, 161, 171, 188, 233, 261, 284.
WESLEY, MR. CHARLES, 129, 148 note, 176, 250, 252.
W-.-iey, Miss Emilia, see MRS. HARPER.
y, Miss Mary, see MRS. WHITELAMB.
.." i. ai ey, Miss Anne, see MRS. LAMBERT.
Wesley, Miss Susanna, see MRS. ELLISON.
Wesley, Miss Mehetabel, see MRS. WRIGHT.
Wesley, Miss Martha, see MRS. HALL.
WESLEY, Miss KEZZIA, 50, Life of, 265.
White, Mr. Jeremy, 14, 28.
Whitehead, Dr. 30, 214.
WHITELAMB, MRS., Life of, 224.
Whitfield, Mr., 172, 195.
Williams, Dr. Daniel, 39, 40.
Wilkins, Bishop, 13.
Wilson, Mr. Walter, 85.
Wood, Anthony, 17, 18, 34, 209.
Wordsworth, Dr., 26 note.
WRIGHT, MRS., 78, 135, 222, 225, Life of, 233.
r oung, Dr. Edward, 82 note.
HLNRY SI-INK, PRINTKK, LEEDS.
LATELY PUBLISHED BY THE SAME AUTHOR,
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