Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 60.djvu/304

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Wesley
Wesley
298

raising funds for the crusade against Manfred, king of Sicily (Burton Annals, i. 350, 351).

In 1256 Wesham was smitten with paralysis. Knowing that all hope of recovery was gone, and fearing that no small danger threatened his flock (Burton Annals, p. 377), he besought Alexander IV to allow him to yield up his office. The pope unwillingly consented, and appointed Henry de Lexinton, bishop of Lincoln, to receive his resignation [see under Lexinton, John de]. This was effected on 4 Dec. at the manor of Brewood, to which Wesham had already retired on a pension of three hundred marks. He died at Brewood on Sunday, 21 May 1257, and was buried at Lichfield on the following Tuesday, Fulk de Sandford [q. v.], archbishop of Dublin, celebrating the funeral office (Burton Annals, p. 408).

[Calendar of Papal Registers, Letters, 1198–1304, Matthew Paris's Chron. Majora, vols. iv. and v., Flores Historiarum, Annales Monastici, Grosseteste's Letters (Rolls Ser.); Little's Grey Friars in Oxford (Oxford Hist. Soc.); Le Neve's Fasti Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, ed. Hardy; Godwin, De Præsulibus Angliæ; Beresford's Diocesan History of Lichfield (S.P.C.K.), pp. 110–17; Pegge's Memoirs of the Life of Roger de Weseham (1741) is a full but quaint biography.]

M. T.

WESLEY, CHARLES (1707–1788), divine and hymn-writer, eighteenth child, youngest and third surviving son of Samuel Wesley (1662–1735) [q. v.], was born at Epworth Rectory, Lincolnshire, on 18 Dec. 1707. This correction from the usual date (1708) is made practically certain in Stevenson's ‘Memorials of the Wesley Family’ [1876], p. 385. A seven months' child, he was reared with difficulty. In 1716 he entered Westminster school, under the care and at the cost of his brother Samuel [see under Wesley, Samuel, (1662–1735)], till he was elected king's scholar in 1721. Among his schoolfellows was William Murray (afterwards first Earl of Mansfield) [q. v.] Wesley, who was captain of the school (1725), was Murray's protector from ill-usage on the score of his Jacobite origin. He showed dramatic ability and quickness in acquirement, and bore a high character, though his lively disposition got him into scrapes. John Wesley affirmed (in an unfinished sketch of his brother's life, written 1790, and meant for publication) that at this period Garrett Wesley or Wellesley (d. 23 Sept. 1728) of Dangan, co. Meath, wrote to his father proposing to provide for Charles's education and adopt him as his heir. Money was accordingly paid for his schooling for some years, but Charles was unwilling to go to Ireland (Moore, 1824, i. 152); Maxwell (Life of Wellington, 1839, i. 6) thinks the matter overstated. Garrett Wesley ultimately adopted Richard Colley (afterwards Richard Colley Wellesley, first baron Mornington) [q. v.]

In 1726 Charles entered Christ Church, Oxford, as a Westminster student, matriculating on 13 June. For the first year he was indisposed to pass from the tutelage of his brother Samuel to that of John, then fellow of Lincoln. ‘He would warmly answer, “What, would you have me to be a saint all at once?” and would hear no more.’ His application to study was coincident with John's removal from Oxford (1727). Study brought ‘serious thinking’ in its train. He began to attend the weekly sacrament. In January 1729 he began a diary, kept it regularly for twenty years, then intermittently till 1756; the discontinuance was ascribed by his brother to ‘wrong humility.’ By the spring of 1729 (six months before John's return to Oxford, in November) he had ‘persuaded two or three young scholars to accompany me, and to observe the method of study prescribed by the statutes of the university. This gained me the harmless nickname of methodist’ (letter to Thomas Bradbury Chandler, 28 April 1785). The bestowal of the nickname is assigned by John Wesley to ‘a young gentleman of Christ Church.’ Its meaning has been much discussed. Watson (Life of John Wesley, 1839, p. 12) has cited its use as a religious designation (‘plain, pack-staff methodists’) as early as 1639. Daniel Williams [q. v.] and his followers were described (1693) as ‘new methodists in the great point of justification.’ John Wesley thought there was an allusion to the ‘medici methodici’ (as opposed to empirics). But there is no reason for questioning the testimony of Charles. He was called a ‘methodist’ for advocating a system of study. The religious reference was not the primary one; the word meant little more than ‘prig’ (see Phillips, New World of Words, 6th edit. 1706, ed. Kersey, where ‘methodist’ is glossed ‘one that treats of a method, or affects to be methodical’).

In 1730 Charles graduated B.A. and began to take pupils. He was an excellent scholar, an especially good Latinist. His plan of associated study and religious exercises assumed new proportions under his brother's lead [see Wesley, John]. He threw himself into the movement with conspicuous zeal. It was to Charles Wesley that George Whitefield [q. v.] first turned (1732) when he felt drawn to the methodist movement. Yet he looked forward to no career beyond that