A Bit About Richard Morgan

From Richard Morgan to John Wesley [3]

DUBLIN, November 22, 1733.

REVEREND SIR, -- I had the favor of yours, and am very thankful for your care and tenderness about my son, who I am sure will observe your advice and directions in everything. 11y concern about my only son brings the misfortunes of my other son fresh into my mind, and obliges me now to impart to you, and only to you, what I have hitherto concealed from all men as far as it could be kept secret.

After he had spent about six weeks with me in Dublin, and the physicians having agreed that the air at Oxford was better for his health than the Irish air, when I was obliged to take a journey with my Lord Primate into his diocese, my dear son was to set out on his journey to England the same day, which he accordingly did. He rode an easy pad, and was to make easy journeys through part of this kingdom to see some relations in the way, and to take shipping at Cork, from which there is a short passage to Bristol, and from thence the journey not great to Oxford.

He traveled twelve miles the first day, attended by that careful servant that was with him at Oxford. The servant observed him to act and talk lightly and incoherently that day. He slept little or none at night, but often cried out that the house was on fire, and used other wild expressions.

The second day he grew worse, and threw his bridle over the horse's head, and would neither guide him himself nor let the man guide him, whom he charged to stay behind, saying that God would guide him. The horse turned about, went in side-roads, and went to a disused quarry filled with water to drink, where my poor child fell off, and had then like to have been lost, the servant not daring to do but as he bid him, whom he often beat and struck. The servant then, finding him deprived of all understanding and outrageous, by great art and management brought him back to Dublin.

Two of our most eminent physicians and the Surgeon-General were brought to attend him; an express was sent after me, with whom I hastened back to town. He was put into a room [up] two pair of stairs and the sashes nailed down; yet he found an oppor­tunity to run to one of the windows, tore it down, though nailed, and was more than half out, before he could be catched, but was happily saved. He was raving mad, and three men set over him to watch him and hold, and by the direction of the physicians he was threatened with ropes and chains, which were produced to him and rattled.

In his madness he used frequently to say that enthusiasm was his madness, repeated often 'Oh religious madness!' that they had hindered him from being now with God, meaning their hindering him from throwing himself out at the window, and named some other persons and things that I shan't mention; but in his greatest rage never cursed or swore or used any profane expressions. Some have told me since that they looked upon him to be dis­ordered some time before in his head. But God was pleased to take him to Himself in seven days' time, which no doubt the blisterings and severities used by the physicians and surgeon for his recovery precipitated.

These are melancholy reflections, which make me earnestly desire that my surviving son should not go into those over-zealous ways which (as is apprehended) contributed to this great misfortune which finished my other son. I would have him live a sober, virtuous, and religious life, and to go to church and sacrament according to the statutes and customs of his College; but for young people to pretend to be more pure and holy than the rest of mankind is a dangerous experiment. As to charitable subscriptions and contributions, I wholly debar him from making any because he has not one shilling of his own but what I give him; which I appropriate wholly to his maintenance, education, and moderate and inoffensive recreation and pleasures; and I believe as a casuist you will agree with me that it is injustice, and consequently sinful rather than virtue, to apply my money any other way than as I appropriate it. He must leave me to measure out my own charities, and to distribute them in such manner and proportion as I shall think proper.

I hope you will not suspect, from anything I have said, that I intend the least reflection or disrespect to you; for if I did not think very well of you, and had not a great opinion of your conduct and abilities, I should not put my only son under your tuition, which I think is the best proof a man can give of his good esteem and opinion of another.

The tragical account I give you of my poor deceased son, my son Richard can inform you of as well as I; which I charged him to say nothing of at Oxford, but now he may to you, if you think proper to inquire of him about it: and I hope I may be excused for being solicitous to prevent my present son's falling into extremes, which it is thought were so prejudicial to my other.

I sent a bill of £5o by the last post to Mr. James Huey, merchant, in Aldermanbury, London, with directions to transmit the value to you, which I hope is done. I shall begrudge no money that is for my son's benefit and advantage. I would have him live as decently as other gentlemen of his station. I am very desirous that he should keep a regular account, that he may attain to a habit of it, knowing the great use and benefit of accounts to all men. I shall depend upon you letting me know when a further supply will be wanting.

Pray my respects to your brother, and believe me to be,

Your very affectionate and most humble servant,


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