John Wesley's First Known Letter to his Mother, September 23, 1723

CH. CH., OXON, September 23, 1723.

DEAR MOTHER, --I suppose my brother [Samuel Wesley] told you that Mr. Wigan [John's tutor] had resigned his pupils and was retired into the country to one of his livings. I was lately with Mr. Sherman, who is now my tutor, and who, asking me what Mr. Wigan had of me for tutorage, told me he would never take any more of me than he had done, but would rather add something to than take from what little I had. I heard lately from my brother, who then promised me to order Mr. Sherman to let me have the rent of his room, and this quarter's studentship, by which, together with my five 11b from the Charterhouse at Michaelmas Day, I hope to be very near out of debt everywhere.

The small-pox and fever are now very common in Oxford; of the latter a very ingenious young gentleman of our College died yesterday, being the fifth day from the beginning of his illness. There is not any other in the College sick at present, and it is hoped that the approach of winter will stop the spreading of the distemper.

I am very glad to hear that all at home are well; as I am, I thank God, at present, being seldom troubled with anything but bleeding at the nose, which I have frequently. A little while ago, it bled so violently while I was walking in the evening a mile or two from Oxford, that it almost choked me; nor did any method I could use at all abate it, till I stripped myself and leapt into the river, which happened luckily not to be far off.

I shall not want the notes of my entrance and a great while yet, but shall take care to write time enough them when I do; they can but be brought by the post at last if nobody comes this way or to London in the time. I should have been very glad to have heard my sister Suky or any other of my sisters; nor am I so poor, but that I can spare postage now and then for a letter or two.

I heard yesterday one of the most unaccountable stories that I ever heard in my life; and the father of the person who told it me had it from the late Bishop of Raphoe in Ireland, who was concerned in it. It is too long and perhaps too impertinent to repeat now; but the most remarkable thing in it was that an actor in it, who by other circumstances pretty plainly appears to have been the devil, distinguished himself and was known to his fellows by a name which title can only belong to the great God.

I shall conclude with begging yours and my father's blessing on

Your dutiful Son.

Pray remember my love to all my sisters, and my service to Mr. Romley and his wife.

For Mrs. Wesley, At Wroot. To be left at the Post-house in Bawtry.

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