Susanna Wesley (Clarke 1886)
Eminent Women Series
EDITED BY JOHN H. INGRAM
W. H. ALLEN & CO., 13 WATERLOO PLACE, S.W.
PRINTED BY W. H. ALLEN AND CO., 13 WATERLOO PLACE, S.W.
This life of Susanna Wesley, the mother of John Wesley the founder, and of Charles Wesley the poet, of Methodism, differs from previous ones in not being written from a sectarian nor even from an eminently religious point of view. Having been much associated with those who had been in familiar intercourse with Charles Wesley's widow and children, and having heard Susanna Wesley continually spoken of as a woman "who underwent and overcame" more difficulties than most, the ideal of her life early aroused my imagination. I was delighted with the opportunity of writing her memoir, and have done so with the sympathetic admiration natural to one in whose veins runs some of her blood, however much diluted.
I have done my best to reconcile dates, and give events and letters in their proper order; but it has been a somewhat difficult task, partly because the Old and New Styles have evidently been used indiscriminately, and partly on account of the habit of the family of making rough drafts as well as fair copies of what they wrote, and the dates given being sometimes those of the actual documents, and sometimes those of the copies. More of general interest about Mrs. Wesley ought to have been preserved; but, unfortunately, she and her family have been regarded solely in connection with Methodism. She was nothing if not religious; but she was a lady of ancient lineage, a woman of intellect, a keen politician, and, had her ordinary correspondence been preserved, it would have given us an insight into the life of the period which would have been full of deep and world-wide interest.
In the preparation of this work I have been greatly indebted to the Rev. J. G. Stevenson, not only for the use of his valuable Memorials of the Wesley Family, which have been collected from every possible source, but for the kind and patient manner in which he has answered endless questions, consulted authorities, supplied me with quotations, and lent me books and pamphlets. Mr. John Wesley also took an interest in my work, and repeatedly proffered me all the assistance in his power.
LIST OF AUTHORITIES.
Memorials of the Wesley Family, by the Rev. G. J. Stevenson. 1876.
The Life of John Wesley, by the Rev. Luke Tyerman. 1870.
Memoirs of the Wesley Family, by Dr. Adam Clarke. 1823.
Life of Wesley, by Robert Southey. 1820.
Original Letters by the Rev. John Wesley and his Friends, by Dr. Joseph Priestly. 1791.
Life of Charles Wesley, by John Whitehead, M.D. 1805.
The Mother of the Wesleys, by the Rev. John Kirk. 1876.
The Methodist Pocket-Book. 1800.
The Wesley Banner. April and May, 1852.
Mrs. Wesley's original Papers.