Picture of Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley

places mentioned

Jan. 1 - Apr. 30, 1744: London to Newcastle

Next Selection Previous Selection

January 1 - April 30, 1744

SUNDAY, January 1st, 1744. I rode to Bexley, and expounded the character of wisdom. (Prov. iii.) God, as it seems, is turning the heart of this people back again. A surprising change I find in walking the streets. Nothing but kind salutations, instead of my usual reception with stones and curses.

Tues., January 3d. I triumphed with an old disciple of fourscore, dying in the faith.

Thur., January 5th. I finished H.'s account of the iniquitous Synod of Dort; iniquitous even in the judgment of a predestinarian. God deliver me from their tender mercies!

Sun., January 8th. At the chapel I explained and applied the barren fig-tree. The convincing Spirit was present. A company of players roared mightily for their master; but could not stop the course of the word.

Sun., January 15th. My text was, "Rejoice, O daughter of Sion; behold, thy King cometh." His near approach did gladden our hearts; and in the sacrament our joy was increased.

Sat., January 21st. I preached the Gospel in Snowsfields, with much contention; and continued in prayer and thanksgiving, till our enemies quitted the field.

Sun., January 22d. I expounded the parable of the sower, God applying his own word. I exhorted the bands to join in the great work which God is working in our days.

Sun., January 29th. I assisted my brother and Mr. Gordon in administering the sacrament to almost our whole Society, of above two thousand.

Mon., January 30th. I set out with our brother Webb for Newcastle, commended to the grace of God by all the brethren. By Wednesday afternoon we found our brother Jones at Birmingham.

Wed., February 1st. A great door is opened in this country, but there are many adversaries. At Dudley, our Preacher was cruelly abused by a mob of Papists and Dissenters; the latter stirred up by Mr. Whirring, their Minister. Probably he would have been murdered, but for an honest Quaker, who helped him to escape, disguised with his broad hat and coat. Staffordshire, at present, seems the seat of war.

Thur., February 2d. I set out with brother Webb for Wednesbury, the field of battle. I met with variety of greetings on the road. I cried, in the street, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Several of our persecutors stood at a distance; but none offered to make the least disturbance.

I walked through the blessings and curses of the people, (but the blessings exceeded,) to visit Mr. Egginton's widow. Never have I observed such bitterness as in these opposers; yet they had no power to touch us.

Fri., February 3d. I preached and prayed with the Society, and beat down the fiery, self-avenging spirit of resistance, which was rising in some, to disgrace, if not destroy, the work of God.

I preached, unmolested, within sight of Dudley. Many Shimels called after me, and that was all. I waited on the friendly Captain Dudley, who has stood in the gap at Tipton-green, and kept off persecution, while it raged all around. I returned in peace through the enemy's country.

On Tuesday next, they have given it out, that they will come with all the rabble of the country, and pull down the houses, and destroy all the goods of our poor brethren. One would think there was no King in Israel. There is certainly no Magistrate, who will put them to shame in anything. Mr. Constable offered to make oath of their lives being in danger; but the Justice refused it, saying, he could do nothing. Others of our complaining brethren met with the same redress, being driven away with revilings. The Magistrates do not themselves tear off their clothes, and beat them; they only stand by, and see others do it. One of them told Mr. Jones, it was the best thing the mob ever did, so to treat the Methodists; and he would himself give £5 to drive them out of the country. Another, when our brother Ward begged his protection, himself delivered him up to the mercy of the mob, (who had half murdered him before,) threw his hat round his head, and cried, "Huzza, boys! Well done! Stand up for the Church!"

No wonder that the mob, so encouraged, should say and Believe that there is no law for Methodists. Accordingly, like outlaws they treat them, breaking their houses, and taking away their goods at pleasure; extorting money from those that have it, and cruelly beating those that have not.

The poor people from Darlaston are the greatest sufferers. The rioters lately summoned them, by proclamation of the crier, to come to such a public house, and set to their hands that they would never hear the Methodist Preachers, or they should have their houses pulled down. About a hundred they compelled by blows. Notwithstanding which, both then and at other times, they have broken into their houses, robbing and destroying. And still if they hear any of them singing or reading the Scripture, they force open their doors by day and by night, and spoil and beat them with 'all impunity. They watch their houses, that none may go to Wednesbury; and scarce a man or woman but has been knocked down in attempting it.

Their enemies are the basest of the people, who will not work themselves, but live, more to their inclination, on the labours of others. I wonder the gentlemen who set them on, are so short-sighted as not to see that the little all of our poor colliers will soon be devoured; and then these sons of rapine will turn upon their foolish masters, who have raised a devil they cannot lay.

Sat., February 4th. I discoursed from Isai. llv. 17: "No weapon that is formed against thee shAll thoughts of resistance are over, blessed be the Lord; and the chief of them said unto me, "Naked came I into the world, and I can but go naked out of it." They are resolved by the grace of God to follow my advice, and suffer all things. Only I would have had them go round again to the Justices, and make information of their dangerall prosper." This promise shall be fulfilled in our day. I spoke with those of our brethren who have this world's goods, and found them entirely resigned to the will of God. . Mr. Constable said, he had just been with one of them, who redressed him with bitter reproaches; that the rest are of the same mind, and cannot plead ignorance of the intended riot, because the rioters have had the boldness to set up papers in the towns, particularly Walsal, inviting all the country to rise with them, and destroy the Methodists.

At noon I returned to Birmingham, having continued two days in the lions' den, unhurt.

Sun., February 5th. I preached in the Bull-ring, close to the church, where they rang the bells, threw dirt and stones all the time. None struck me, till I had finished my discourse. Then I got several blows from the mob that followed me, till we took shelter at a sister's. I received much strength and comfort with the sacrament.

I preached again in Wednesbury, to a large congregation, many of whom come to hear the word at the peril of their lives. I encouraged them from Isai. li.: "Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord," &c. Here, and in the Society, our Captain, we found, doth not send us a warfare at our own charge.

Mon., February 6th. We commended each other to the divine protection, and at five I set out for Nottingham.

Our way lay through Walsal, the enemy's head-quarters. I would rather have gone a mile another way. Entering the place, we heard one hallooing with might and main; and a great noise followed, as if the town had taken the alarm. I cannot say the sound was very musical in my ears; but I looked up, and rode onward. The noise was made by a gentleman huntsman, a bitter enemy of ours.

We fell in with him and his dogs, it being just day-break, and passed for very good sportsmen. Brother Webb would needs ride through the market-place, to see the flag and paper our enemies had set up,—and to show his courage. Had he returned with a broken head, I should not have greatly pitied him. By six our Lord brought us safe to Nottingham.

I met the Society, on whom He laid the burden of our persecuted brethren.

Here also the storm is begun. Our brethren are violently driven from their place of meeting; pelted in the streets, &c.; and mocked with vain promises of justice by the very men who underhand encourage the rioters. An honest Quaker has hardly restrained some of the brethren from resisting evil; but henceforth, I hope, they will meekly turn the other cheek.

Shrove-Tuesday, February 7th. I waked in great heaviness, which continued all day, for our poor suffering brethren; yet with strong confidence that the Lord will appear in their behalf. I joined the Society, at five, in fervent intercession for them; and, in preaching, both administered and received comfort.

I sent my humble thanks to the Mayor for his offer of assistance. He pities our brethren, and would defend them; but who dares do justice to a Christian? We are content to wait for it, till the great day of retribution.

At church, the psalms began, "Plead thou my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me, and fight thou against them that fight against me. Lay hand upon the shield and buckler, and stand up to help me. Bring forth the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation." We continued in this prayer with the Society, and had great fellowship with the sufferers.

At the brethren's desire, I began preaching in the market-place. The holiday folk broke in among the hearers. I gave notice I should preach at the Cross, just by the Mayor's. In the way, the mob assaulted us with dirt and stones, making us as the filth and offscouring of all things. My soul was caught up, and kept in calm recollection. I knocked at the Mayor's door: he let me in himself, gave us good words, threatened the rabble, and led me to his fore-door, where the people were waiting. I walked up to the Cross, and called them to repent. They would not receive my testimony; were very outrageous, yet not permitted to hurt me. The Mayor at the same time passed by us laughing. Just such protection I expected!

After fighting with wild beasts for near half-an-hour, I went down into the thickest of them; who started back, and left an open way for me to the Mayor's house. Mrs. Mayoress led us through her house with great courtesy and compassion. The mob pursued us with stones as before. J. Webb and I were strangers to the town, but went straight forward, and entered an house prepared for us. The woman received us, and shut the door, and spoke with authority to the mob, so that they began to melt away. There the brethren found and conducted us to our friendly Quaker's. We betook ourselves to prayer for our fellow-sufferers in Staffordshire; who have not been out of our thoughts the whole day.

I expounded the beatitudes, and dwelt upon the last: never have I been more assisted. I rejoiced with our brethren in the fires.

Wed., February 8th. I cannot help observing, from what passed yesterday, that we ought to wait upon God for direction when and where to preach, much more than we do: a false courage, which is fear of shame, may otherwise betray us into unnecessary dangers. Farther, we may learn not to lean on that broken reed, human protection. To seek redress by law, unless we are very sure of obtaining it, is only to discover our own weakness, and irritate our opposers. What justice can be expected from the chief men of this place, if, as I am informed, they are mostly Arian Presbyterians

I exhorted the brethren to continue in the faith, and, through much persecution, to enter the kingdom. Four were missing; the rest strengthened by their sufferings.

I called at brother Sant's, and found him just brought home for dead. The mob had knocked him down, and would probably have murdered him, but for a little child, who, being shut out of doors, alarmed the family by his cries.

It was some tlme before he came to himself, having been struck on the temples by a large log of wood. We gave thanks to God for his deliverance, and continued in prayer and conference till midnight.

Thur., February 9th. Our messenger returned from Lichfield, with such an account as I looked for. He had met our brother Ward, fled thither for refuge. The enemy had gone to the length of his chain. All the rabble of the county was gathered together yesterday, and laid waste all before them. A note I received from two of the sufferers, whose loss amounts to about £200. My heart rejoiced in the great grace which was given them; for not one resisted evil; but they took joyfully the spoiling of their goods. We gave God the glory, that Satan was not suffered to touch their lives. They have lost all besides, and rejoice with joy unspeakable.

By five in the evening we came to Sheffield. I marvelled what was come to them, that we had not one stone in riding through all the town. Peace was in all their borders, and has been for some time. The brethren are not slack during this rest, but walk in the fear of God. I preached on, "Ye are come to Mount Sion." The power of the Lord was remarkably present, but the power of the adversary quite restrained.

At nine I passed through Thorpe. I asked my companion, "Where are the pretty wild creatures that were for braining me and my horse, the last time I came this way?" He told me they had lost their spirit with their Captain, a woman, the bitterest of them all, who died lately in horrible despair. This quite terrified our enemies. Her daughter is now a believer, and several others in the place: nay, they have even got a Society among them.

I preached at Barley-hall, and found the great power and blessing of God with the church in that house. One of my host's sons attended me to Birstal.

Sat., February 11th. I preached at five, from, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." We were greatly comforted by our mutual faith. The little flock increases both in grace and number. The Lord fights for Israel, this day, against the deceitful workers. I was glad to hear of one of our English brethren, lately brought back by a little child, who told his father something came and disturbed him, so that he could not sleep at nights, since they left off family-prayer.

I preached at Adwalton, on our Lord's final coming. It was a glorious season of rejoicing and love. In the afternoon I preached at Armley. Arthur Bates, of Wakefield, who showed me the way, informed me, that his Minister, Mr. Arnett, repelled him from the sacrament, and said he had orders from the Archbishop so to treat all that are called Methodists. The time, we know, will come, when they shall put us out of their synagogues; but I much suspect Mr. Arnett has slandered the good Archbishop. In Leeds, also, some begin to abuse their authority, and to exclude the true (yea, the truest) members of the Church from her communion.

Sun., February 12th. I preached at Leeds, to many serious hearers, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom," &c. I went to Mr. M.'s church, and heard him explain away the promise of the Father. But he stopped at the application to the Methodists; perhaps out of tenderness for me, whom he may still have some hopes of.

I called on a larger, and equally quiet, congregation, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" &c. It was a blessed season. Many looked upon Him whom they have pierced.

I found John Nelson's hill quite covered with hearers. In the midst of my discourse, a gentleman came riding up, and almost over the people. Speaking of temperance and judgment to come, I turned, and applied to him, "Thou art the man." His countenance fell, and he fled before the sword of the Spirit. The power of God burst forth, and a cry was heard throughout the congregation. I continued my discourse, or rather prayer, till night.

Mon., February 13th. I preached in the evening at Sikehouse, to the hearts of many.

Tues., February 14th. I rode to Epworth, and dined at Mr. Maw's, whose disputing is quite over; and he is waiting to receive the kingdom as a little child. The Lord gave his blessing to my word in the Cross. At the Society the Spirit came down as in the ancient days. My voice was lost in the mournings and rejoicings on every side. All present, I believe, were either comforted or wounded.

Wed., February 15th. I explained the new covenant in the market-place, and many seemed desirous to enter into it.

Thur., February 16th. I rode to Selby: the next day, at Darlington, my horse fell with me from an high causeway, and threw me unhurt into deep mud.

Sat., February 18th. I got to Newcastle by two, and preached at night from 1 Thess. i. 5: "For our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." The people received me with that joy and love which the world knoweth not of.

Sun., February 19th. I sent away J. Healey, that he might not be torn to pieces by the mob, some of whom he has struck. It was so at Nottingham, where they brought persecution upon themselves, s little sooner than needed, by striking a butcher. The man who struck him was the first that fell away. Not that all their meekness and wisdom could have kept it off long.

I breakfasted at Mr. Watson's, who now professes the faith which he persecuted in his daughters. I heard of a remarkable providence. A poor drunkard, who has left us for some time, was moved this morning to rise, and come to the preaching; by which he escaped being crushed to death by the fall of his house. He had no sooner left it, than it was blown down (the greatest part of it). Just before it fell, his wife took one with her to the window, to sing an hymn, and so escaped. A sister was overwhelmed with the ruins. Yet the rafters fell endways, and a cavity was made archwise over her head. She stayed there some hours before they could dig her out, rejoicing in God her Saviour.

I told an huge multitude in the square, "Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake." I stood at the door of the Orphan-house, and took in many of the disturbers; to whom I then preached without opposition; and exhorted the brethren to prepare for the fiery trial.

Mon., February 20th. I heard, without any surprise, the news of the French invasion; which only quickened us in our prayers, especially for His Majesty, King George.

In the evening I expounded what the Spirit saith to the church of Ephesus, and received extraordinary power to warn them of the sword that is coming, and to wrestle with God in prayer for the King.

Sun., February 26th. I preached at Tanfield on Luke xxi. 34, &e.: "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares," &c. My mouth and heart were opened to this people, who seem now to have got the start of those at Newcastle.

I called at the square, with greater utterance than ever, "Wash ye, make you clean," &c. I urged them earnestly to repent; to fear God, and honour the King; and had the clearest testimony of my own conscience, that I had now delivered my own soul.

I found a great mob about our house, and bestowed an hour in taming them. An hundred or more I admitted into the room, and, when I had got them together, for two hours exhorted them to repent, in the power of love. The rocks were melted on every side, and the very ringleaders of the rebels declared they would make a disturbance no more.

Mon., February 27th. I warned them at Horsley, also, from Luke xxi. 34, to prepare for suffering times.

Tues., February 28th. I rode in the high wind to Biddicks, and preached, to many unawakened sinners, "Wash ye, make you clean: put away the evil of your doings," &c. All seemed affected, especially our host, a poor drunkard that was, and his wife, a virtuous Pharisee. Both are now willing to be found in Christ, not having their own righteousness.

It was as much as I could do, in returning, to sit my horse, the storm was so violent. At the room I preached, "The word of God-quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword."

Wed., February 29th. I rode, with much difficulty, to Plessy, and preached the Gospel to a poor people ready prepared for the Lord.

Thur., March lat. I preached at Spen to a weeping audience.

Fri., March 2d. I visited a brother on his death-bed, who soon after departed in the Lord.

I preached at Wickham, on, "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved." We had sweet fellowship with our Lord in his word.

Sun., March 4th. The people of Newcastle were in an uproar, through their expectation of a victory. They got their candles ready, and gave thanks, that is, got drunk, beforehand, and then came down to make a riot among us.

Some of the brethren they struck, and threatened to pulldown the desk.

We were sensible that the powers of darkness were abroad, and prayed, in faith, against them. God heard, and scattered the armies of the aliens here. Afterwards, news came that, at this very hour, they were pulling down the house in St. Ives.

Mon., March 5th. I crossed the water, and preached at the Glass-houses on the one thing needful. In our return, one, at the head of a mob, railed and cursed us so bitterly, that I concluded he must be a Roman Catholic. I found, upon inquiry, that he was son to a neighbouring Squire, a zealous Papist.

I passed an hour with Mr. Watson, one of the Town-Sergeants, and lately the greatest swearer in Newcastle.

Now God has touched his heart, both his fellows, and his masters, the Aldermen, are set against him, as one man.

The Mayor, he tells me, asked him publicly, "What, Mr. Watson, do you go to hear these men?" He answered, "Yes, at every proper opportunity; and I wish you would hear them too." One of the Aldermen expressed his impatience by cursing "that fellow, Watson! we can neither make him drink nor swear."

Tues., March 6th. I wrote to my brother: "My objection to your address in the name of the Methodists is, that it would constitute us a sect; at least it would seem to allow that we are a body distinct from the national Church; whereas we are only a sound part of that Church. Guard against this; and in the name of the Lord address tomorrow."4

Thur., March 8th. The Society, at parting, were all in tears. I lodged that night at Darlington.

Sat., March 10th. I came with John Downs to Epworth. On the common Thomas Westal overtook us, being driven out of Nottingham by the mob and Mayor. I called on Mrs. Maw, and found her in a sweet waiting way: her sickness has been a great blessing.

I preached at the Cross, on, "Enter into the rock, and hide yourselves," &c., to a people willing to take warning.

I took John Henley's account of their treatment at Nottingham. The Mayor sent for Thomas Westal. John went with him. Thomas desired time to read the oath, which they offered him; upon which Mr. Mayor threatened to send him to prison. While he was making his mittimus, John Healey asked," Does not the law allow a man three hours to consider of it?" This checked their haste; and they permitted him to hear first what he should swear to. He said, it was all very good, and what he had often heard Mr. Wesleys say, that King George was our rightful King, and no other; and he would take this oath with all his heart.

They had first asked John Healey if he would take the oaths. He answered, "I will take them now; but I would not before I heard Mr. Wesleys; for I was a Jacobite till they convinced me of the truth, and of His Majesty's right." "See the old Jesuit," cries one of the venerable Aldermen: "he has all his paces, I warrant you!" Another, on Thomas Westal's holding his hand to his eyes, cried, "See, see? he is confessing his sins!"

They treated them like Faithful and Christian at Vanity-fair, only they did not burn them yet, or even put them in the cage. They demanded their horses for the King's service, and would not believe them that they had none, till they sent and searched. Not finding any cause to punish, they were forced to dismiss them; but soon after the Mayor sent for Thomas Westal, and commanded him to depart the town. He answered, he should obey his orders, and accordingly came to Epworth. Here he told me he had found out who the Pretender was, for Mr. Gurney told him, many years ago there was one King James, who was turned out, and one King William taken in his place, and that then the Parliament made a law that no Papist should ever be King, by which law King James's son, whom he had now discovered to be the Pretender, was justly kept out.

Sun., March 11th. I warned the people at the Cross, and then our children, to meet God in the way of his judgments. I rode the next day to Birstal.

Tues., March 13th. I spent the day in visiting the brethren from house to house.

Wed., March 14th. Setting out for J. B.'s Societies, one told me, there was a Constable with a warrant, in which my name was mentioned. I sent for him, and he showed it me. It was "to summon witnesses to some treasonable words said to be spoken by one Westley." The poor man trembled; said he had no business with me, and was right glad to get out of my hands. He was afterwards of my audience, and wept, as did most. I was then taking horse, but found such a bar or burden crossing me, that I could not proceed. At the same time, the brethren besought me to stay, lest the enemies should say I durst not stand trial. I knew not how to determine but by a lot. We prayed; and the lot came for my stay.

It was much upon my mind that I should be called to bear my testimony, and vindicate the loyalty of God's people. By the order of Providence, several Justices are now at Wakefield. A woman stands to it, that she heard me talk treason; but there is an overruling Providence. I found it hard not to pre-meditate or think of to-morrow.

I met the brethren at Leeds, and many others in an old upper-room. After singing, I shifted my place, to draw them to the upper end. One desired me to come nearer the door, that they might hear without. I removed again, and drew the weight of the people after me. In that instant the floor sunk. I lost my senses, but recovered them in a moment, and was filled with power from above. I lifted up my head first, and saw the people under me heaps upon heaps. I cried out, "Fear not: the Lord is with us; our lives are all safe!" and then,— "Praise God, from whom all blessings flow."

I lifted up the fallen as fast as I could, and perceived by their countenances which were our children; several of whom were hurt, but none killed.

We found, when the dust and tumult was a little settled, that the rafters had broke off short, close to the main beam. A woman lay dangerously ill in the room below on the opposite side, and a child in the cradle just under the ruins. But the sick woman calling the nurse a minute before, she carried the child with her to the standing side, and all three were preserved.

Another of the Society was moved, she knew not why, to go out with her child, just before the room fell. Above one hundred lay with me among the wounded; though I did not properly fall, but slid softly down, and lit on my feet. My hand was bruised, and part of the skin rubbed off my head. One sister had her arm broke, and set immediately; rejoicing with joy unspeakable. Another, strong in faith, was so crushed that she expected instant death. I asked her, when got to bed, whether she was not afraid to die. She answered, that she was without fear, even when she thought her soul was departing, and only said in calm faith, "Jesus, receive my spirit!" Her body continues full of pain, and her soul of love.

A boy of eighteen was taken up roaring, "I will be good, I will be good." They got his leg set, which was broke in two places. He had come, as usual, to make a disturbance, and struck several of the women going in, till one took him up for Providence to teach him better.

After the hurry, I opened my book on those remarkable words: "Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant."

The news was soon spread through the town, and drew many to the place, who expressed their compassion by wishing all our necks had been broke. I preached out of the town, in weariness and painfulness. The Lord was our strong consolation. Never did I more clearly see that not a hair of our head can fall to the ground, without our heavenly Father.

Thur., March 15th. I baptized a Quaker, who received forgiveness in that hour.

I rode to Wakefield, and at eleven waited upon Justice Burton at his inn, with two other Justices, Sir Rowland Wynn, and the Rev. Mr. Zouch. I told him, I had seen a warrant of his, to summon witnesses to some treasonable words, "said to be spoken by one Westley ;" that I had put off my journey to London to walt upon him, and answer whatever should be laid to my charge.

He answered, he had nothing to say against me, and I might depart. I replied, that was not sufficient, without clearing my character, and that of many innocent people, whom their enemies were pleased to call Methodists. "Vindicate them !" said my brother Clergyman: "that you will find a very hard task." I answered, "As hard as you may think it, I will engage to prove that they all, to a man, are true members of the Church of England, and loyal subjects of His Majesty King George." I then desired they would administer to me the oaths, and added, "If it was not too much trouble, I could wish, gentlemen, you would send for every Methodist in England, and give them the same opportunity you do me, of declaring their loyalty upon oath."

Justice Burton said, he was informed that we constantly prayed for the Pretender in all our Societies, or nocturnal meetings, as Mr. Zouch called them. I answered, "The very reverse is true. We constantly pray for His Majesty King George by name. These are such hymns as we sing in our Societies, a sermon I preached before the University, another my brother preached there, his Appeals, and a few more treatises, containing our principles and practice." Here I gave them our books, and was bold to say, "I am as true a Church-of-England man, and as loyal a subject, as any man in the kingdom." "That is impossible," they cried all; but as it was not my business to dispute, and as I could not answer till the witnesses appeared, I withdrew without farther reply.

While I waited at a neighbouring house, one of the brethren brought me the Constable of Birstal, whose heart God hath touched. He told me, he had summoned the principal witness, Mary Castle, on whose information the warrant was granted, and who was setting out on horseback, when the news came to Birstal that I was not gone forward to London, as they expected, but round to Wakefield. Hearing this, she turned back, and declared to him, that she did not hear the treasonable words herself; but another woman told her so. Three more witnesses, who were to swear to my words, retracted likewise, and knew nothing of the matter: the fifth, good Mr. Woods, the alehouse- keeper, is forthcoming, it seems, in the afternoon.

Now I plainly see the consequence of my not appearing here to look my enemies in the face. Had I gone on my journey, here would have been witnesses enough, and oaths enough, to stir up a persecution against the Methodists. I took the witnesses' names,—Mary Castle, W. Walker, Lionel Knowls, Arthur Furth, Joseph Woods; and a copy of the warrant, as follows :—

"West-riding of Yorkshire.—To the Constable of Birstal, in the said Riding, or Deputy.

"These are, in His Majesty's name, to require and command you to summon Mary Castle of Birstal aforesaid, and all other such persons as you are informed can give any information against one Westley, or any other of the Methodist speakers, for speaking any treasonable words or exhortations, as praying for the banished, or for the Pretender, &c., to appear before me, and other His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the said Riding, at the White Hart in Wakefield, on the 15th of March instant, by ten of the clock in the forenoon, to be examined, and to declare the truth of what they, and each of them, know, touching the premises; and that you likewise make s return hereof before us on the same day. Fail not. Given under my hand the 10th of March, 1744.


Between two and three honest Mr. Woods came, and started back at sight of me, as if he had trod upon a serpent. One of our brothers took hold on him, and told me he trembled every joint of him. The Justice's Clerk had bid the Constable bring him to him as soon as ever he came; but notwithstanding all the Clerk's instructions, Woods frankly confessed, now he was come, he had nothing to say; and would not have come at all, had they not forced him.

I waited at the door, where the Justices were examining the disaffected, till seven. I took public notice of Mr. Oberhausen, the Motarian Teacher; but not of Mr. Kendrick. When all their business was over, and I had been insulted at their door from eleven in the morning till seven at night, I was sent for, and asked, "What would Mr. Wesley desire?" Wesley. "I desire nothing, but to know what is alleged against me." Justice Burton said, "What hope of truth from him? he is another of them." Then addressing to me, "Here are two of your brethren; one so silly, it is a shame he should ever set up for a teacher; and the other has told us a thousand lies and equivocations upon oath. He has not wit enough, or he would make a complete Jesuit." I looked round, and said, "I see none of my brethren here, but this gentleman," pointing to the Reverend Justice, who looked as if he did not thank me for claiming him. Burton. "Why, do you not know this man ]" (showing me Kendrick.) Wesley. "Yes, Sir, very well; for two years ago I expelled him our Society in London, for setting up for a Preacher." To this poor Kendrick assented; which put a stop to farther reflections on the Methodists.

Justice Burton then said I might depart, for they had nothing against me. Wesley. "Sir, that is not sufficient: I cannot depart till my character is fully cleared. It is no trifling matter. Even my life is concerned in the charge." Burton. "I did not summon you to appear." Wesley. "I was the person meant by ' one Westley,' and my supposed words were the occasion of your order, which I read, signed with your name." Burton. "I will not deny my order. I did send to summon the witnesses." Wesley. "Yes; and I took down their names from the Constable's paper. The principal witness, Mary Castle, was setting out, but, hearing I was here, she turned back, and declared to the Constable she only heard another say that I spoke treason. Three more of the witnesses recanted for the same reason; and Mr. Woods, who is here, says he has nothing to say, and should not have come neither, had he not been forced by the Minister. Had I not been here, he would have had enough to say; and ye would have had witnesses and oaths enough; but I suppose my coming has prevented theirs." One of the Justices added, "I suppose so too."

They all seemed fully satisfied, and would have had me so too; but I insisted on their hearing Mr. Woods. Burton. "Do you desire he may be called as an evidence for You?," Wesley. "I desire he may be heard as an evidence against me, if he has aught to lay to my charge." Then Mr. Zouch asked Woods what he had to say, what were the words I spoke. Woods was as backward to speak as they to hear him, but was at last compelled to say, "I have nothing to say against the gentleman; I only heard him pray that the Lord would call home his banished." Zoueh. "But were there no words before or after, which pointed to these troublesome timesT" Woods. "No, none at all." Wesley. "It was on February 12th, before the earliest news of the invasion. But if folly and malice may be interpreters, any words which any of you gentlemen speak may be construed into treason." Zouch. "It is very true." Wesley. "Now, gentlemen, give me leave to explain my own words. I had no thoughts of praying for the Pretender, but for those that confess themselves strangers and pilgrims upon earth, who seek a country, knowing this is not their place. The Scriptures, you, Sir, know," (to the Clergyman,) "speak of us as captive exiles, who are absent from the Lord while in the body. We are not at home till we are in heaven." Zouch. "I thought you would so explain the words; and it is a fair interpretation." I asked if they were all satisfied. They said they were, and cleared me as fully as I desired. I then asked them again to administer to me the oaths. Mr. Zouch looked on my sermon; asked who ordained me, (the Archbishop and Bishop of London the same week,) and said, with the rest, it was quite unnecessary, since I was a Clergyman, and Student of Christ. church, and had preached before the University, and taken the oaths before. Yet I motioned it again, till they acknowledged in explicit terms "my loyalty unquestionable." I then presented Sir Rowland and Mr. Zouch with the Appeal, and took my leave.

Half hour after seven we set out for Birstal, and a joyful journey we had. Our brethren met us on the road, and we gathered together on the hill, and sang praises lustily, with a good courage. Their enemies were rising at Birstal, full of the Wednesbury devil, on presumption of my not finding justice at Wakefield: wherein they were more confirmed by my delay. They had begun pulling down John Nelson's house, when our singing damped and put them to flight. Now I see, if I had not gone to confront my enemies, or had been evil intreated at Wakefield, it might have occasioned a general persecution here, which the Lord hath now crushed in the birth. No weapon that is formed against us shall prosper, and every tongue that shall arise against us in judgment we shall condemn.

Fri., March 16th. I set out for Derby; preached at a Society of David Taylor's, whose immoderate warnings against us have made them ten times more eager to hear us.

A plain proof that his poor sinners are still under the law.

Sat., March 17th. I preached at Woodhouse at noon, and in the evening a little beyond Stockport. I observed some go out, upon my recommending prayer; but did not wonder, when I heard they were still.

Sun., March 18th. I was much assisted to explain our Lord's words, concerning himself, to a great multitude, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me," &c. I preached at John Bennet's father's. One only woman I saw remarkably unconcerned; who was wife to a still speaker.

I invited a much larger company in the evening to draw nigh with a true heart, in full assurance of faith. I bestowed two hours more in warning the Society against the devices of the still devil.

Mon., March 19th. I cried, in the heart of the Peak, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." In the evening I preached at Sheffield; and read the Society the account of our brethren's sufferings, which seemed to quicken them much.

At Barley-hall I expounded Luke xxi. 34; and we were all broken down by the power of love. I received fresh strength to pursue my journey. While passing Rotherham, where I had never been before, the mob rose upon us; but could not keep pace with our horses.

By night we came to Nottingham; and well for us that it was night. The mob are come to a great height through the encouragement of the Mayor. We knew not the way to brother Sant's, and could not inquire: but our horses carried us straight to his door. The house was immediately beset as usual. I was troubled for these few sheep in the wilderness. The wolf has made havoc of them: the Magistrates being the persecutors, not only refusing them justice, but cruelly abusing them as rioters. They presented a petition to Judge Abdy, as he passed through the town. He spake kindly to them, and bade them, if they were farther molested, present the Corporation. He chid the Mayor, and made him send his officers through the town, forbidding any one to injure the Methodists. He told him, "If you will begin, why don't you put down the assemblies contrary to law? Instead of that, if there be one religious Society, you must set upon that, to destroy it."

As soon as the Judge was out of the town, they returned to persecute the Methodists more than ever; and when they complained to the Mayor, he insulted them, "Why don't you go to my Lord Judge?" He threatens, when the press-warrants come out, to take Daniel Sant, an industrious founder, with four children; whose crime is, that he suffers the poor people to pray in his house.

Wed., March 21st. I exhorted the few remaining sheep to keep together; and rode to Northampton; and the next day to the Foundery. The Society helped me to give hearty thanks to God, for the multitude of his mercies.

Mon., March 26th. My brother set out for Cornwall, where persecution rages. I rode to see Mrs. Sparrow, of Lewisham, a martyr to worldly civility.

Tues., March 27th. I called, at the Foundery, "Wash ye, make you clean," &c. The word had great effect. I met the Leaders in the solemn presence of God.

Thur., March 29th. My mouth was opened to denounce judgments against this nation, except they repent.

Fri., March 30th. At the time of intercession, we were enabled to wrestle for the nation with strong cries and tears. At the chapel the Spirit of supplication fell upon us more abundantly still.

Sun., April 1st. I expounded part of Isai. i., and had power given me to warn them of God's approaching judgments. Our hearts were filled with joy in the evening.

Wed., April 4th. In speaking on, "The whole creation groaneth," &c., we felt the truth, and joined in the universal travail.

Wed., April 11th. The Foundery was filled by four with those who came to keep the national fast. I preached at the chapel in great weakness both of soul and body. In the midst of my discourse, the floor began to sink, with our people on it; but none of them cried out, or made the least disturbance, while they got off it.

Sat., April 14th. We were alarmed by news of a second invasion. The French, we hear, are now in the Channel. Yet this infatuated people will not believe there is any danger till they are swallowed up by it. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.

Thur., April 19th. I sent T. Butts to Wednesbury, with £60, which I have collected for the sufferers.

Wed., April 26th. I prevented a weak brother of Wednesbury making affidavit against the Justices; and wrote to the brethren to suffer all things. At night I declared,

"He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved."

Fri., April 27th. I preached on, "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity?" All our hearts were enlarged and comforted. It was a time much to be remembered.

Sun., April 29th. The whole congregation was in tears, under the word. Old Mr. Erskine, in particular, was quite broken down. The same or greater, utterance I had in the afternoon.

Mon., April 30th. I overtook, in the street, a well dressed person, and found an unusual desire to look back upon her. However, I walked on, till she called me by my name. I turned back, and found it to be an old intimate friend, delivered to me, that I might make her a first and last offer of the Gospel.


4 See Mr. John W'esley's Journal, under the date of March 5th, 1744.

Charles Wesley, The Journal of the Rev. Charles Wesley (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1849)

Text scanning by Ryan Danker. Proofreading by Aaron Bynum. MS Word conversion, and other modifications by Ryan Danker.

Copyright 1999 by the Wesley Center for Applied Theology. Text may be freely used for personal or scholarly purposes or mirrored on other web sites, provided this notice is left intact. Any use of this material for commercial purposes of any kind is strictly forbidden without the express permission of the Wesley Center at Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa, ID 83686, USA. Contact webmaster for permission or to report errors.

Placename mark-up by Humphrey Southall, Copyright 2006 GBHGIS.

Next Selection Previous Selection