From Richard Morgan to John Wesley

DUBLIN, January 31, 1734.

REVEREND SIR, I am favored with yours of the 15th, and am very sorry that my last letter has been the occasion of any dis­quietude to you, which I am sure I never designed. When, out of the friendship that had been contracted between us, and the good opinion I had both of yours and your brother's sincerity and judgment, I determined chiefly on your advice to send my son to the University, I did not imagine that it would be expected he should join in that strict Society which it was known I disliked in my other son; upon this confidence you know I did not offer the least caution against it in my former letters, nor did you in your first letter give any intimation that you expected it, having only expostulated on both sides on the subject of his learning, and thus, preliminaries being, as I thought, happily fixed, I was easy. But afterwards I was greatly surprised and alarmed to find you insist in your letter of the 6th of November that he must keep company with those and only those whom you approve of, with other hints tending that way. Then, indeed, the melancholy end of my other son, and the hazard of my only son being led the same way, made deep impressions on me, and my friends observed me melancholy upon it for some time; my fears and trouble increasing when I saw a letter from Mr. Buttely of Christ Church,[Oliver, son of Nicholas Buttely (or Butteicy) of Canterbury, matricu­lated June 8, 1716, age 19, D.D. 1734, Junior Proctor 1731. Samuel, son of John Buttely of Horringer, Suffolk, matriculated Dec. 13, 1733, age 17. See Foster's Allumni Oxonienses, where both names appear.] complaining that he had twice invited my son to his chambers, but that he did not come. Then I concluded from the expressions in your letter that he was to be confined to the company of the gentlemen of that Society. Yet, under all these apprehensions and uneasiness, I forbore in my letter to you to make any reflections upon the words of your letter, but urged only from the tragical experience in my other son the danger I apprehended of young people's engaging in the same way; and I thought that the dismal account I gave of my poor son (which nothing but my fears about my other son would have made me mention) would rather have met with pity to me than reproaches.

Now, I must tell you that I respect and adore both you and every gentleman of that strict religious Society that you are engaged in, and doubt not but you will meet with an exalted seat in heaven. I could even wish to be among you, as I formerly hinted to you; yet I must be of the same opinion still, that it is a dangerous experi­ment for young people to venture upon, which I think the example I gave you in my last sufficiently proves; and if it were necessary, I could give you several other examples how too great a zeal for piety and religion has carried injudicious people into madness. But, supposing it be a doubtful case whether it be advisable for a youth to unite in this Society or not (as sure it must at least be allowed to be from the diversity of opinions about it), how must I determine the question? You argue very rationally and piously for it; and five able divines, some of them bishops, men of remark­able piety and learning, of my intimate acquaintance, warn me of the danger of it: then surely from the common ends of prudence and judgment, it is plain how I ought to determine.

I agree with you in one thing, that from my son's gaiety and inclination to pleasures (I cannot say more than were innocent) I had the less reason to fear his falling into too strict a course of life, and this I observed to a certain divine in discoursing with him on that subject, when he heard that you were to be his tutor; but he answered that the danger was the greater, that, if such a volatile temper should take a turn that way, he might plunge into deeper extremes than graver persons, and that I did not know what the influence of a tutor might bring to pass. God grant that he does and will continue to do what he has told you, viz. constantly say his prayers at home and in the chapel; and then I will venture to say {though I am no divine), if he also avoids sins of commission, that he may be ranked in the class of good Christians. It is neither my province, nor am I any way equal to you, to manage this point of controversy; therefore I beg we may drop it for the future. If I have said anything in this or my former letter that is disagreeable to you (for I assure you I would do nothing willingly to disoblige you), I hope you will forgive me and impute it to my too great anxiety for the welfare of my son, and believe that there is nothing I covet more than his living a good life and doing his duty both to God and man, which I think is generally the wish of even a wicked parent; and as I am not notoriously so, I hope I am not to be suspected as encouraging my son to depart from the right way.

The enclosed letter, which I have left open for your perusal, shows how desirous I am that he should obediently submit to your authority and government, &c. I would never have sent him to the University, trusting to the common care of a tutor, after the long habit he had of pleasure and idleness. My dependence on yours or your brother's more than ordinary care of him made me venture upon it, and I hope nothing has happened to create any indifference in you towards him.

The former part of your letter I am come now to answer in the last place, and do assure you that I never received the letter you mention, of which you saw the rough draft upon his table, nor any-th'mg like it. His last letter that I received was of the 6th of November, and in that, and in every letter that he made any mention of you in, he did it with great respect to you, and expres­sions of your civilities and kindness to him.

I now conclude with all fervent wishes, and desire for his and all our happiness in this and the next world, dear sir,

Your truly affectionate, most obliged, humble servant,


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