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(Vol. II. p. 31.) The elder SAMUEL WESLEY, wliose labours on Job gave occasion to this memoir, was born at Winterborn Whitchurch in Dorsetshire, where his father (John Wesley) was vicar. He was educated, first at the free-school at Dorchester, and then in a private academy among the Dissenters, whom he soon left, and was admitted a servitor, at the age of 18, of Exeter college, Oxford, 1684. He proceeded B. A. 1688; and, taking orders, was rector of South Ormesby, co. Lincoln; and afterwards obtained the rectory of Epworth, in the Isle of Axholme, in the same county. He was chaplain also to the Marquis of Normanby, afterwards Duke of Buckingham, who recommended him for an Irish Bishoprick.
John Dunton, who was nearly related to Mr. Wesley by marriage, and who in other parts of his multifarious writings enters deeply into their family squabbles, gives him the following character:
" Mr. Wesley had an early inclination to poetry; but he usually writ too fast to write well. Two hundred couplets a day are too many by two-thirds, to be well-furnished with all the beauties and the graces of that art. He writ very much for me both in verse and prose, though I shall not name over the titles, in regard I am altogether as unwilling to see my name at the bottom of them, as Mr. Wesley would be to subscribe his own. Mr. Wesley had read much, and is well-skilled in the languages, He is generous and good-humoured, and caresses his friend with a great deal of passion, so long as his circumstances are any thing in order, and then he drops him; and I challenge the rector of Ep
worth (for he is not yet my Lord, nor his Grace) to prove I injure him in this character; for that he was once glad of my friendship, none can question that reads the following letter (of which I have the original still by me): .
'DEAR BROTHER, Epworth, July the 24th, 97. “ It has been neither unkindness to you, with whom I have traded and been justly used for many years, much less unthankfulness to Mr. Rogers, for I shall own my obligations to that good man while I live, which has made me so long neglect answering your several letters; but the hurry of a remove, and my extraordinary business, being obliged to preach the Visitation Sermon at Gainsborough at the Bishop's coming thither, which is but just over.-Besides, I would fain have sent you an Elegy, as well as an Epitaph, but cannot get one to my mind, and therefore you must be content with half your desire ; and if you please to accept this epitaph it is at your service, and I hope it will come before you need another Epithalamium *. I am
Your obliged friend and brother, S. Wesley.' “I could be very maggotty in the character of this conforming Dissenter (for so this letter shews him to be); but, except he farther provokes me, I bid him farewell till we meet in Heaven, and there I hope we shall renew our friendship, for (human frailties excepted) I believe Sam Wesley a pious man. I shall only add that the giving this true character of Parson Wesley is all the satisfaction I ever desire for his dropping an old friend. I shall leave him to struggle through life, and to make the best of it. But, alas!
lle loves too much the Heliconian strand,
“I do not speak this out of prejudice to Mr. Wesley; for to forgive a slight (or undeserved slander,
* These were articles in which Dunton traded, and regularly sold them ready made.
invented by S t, to revenge the discovery I made of his wh-m, and whispered about by a reverend brother) is so easy to me, it is scarce a virtue. But this rhiming circumstance of Mr. Wesley, is what I learn from the poem called The Reformation of Manners,' where are these words:
“ Wesley with pen and poverty beset, And Blackmore vers’d in physick as in wit; Tho'this of Jesus, that of Job may sing, One bawdy play will twice their profits bring: And had not both caress'd the flatter'd Crown, This had no knighthood seen, nor that no gown.” Mr. Wesley was a very voluminous author; having published, besides other things, “ Maggots, or Poems on several Subjects, 1685," 8vo; “The Life of Christ, an heroic Poem, 1693," folio; dedicated to the Queen, reprinted with large additions and corrections in 1697; “ Elegies on Queen Mary and Archbishop Tillotson, 1695," folio; “A Sermon preached before the Society for Reformation of Manners, 1698," Svo; “ A Letter concerning the Education of the Dissenters in their private Academies, 1703,"and“A Defenceofit,"12mo; to Theflistory ofthe Oldard New Testamentattempted in Verse, and adorned with Three hundred and Thirty Sculptures, engraved by J.Sturt,” 3 vols. 12mo, 1704, addressed to Queen Anne in a Poetical Dedication, “A Treatise on the Sacrament;” and “ Dissertationes in Librum Jobi * ;" for which last, proposals were circulated in 1729, and which was finished after his death, and published by his son Samuel, 1736. Mr. Wesley had collated all the copies he could meet with of the original, and the Greek and other versions and editions; and after his labours and his library had been burnt with his house (which it seems had suffered the like fate once before, about the year 1707) he resumed the task in the decline of life, oppressed with gout and palsy through long habit of study. Among other assistances, he particularly acknowledges that of his three sons, and his friend Maurice Johnson:
* To this volume was prefixed an emblematical portrait; thus described by a Correspondent in Gent. Mag. 1785, p.758: “A print in my collection represents Job in a chair of state, dressed in a robe bordered with fur, sitting beneath a gateway, on the arch of which is written "JOB PATRIARCHA.' He bears a sceptre in his hand, and in the back ground are seen two of the pyramids of Ægypt. His position exactly corresponds with the idea given us by the Scriptures in the book of Job, chap. xxix. yer. 7: · When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street:' according to the customs of those times, of great men sitting at the gate of the city to decide causes. The subscription on a tablet beneath his feet, An, ætat. circiter LXX. Quis mihi tribuat marks it out as the quaint device of a man in years who thought himself neglected. .G. Vertue delin. di sculp.' is followed by po date of year. A former
Mr. Pope, in a letter to Dr. Swift, April 12, 1730, says, “ I shall think it a kindness done myself if you can propagate Mr. Wesley's subscription for his Commentary on Job * among your Divines (Bishops excepted, of whom there is no hope) and among such as are believers or readers of Scripture. Even the curious may find something to please them, if they scorn to be edified. It has been the labour of eight years of this learned man's life; I call him what he is, a learned man, and I engage you will approve his prose more than you formerly could his poetry. Lord Bolingbroke is a favourer of it, and allows you to do your best to serve an old Tory, and a sufferer for the Church of England, though you are a Whig, as I am."
His poetry, which is far from being excellent, incurred the censure of Garth; but he made ample
owner has written underneath with a pencil, Westley.' Mr. Walpole, in his ‘Catalogue of Engravers,' 4to, 1763, seems unacquainted with the allusion intended by this print, as, upon referring to his list of Vertue's works, I find Job Patriarcha' in class 12, among the foreigners. L. L."
* “Poor Job! It was his eternal fate to be persecuted by his friends. His three Comforters passed sentence of condemnation upon him; and he has been executing in effigie ever since. He was first bound tó the stake by a long Catenu of Greek Fathers; then tortured by Pineda; then strangled by Caryl ; and afterwards cut up by Wesley, and anatomized by Garnet. Pray don't reckon me amongst his hangmen: I only acted the tender part of his wife, and was for making short work with him. But he was ordained, I think, by a fate like that of Prometheus, to
amends for it by the goodness of his life. He died April 23, 1735*, and left an exceedingly numerous family of children; four of whom are not unknown in the annals of English literature;
1. Samuel ; of whom presently.
2. and 3. John and Charles Wesley, the two celebrated founders of the sect of Methodists; the former admitted at Lincoln college, the other at Brazen-nose college.
4. Mrs. Mehetabel Wright, authoress of several Poems printed in the Sixth Volume of the “ Poetical Calendar.”
SAMUEL WESLEY S, the eldest son, was first a scholar, and afterwards nearly 20 years usher of Westminster-school; whence, in 1711, he was elected as a king's scholar to Christ Church, Oxford. He was author of two excellent Poems, called " The Battle of the Sexes,” and “ The Prisons opened;"
lie still upon his dunghill, and have his brains sucked out by owls. One Hodges, a Head of Oxford, now threatens us with a new Auto de fe." Mr. Warburton to Mr. Hurd, Dec. 23, 1749.
* See more of him in “Wood's Athena Oxonienses," vol. II, p 963; and Birch's “ Life of Tillotson, p. 307, 343, second
+ Of John, see a more particular account in p. 291.
Charles Wesley was born at Epworth in 1709, admitted a scholar at Westminster in 1921; and elected to Oxford in 1726. He published two single Sermons, 1. Preached before the University 1742; 2. On the Earthquake 1953; and died March 28, 1901.
$ “Anthony Wood, speaking of Samuel Wesley, the father of John, says: Thc said Samn. Westley is grandson to .... Westley, the fanatical minister sometime of Charmouth in Dorsetshire, at vi hat Cue (1051) the Lord Wilmot and King Charles II, had like to have been by hin betrayed, when they continued incognito in that county. Ath. Oxon. 2d. edit. rol. Il. col. 963.-The soy to which Wood alludes is told in a very lively manner by Dr. Geo. Bate, in the second part of his Elenchus Motuum nuperorum in Anglia, ed. 1676, p. 255. I would transcribe the whicle narrative, but it is rather too long, and Bates's book is by no means uncommon. The taie is also related by Lord Clarendon, and indeed by most of the hisiorians and annalists of those times. Clarendon does not mention Wesley's name; but says the man was 'a weaver, who had been a soldier'."