Letter

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 DDWes/4/43
  • Former Reference
      GB 135 DDWes/4/43
      GB 135 30 Jul 1786
  • Dates of Creation
      Former Reference: Wesley Brown Folio 4, page 36.

Scope and Content

Manuscript copy letter [in Charles Wesley's hand] from Bath, Somerset, to [Rev. Benjamin] Latrobe, describing the proceedin&s of the [Bristol] Conference. The 'old preachers' and their supporters were resolved on separation writing from the Anglican Church, although undecided as to whether to be presbyterian or independent. Charles succeeded in bringing many of them 'over to the Church'. John Wesley was persuaded by the Conference to ordain a preacher for Yorkshire but no further. [John] Atlay argued that by 'preserving 500 in the Ch … we shd lose 50,000', thereby proving that ordination is separation. The Wesley brothers and the preachers were however finally unanimous for continuing as before.

Charles expects that after the deaths of his brother and himself, the preachers of the 'dissenting sectarian spirit' will fragment into many small sects. He recalls an old baptist minister telling him forty years ago, that he considered the Methodist Society to be a 'seminary for dissenters'. It has always been Charles's great desire to avert such a split.

The bishops may yet retain the greatest part of the society within the Anglican Church, 'to leaven the lump', as Archbishop Potter once put it to Charles, but the will to do so appears lacking.

The friendly relationship between Latrobe's Moravians and the Methodists may be another means of preserving the union. Both Wesleys are favourably inclined towards such a 'correspondence', and when John returns to London he would be interested in meeting Latrobe.

The Doctor [Thomas Coke] is returning to his diocese [United States], which is a good thing.

A schism within the Church of England is the great evil, which Charles has combatted for fifty years. If he lives to see the threat averted, and the Moravians united with the Anglicans, he can die happy.