Letter

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 DDWes/1/58
  • Former Reference
      GB 135 DDWes/1/58
      GB 135 Wesley Brown Folio 1, page 64.
  • Dates of Creation
      n.d [1820]

Scope and Content

From Sally Wesley in [Chesterfield Street, London], to an unnamed correspondent, regretting that the necessity of watching over her mother (aged ninety-four) has delayed this letter.

Sarah Wesley's declining strength has forced Sally to abandon her literary labours, but this proposed biography of her Uncle John is so close to her heart that she feels duty-bound, to at least contribute anecdotes for arrangement by her correspondent. She cannot promise a tremendous amount, as she was born relatively late in his life, and apart from an annual stay with her uncle at the 'chapel house in London' she only ever saw him in public. His kindness however made a great impression on her - 'I can remember no expression but of tenderness, no action but of generosity'.

She thinks it was in 1775 that John Wesley promised to take her with him to Canterbury and Dover. It was at a time when his estranged wife was planning to use some of his letters to discredit him, and it was suggested to her by some Calvinists that they be sent to 'The Morning Post' for publication. Her uncle was warned by a sympathiser, and Sally's father went to the Foundery to urge his brother to postpone his trip, leaving Sally very disappointed as is natural in a child of 'twelve or thirteen years of age'. However her father returned with the news that John refused to alter his arrangements with the words 'Brother when I devoted to God, my ease, my time, my life, did. I except my reputation? - No'.

The journey that she subsequently made with him to Canterbury is described in detail, with particular regard to his warmth and compassion. Charles junior as a young man formed an attachment to an 'amiable girl of low birth', which was strongly opposed by Sarah Wesley and her side of the family. Far from criticising his nephew John Wesley sent a wedding gift of £50, and seemed sorry when the relationship ended.