John Wesley's Letters From Ireland

John Wesley

Return to Documents page
Return to main page
Links to websites on Ireland in the late eighteenth century

Who was John Wesley?

John Wesley at Wikipedia
John Wesley at Spartacus Schoolnet
John Wesley in Dublin

The Letters of John Wesley from Ireland

March 1747 or 1748, Dublin
August 1747, Dublin
April 1750, Dublin
July 1752, Dublin
August 1752, Athlone
April 13th 1756, Dublin
April 19th 1756, Dublin
June 1758, Castlebar
June 1762, Cork
May 1766, Sligo
May 1767, Cork
June 1767, Sligo
April 1769, Armagh
April 1770, Whitehaven
May 1771, Cork
May 1783, Dublin
April 1785, Dublin
May 1785, Cork
June 1785, Killeman, near Armagh
June 1785, Dublin
June 1785, Athlone
June 1787, Londonderry
July 1787, Dublin
June 1789, Dublin

March 15th, 1747-8


I have enquired of several, but cannot yet hear of any such merchant as Mr. John Warr in Dublin. A gentleman informed me this morning that there was one of that name, but he has been dead for many years. I suppose this cannot be the same person to whom Mr. Belchier’s letter is directed.

We have not found a place yet that will suit us for building. Several we have heard of, and seen some; but they are all leasehold land, and I am determined to have freehold, if it is to be had in Dublin; otherwise we must lie at the mercy of our landlord whenever the lease is to be renewed.

I find the engaging, though but a little, in these temporal affairs, is apt to damp and deaden the soul; and there is no remedy, but continual prayer. What, then, but the mighty power of God can keep your soul alive, who are engaged all the day long with such a multiplicity of them? It is well that his grace is sufficient for you. But do you not find need to pray always? And if you cannot always say, -

“My hands are but employ’d below,
My heart is still with thee;”

Is there not the more occasion for some season of solemn retirement, (if it were possible, every day,) wherein you may withdraw your mind from earth, and even the accounts between God and your own soul? I commend you and yours to His continual protection; and am, dear Sir,

Your affectionate servant.

I suppose my brother will be with you almost as soon as this.


August 13th, 1747


I have found a home in this strange land. I am at Mr. Lunell’s just as at the Foundery; only that I have not such attendance here; for I meet the people at another part of the town. For natural sweetness of temper, for courtesy and hospitality, I have never seen any people like the Irish. Indeed, all I converse with are only English transplanted into another soil; and they are much mended by the removal, having left all their roughness and surliness behind them.

They receive the word of God with all gladness and readiness of mind. The danger is, that it should not take deep root; that it should be as seed falling on stony ground. But is there not the same danger in England also? Do not you find it in London? You have received the word with joy; and it begins to spring up; but how soon may it wither away! It does not properly take root till we are convinced of inward sin; till we begin to feel the entire corruption of our nature. I believe, sometimes you have found a little of this. But you are in the hands of a good Physician; who, if you give yourself up to his guidance, will not only wound, but also make whole.

Mr. Lunell and his family desire their best respects to Mrs. Blackwell and you. His daughter can rejoice in God her Saviour. They propose to spend the winter in England.

I am, dear Sir,
Your affectionate servant.


April 12th 1750


I doubt you are in great deal more danger from honour than from dishonour. So it is with me. I always find there is more hazard in sailing upon smooth water. When the winds blow, and the seas rage, even the sleepers will rise and call upon God.

From Newcastle to London, and from London to Bristol, God is everywhere reviving his work. I find it is so now in Dublin; although there has been great imprudence in some, whereby grievous wolves have lately crept in amongst us, not sparing the flock; by whom some souls have been  utterly destroyed, and others wounded, who are not yet recovered. Those who ought to have stood in the gap did not; but I trust they will be wiser for the time to come. After a season, I think it will be highly expedient for you to labour in Ireland again. Mr. Lunell has been on the brink of the grave by a fever. Yesterday we had hopes of his recovery. I see a danger you are in, which perhaps you do not see yourself. Is it not most pleasing to me, as well as you, to be always preaching of the love of God? And is there not a time when we are peculiarly led thereto, and find a peculiar blessing therein? Without doubt, so it is. But yet it would be utterly wrong and unscriptural to preach of nothing else. Let the law always prepare for the Gospel. I scarce ever spoke more earnestly here of the love of God in Christ than last night: but it was after I had been tearing the unawakened in pieces. Go thou and do likewise. It is true, the love of God in Christ alone feeds his children; but even they are to be guided as well as fed; yea, and often physicked too: and the bulk of our hearers must be purged before they are fed; else we only feed the disease. Beware of all honey. It is the best extreme; but it is an extreme.

I am
Your affectionate brother.

July 20th, 1752


Finding no ship ready to sail, either at Bristol or Chester, we at length came back to Whitehaven, and embarked on Monday last. It is generally a passage of four-and-twenty-hours; but the wind continuing contrary all the cay, we did not reach this place till Friday evening. My wife and Jenny were extremely sick, particularly when we had a rolling sea; but a few days, I trust, will restore their strength. They are already much better than when they landed.

Last month a large mob assaulted the new house here, and did considerable damage. Several of the rioters were committed to Newgate. The bills were found against them all, and they were tried ten days since; but, is spite of the clearest evidence, a packed Jury brought them in, Not guilty. I believe, however, the very apprehension and trial of them has struck a terror into their companions. We now enjoy great quietness, and can even walk unmolested through the principal streets in Dublin.

I apprehend my brother is not at all desirous of having those copies transferred to him. I cannot easily determine till I have full information concerning the several particulars you touch upon, whether it be expedient to make such an alteration (though it would easy me much, ) or to let all things remain just as they are. Therefore, I believe it will be best to take no farther step till I return to London.

I am fully persuaded, if you had always one or two faithful friends near you, who would speak the very truth from their heart, and watch over you in love, you would swiftly advance in running the race which is set before you. I am afraid you was [sic] not forwarded by one who was in town lately; neither was that journey of any service to his own soul. He has not brought back less indolence and gentle inactivity than he carried to London. O how far from the spirit of a good soldier of Jesus Christ, who desires only “to be flead alive, and to conquer!”  Our best wishes attend both Mrs. Blackwell, Mrs. Dewal, and yourself.

I am, dear Sir,
Your most affectionate servant.

August 8th, 1752



I almost wonder that I hear not one word from you since the trial at Gloucester. Either Mr. I’anson, or some one else, should have wrote by the next post. Does every one forget me, as soon as we have the sea between us?

Some of our Preachers here have peremptorily affirmed that you are not so strict as me; that you neither practise, nor enforce, nor approve of, the Rules of the Bands. I suppose they mean those which condemn needless self-indulgence, and recommend the means of grace, fasting in particular; which is well nigh forgotten throughout this nation. I think it would be of use, if you wrote without delay, and explain yourself at large.

They have likewise openly affirmed that you agree with Mr. Whitefield, touching perseverance at least, if not predestination too. Is it not highly expedient that you should write explicitly and strongly on this head likewise?

Perhaps the occasion of this latter affirmation was, that both you and I have often granted an absolute, unconditional election of some, together with a conditional election of all men. I did incline to this scheme for many years: but of late I have doubted of it more and more: first, because all the texts which I used to think supported it, I now think prove either more or less; either absolute reprobation and election, or neither. Secondly, because I find this opinion serves all the ill purposes of absolute predestination; particularly that of supporting infallible perseverance. Talk with any that holds it, and so you will find.

On Friday and Saturday next is our little Conference at Limerick. I hope my sister feels herself in a good hand, and that you can trust Him with her, and all things. We join in love.


April 13th, 1756

But if you find such a surprising alteration at Bonner’s Hall, what need have you of removing to Bristol? Perhaps a lodging there might answer the purpose of health full as well as one at Clifton; and the purpose of religion considerably better. There are few in that neighbourhood from whom I should hope you would receive much profit, except Sarah Ryan. If she abides in her integrity, she is a jewel indeed; one whose equal I have not yet found in England.

You ought not to drink much tea; and none without pretty much cream (not milk) and sugar. But I believe, were you to drink nettle-tea for a few mornings, it would do you more good than any other. It seems best for you to have frequent returns of weakness: it may be needful to fix seriousness upon your spirit, by a lasting impression, that there is but one step between you and eternity. But sickness alone will not do this; no, nor even the near approach of death. Unless the Spirit of God sanctify both, a man may laugh or trifle with his last breath.

You will overcome trifling conversation, and the fear of man, not by yielding, but by fighting. This is a cross which you cannot be excused from taking up: bear it, and it will bear you. By prayer you will receive power so to do, to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. But it is more difficult to resist hurtful desire: I am most afraid you should give way to this. Herein you have need of all the power of God. O stand fast! Look up, and receive strength! I shall be glad to hear that you are more than conqueror, and that you daily grow in the vital knowledge of Christ. Peace be with your spirit.

I am
Your affectionate servant.

April 19th, 1756


While you in England are under I know not that apprehensions, all here are as safe as if they were already in paradise. We have no fortifying of sea-ports; no military preparations; but all is in absolute peace and safety. Both high and low seem fully persuaded that the whole talk of an invasion is only a trick to get money.

I dined at Mrs. Moreland’s last week, and promised to drink tea with her this evening. She has been at the preaching several times, and desires much to be remembered to Mrs. Blackwell and you. She seems to have a liking to the Gospel. It may sink deeper. There is nothing too hard for God.

I hope Mrs. Blackwell and you are improving to the utmost these days of tranquillity. I purpose going to Cork directly; and after two or three weeks turning back toward the north of Ireland. If it please God that troublous times come between the design and the execution, I shall go as far as I can go, and no farther. But I take no thought for the morrow. To-day I am determined, by His grace, to do the work of Him that sent me. I find encouragement so to do; for all the people here are athirst for the word of life.

I am, dear Sir,
Your affectionate servant.

Do you at London believe that the danger of an invasion is over?


June 5th, 1758


I have learned, by the grace of God, in every state to be content. What a peace do we find in all circumstances, when we can say, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt!”

I have now gone through the greatest part of this kingdom: Leinster, Ulster, and the greater half of Connaught. Time only is wanting. If my brother could take care of England, and give me but one year for Ireland, I think every corner of this nation would receive the truth as it is in Jesus. They want only to hear it; and they will hear me, high and low, rich and poor. What a mystery of Providence is this! In England they may hear, but they will not. In Ireland they fain would hear, but cannot. So in both, thousands perish for lack of knowledge. So much the more blessed are your ears, for they hear; if you not only hear the word of God, but keep it.

I hope you find public affairs changing for the better. In this corner of the world we know little about them; only we are told that the great little King in Moravia is not swallowed up yet.

Till near the middle of next month I expect to be at Mr. Beauchamp’s in Limerick. I hope you have a fruitful season in every respect. My best wishes attend you all.

I am, dear Sir,
Your affectionate servant.

June 18th, 1762


So your labour has not been in vain. I shall expect an account of the remaining part of your journey too. And you will be able to inform me of the real character and behaviour of Robert Miller also. I do not rightly understand him. But I see James Kershaw and he do not admire one another.

Pray let me know, as particularly as you can, how William Fuggill has behaved in Scotland; and what has hindered the increase of the work at Edinburgh. I thought the society would have been doubled before now.

I expect to be in Dublin on Saturday, July 24: then Providence will determine how I shall go forward, and whether I am to embark for Parkgate, Liverpool, or Holyhead, in my way to Leeds; where I hope to meet you all on August 10.

I am
Yours affectionately.

I hope you will all exert yourselves in the Midsummer Collection for Kingswood.

May 2nd, 1766


It is a long time since I heard either of you, or from you. I hope you think of me oftener than you write to me. Let us continue in prayer,

“And mountains rise and oceans roll,
To sever us, in vain.”

I frequently find profit in thinking of you, and should be glad if we had more opportunities of conversing together. If a contrary thought arises, take knowledge from whom it comes: you may judge by the fruit of it; for it weakens your hands, and slackens you from being instant in prayer. I am inclined to think I found the effect of your prayer at my very entrance into this kingdom. And here, especially, we have need of every help; for snares are on every side. Who would not, if it could be done with a clear conscience, run out of the world; wherein the very gifts of God, the work of God, yea, his grace itself, in some sense, are all the occasion of temptation?

I hope your little family remains in peace and love, and that your own soul prospers. I doubt only whether you are so useful as you might be. But herein look to the anointing which you have of God, being willing to follow wherever he leads, and it shall teach you of all things.

There is an amazing increase of the work of God within these few months in the north of Ireland. And no wonder; for the five Preachers who have laboured there, are all men devoted to God; men of a single eye, whose whole heart is in the work, and who

“Constantly trample on pleasure and pain.”

Do they gain ground in London? I am afraid [Christian] perfection should be forgotten. Encourage Richard Blackwell and Mr. Colley to speak plainly, and to press believers to the constant pursuit, and earnest expectation, of it. A general faintness, in this respect, is fallen upon this whole kingdom. Sometimes I seem almost weary of striving against the stream both of Preachers and people. See that you all strengthen the hands of,

My dear sisters,
Your affectionate brother.


May 6th, 1767


I am now come to my second station in Ireland: for here we expect to stay seven days; only with a digression of two out of the seven, to Bandon and Kinsale. I know not that I shall spend two whole days in any other place before I return to Dublin. I am glad you are fairly discharged form Oxford; although there is a little seed left there still. When we were there, we profited much by watching continually against “the lust of finishing;” to mortify which, we broke off writing in the middle of a sentence, if not in the middle of word; especially, the moment we heard the chapel-bell ring, or a knock at our door. If nature reclaimed, we remembered the word of the Heathen: Ejicienda est hoec mollities animi. [“This softness of mind must be cast away”].

I am glad there is so good an  understanding among the Preachers: a great deal depends upon it. But I hope you do not forget gentle T. O. May not you venture to give him a hint, that your Hints were incorrectly printed? If he says, “They were written so, I could hardly read them;” you can tell him, “I hope to write the next better.”

Miss Briggs’s spending so much of her time at Shoreham answers an excellent design. It, in a great measure, supplies the want both of Miss Perronet and of her father, whom I remember with sincere affection.

I am, dear Sir,
Your affectionate friend and brother.

June 18th, 1767


Sometimes the children forget the parents; but it is seldom that parents forget their children. I suppose it was the death of honest Paul Greenwood which occasioned the report of yours. He could ill be spared: but he was ready for the Bridegroom; so it was fit he should go to Him.

Michael should take care to be either in Dublin, or in the north of Ireland, before the end of July. If it be possible for him to be a simple, plain main, pretending to nothing but to follow Christ, God will find him employment. And if he walk circumspectly and humbly in Ireland, the people of England will soon be reconciled to him.

I wish you joy of having full employment. You know, the more work the more blessing. There is good work to be done in this kingdom also; and many of our Preachers do it in good earnest. But we want more labourers; especially in the north, where one Preacher is increased into seven! and the people cry aloud for more. But, alas! we can neither make them, nor hire them!

I am, with love to S. Hopper,
Your affectionate friend and brother.

I hope to see you and honest John at the Conference. An exact account of the societies you will bring with you.

April 24th, 1769


I shall now tell you the things which have been more or less upon my mind since I have been in the north of Ireland. If you forget them, you will be a sufferer, and so will the people: if you observe them, it will be good for both.

1. To begin with little things. If you regard your health, touch no supper, but a little milk, or water-gruel. This will entirely, by the blessing of God, secure you from nervous disorders; especially if you rise early every morning, whether you preach or no.

2. Be steadily serious. There is no country upon earth where this is more necessary than Ireland; as you are generally encompassed with those who, with a little encouragement, would laugh or trifle from morning to night.

3. In every town, visit all you can from house to house. I say, “all you can;” for there will be some whom you cannot visit: and if you examine, instruct, reprove, exhort, as need requires, you will have no time hanging on your hands. It is by this means that the societies are increased wherever T. R. goes: he is preaching from morning to night; warning every one, that he may present every one perfect in Christ Jesus.

4. But on this and every occasion, avoid all familiarity with women. This is deadly poison both to them and you. You cannot be too wary in this respect; therefore, begin from this hour.

5. The chief matter of your conversation, as well as your preaching, should doubtless be, the weightier matters of the law. Yet there are several (comparatively) little things which you should earnestly inculcate from time to time; for “he that despiseth small things, shall fall by little and little.” Such are,-

(1.) Be active, be diligent; avoid all laziness, sloth, indolence. Fly from every degree, every appearance, of it; else you will never be more than half a Christian.

(2.) Be cleanly. In this let the Methodists take pattern by the Quakers. Avoid all nastiness, dirt, slovenliness, both in your person, clothes, house, and all about you. Do not stink above ground. This is a bad fruit of laziness; use all diligence to be clean, as one says, -

“Let thy mind’s sweetness have its operation
Upon thy person, clothes, and habitation.”

(3.) Whatever clothes you have, let them be whole; no rents, no tatters, no rags. These are a scandal to either man or woman; being another fruit of vile laziness. Mend your clothes, or I shall never expect you to mend your lives. Let none ever see a ragged Methodist.

(4.) Clean yourselves of lice. These are a proof both of uncleanness and laziness: take pains in this. Do not cut off your hair but clean it, and keep it clean.

(5.) Cure yourself and your family of the itch: a spoonful of brimstone will cure you. To let this run from year to year, proves both sloth and uncleanness. Away with it at once. Let not the north be any longer a proverb of reproach to all the nation.

(6.) Use no tobacco, unless prescribed by a Physician. It is an uncleanly and unwholesome self-indulgence; and the more customary it is, the more resolutely should you break off from every degree of that evil custom.

(7.) Use no snuff, unless prescribed by a Physician. I suppose no other nation in Europe is in such vile bondage to this silly, nasty, dirty custom as the Irish are. But let Christians be in this bondage no longer. Assert your liberty, and that all at once: nothing will be done by degrees. But just now you may break loose, through Christ strengthening you.

(8.) Touch no dram. It is liquid fire. It is a sure, though slow, poison. It saps the very springs of life. In Ireland, above all countries in the world, I would sacredly abstain from this, because the evil is so general; and to this, and snuff, and smoky cabins, I impute the blindness which is so exceeding common throughout the nation.

I might have inserted under the second article, what I particularly desire wherever you have preaching; namely that there may be a little-house. Let this be got without delay. Wherever it is not, let none expect to see me.

I am,
Your affectionate brother.


April 12th, 1770


If two or three letters have miscarried, all will not; so I am determined to write again. How does the work of God go on at Limerick? Does the select society meet constantly? And do you speak freely to each other? What Preachers are with you now? Do you converse frankly and openly with them, without any shyness or reserve? Do you find your own soul prosper? Do you hold fast what God has given you? Do you give Him all your heart? And do you find the witness of this abiding with you? One who is now in the house with me has not lost that witness one moment for these ten years. Why should you lose it any more? Are not the gifts of God without repentance? Is He not willing to give always what he gives once? Lay hold, lay hold on all the promises.

I am
Your affectionate brother.


May 5th, 1771


The work is to be delivered in weekly and monthly numbers: but it is of most use to have portable volumes. I have corrected as much as will make nine or ten out of the thirty volumes. All the verse works I have corrected, in conjunction with the Preachers, and left the corrected copy at London. If I live to finish the correction of my own works, I shall then revise the “Christian Library.” If ever you should spend a twelvemonth in this kingdom, you would not repent of your labour. Here is a people ready prepared for the Lord.

I am, with love to S. Hopper,
Your affectionate friend and brother.

May 2nd, 1783


In three or four days we hope to embark: when we land, you may hear further: but at a venture you may direct to Chester: and do not forget the verses.

I marvel Miss F. does not answer my letter. Surely she is not affronted at anything. We parted in much friendship. I think verily you will keep out of debt while I live, if you will give me a hint now and then.

We must positively let Mr. Abraham drop. Let his relations win him and wear him. I am in hopes T. M. will satisfy Dr. Coke. I suppose she loses her annuity if she owns her marriage.

I have not seen Mr. Barnard. We had an exceeding happy Conference, which concluded this morning. I wish all our English Preachers were of the same spirit with the Irish, among whom is no jarring string. I never saw such simplicity and teachableness run through a body of Preachers before.

Tell me all you know of the good Congress, the Loyalists, and the Colonies. Peace be with you and yours! Adieu!


April 11th, 1785


I just write a line to let you know that we came to Holyhead on Saturday afternoon, and went on board about ten at night: but we had a dead calm till between ten and eleven in the morning, at which time I began the public service. After sermon I prayed that God would give us a moderate wind, with a safe, easy, and speedy passage. While I was speaking the wind sprung up, and carried us on at an average five miles an hour; so that we sailed from Holywell-Bay to Dublin-Bay in exactly twelve hours. The sea, meantime, was as smooth as a looking-glass; so that no creature in the ship was sick a moment. Does not God hear the prayer? All is quiet here. Love to all. Adieu!


May 12th, 1785


Twice I have wrote to Dr. Coke concerning the Journal. I suppose one, if not two, of his letters have miscarried. I will not sentence him till he answers for himself.

All I can say, and all I will say, is, I do not intend ever to publish your picture in the Magazine.

At Dublin I was informed, Mr. Barnard, the present Bishop’s son, is dead. In the north I may learn more.

I speak of myself, as of other men, with a single eye. I am glad you have been at Newgate. All we have heard in England, of danger from Ireland, is pure invention. We have been humbugged by the patriots. There is no more danger from Ireland than from the Isle of Man.

If Sally wants the sinews of war, give me a hint. John Atlay has not complained to me of poverty for above this month.

I am fully persuaded that the measure of peace which enables me to go on cheerfully in my work, and to employ all my time and strength therein, is not from Satan, nor from nature, but from God.

To save tenpence postage, I will write a few lines to Patty in your letter. Peace be with you all!


June 2nd, 1785
Killeman, near


So the good man will know pain no more! But I suppose he died without disclosing what his son Vincent charged him not to reveal till he came to die! If it had been of any consequence to the cause of God, he could not have died without disclosing it.

Pray talk with, as well as inquire concerning, the Clergyman you mention. Many times you see farther into men than I do.

I suppose you have before now received my Journal, as well as preceding letter. Probably the first ship that sails after the 6th of July will bring me to Holyhead. I hope to see Dr. Coke in London before the end of it.

About once a quarter I hear from Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher. I grudge his sitting still: but who can help it? I love ease as well as he does; but I dare not take it while I believe there is another world.

The patriots here are nobody. They are quite scattered, and have no design, bad or good. All is still in Ireland; only the work of God flourishes, spreading and deepening on every side. Peace be will all your spirits! Adieu!

June 19th, 1785


I came hither (as I proposed when I set out) yesterday. This week I am to meet the classes. Next week we have our little Conference. The week following I hope to cross the Channel. The work of God, almost in every part of the kingdom, is in a prosperous state. Here is a set of excellent young Preachers. Nine in ten of them are much devoted to God. I think, number for number, they exceed their fellow-labourers in England. These in Dublin particularly are burning and shining lights.

I am glad you have paid them one more visit at Shoreham. What the poor people will do now, I know not: but the Great Shepherd knows, and will order all things well. But what becomes of Betsy Briggs?

The letter from Rome is curious enough. Fine words! And you know the Italians are famous for sincerity.

I should be sorry indeed if Sammy Tooth were a sufferer; but surely he knows his own business. Many here know and love you well. My love to all. Adieu! 

June 23rd, 1785


Certainly you have heard from me; for I sent you one, and intended to send you two, Journals: only George Whitfield made a blunder, and directed the second to Henry Moore.

Several months since I wrote to Dr. Coke concerning the extract he had taken from your Journal. I will write to him again. But he must bring it, not send it by post. My letters to-day cost me eighteen shillings.

I promise you, not to publish your picture in the Magazine before midsummer, 1786. I think that is long enough to look forward.

Mr. Barnard is dead. I know nothing of M.F. Ireland is full of quiet as England; and our societies were never so much alive as they are now.

If Sally is ill, why does she not go into the country? Peace be with all your spirits!

June 5th, 1787


The Irish posts are not the quickest in the world; though I have known one travel full two miles in an hour. And they are not the most certain. Letters fail here more frequently than they do in England.

Mr. Heath has need of abundance of faith and patience. He is in a very unpleasing situation. But this I am determined on; he shall not want, as long as I have either money or credit. He is a truly pious and a very amiable man; his wife and children are cast in the same mould. I am glad you all showed him, while he was in London, the respect which he well deserves.

As the work of God increases in so many parts both of England and Ireland, it would be strange if there were no increase of it in London; especially while all the Preachers are of one mind, and speak the same thing. Only do not forget strongly and explicitly to urge the believers to “go on to perfection.” When this is constantly and earnestly done, the word is always clothed with power.

Truly I claim no thanks for loving and esteeming Betsy Briggs; for I cannot help it. And I shall be in danger of quarrelling with you, if you ever love her less than you do now. Peace be with all your spirits!

I am
Your affectionate friend and brother.

July 4th, 1787


Our correspondence, I hope, will never be broken off, till one of us be removed into a better world. It is true, I have often wondered that you were not weary of so useless a correspondent: for I am very sensible the writing of letters is my brother’s talent, rather than mine. Yet I really love to write to you, and I love to think of you.  And sometimes it may please Him, who sends by whom He will send, to give you some assistance by me. And your letters have frequently been an encouragement and a comfort to me. Let them never, my dear friend, be intermitted, during the few days I have to stay below. After Miss Roe first, and then Miss Ritchie, had given me so particular an account of that branch of their experience, I examined, one by one, the members of the select society in London on that head. But I found very few, not above nine or ten, who had any conception of it. I think there are three or four in Dublin, who likewise speak clearly and scripturally of having had such a manifestation of the several Persons in the ever-blessed Trinity. Formerly I thought this was the experience of all those that were perfected in love; but I am now clearly convinced that it is not. Only a few of these are favoured with it. It was indeed a wonderful instance of divine mercy, that, at a time when you were so encumbered with the affairs of this world, you should have so much larger a taste of the powers of the world to come. It reminds me of brother Laurence’s words: “When I was charged with the affairs of the convent at Burgundy, I did not understand them; and yet, I know not how, all was well done!” I doubt not you will find the very same experience, in everything which God calls you to: His word will be more and more eminently fulfilled, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths.” I rejoice to be,

My dear Lady,
Your ever affectionate servant.


June 20th, 1789


Michael --- is an original. He tells lies innumerable, many of them plausible enough. But many talk full as plausibly as he; and they that can believe him, may. I do not doubt, but some part of your verse, as well as prose, will reach the hearts of some of the rich.

Dr. Coke made two or three little alterations in the Prayer-Book without my knowledge. I took particular care throughout, to alter nothing merely for altering’ sake. In religion, I am for as few innovations as possible. I love the old wine best. And if it were only on this account, I prefer “which” before “who art in heaven.”

Mr. Howard is really an extraordinary man. God has raised him up to be a blessing to many nations. I do not doubt, but there has been something more than natural in his preservation hitherto, and should not wonder if the providence of God should hereafter be still more conspicuous in his favour.

About three weeks hence, I expect to embark for England. Peace be with you and yours!

I am
Your affectionate brother.

Return to top