SECOND LETTER TO THE LORD BISHOP OF EXETER
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IN ANSWER TO HIS LORDSHIP’S LATE LETTER.
My Lord, IN my late Letter to your Lordship I used no ceremony; (I suppose it was not expected from one who was so deeply injured;) and I trust I used no rudeness: If I did, I am ready to ask your Lordship’s pardon.
That Letter related to a matter of fact published on your Lordship’s authority, which I endeavored to falsify, and your Lordship now again endeavors to support.
The facts alleged are, First , that I told Mrs. Morgan, at Mitchel, “You are in hell; you are damned already.”
Secondly , that I asked her to live upon free cost.
Thirdly , that she determined to admit no more Methodists into her house.
At first I thought so silly and improbable a story neither deserved nor required a confutation; but when my friends thought otherwise, I called on Mrs. Morgan, who denied she ever said any such thing. I wrote down her words; part of which I transcribed in my letter to your Lordship, as follows: — “On Saturday, August 25, 1750, Mr. Trembath, of St. Ginnys, Mr. Haime, of Shaftesbury, and I, called at Mr. Morgan’s, at Mitchel. The servant telling me her master was not at home, I desired to speak with her mistress, the ‘honest, sensible woman.’ I immediately asked, ‘Did I ever tell you or your husband, that you would be damned if you took any money of me?’ (So the story ran in the first part of the ‘Comparison;’ it has now undergone a very considerable alteration.) ‘Or did you or he ever affirm,’ (another circumstance related at Truro,) ‘that I was rude with your maid?’
She replied, vehemently, ‘Sir, I never said you was, or that you said any such thing. And I do not suppose my husband did. But we have been belied as well as our neighbors.’ She added, ‘When the Bishop came down last, he sent us word he would dine at our house; but he did not, being invited to a neighboring gentleman’s.
He sent for me thither, and said, Good woman, do you know these people that go up and down? Do you know Mr. Wesley? Did not he tell you, you would be damned if you took any money of him? And did not he offer rudeness to your maid? I told him, No, my Lord; he never said any such thing to me, nor to my husband that I know of. He never offered any rudeness to any maid of mine. I never saw or knew any harm of him: But a man told me once, (who I was told was a Methodist Preacher,) that I should be damned if I did not know my sins were forgiven.’” Your Lordship replies, “I neither sent word that I would dine at their house, nor did I send for Mrs. Morgan; every word that passed between us was at her own house at Mitchel.” (Page 7.) I believe it; and consequently, that the want of exactness in this point rests on Mrs. Morgan, not on your Lordship.
I apprehend otherwise; to wave what is past, if the facts now published by your Lordship, or any part of them, be not true, then certainly your Lordship will lie under more than a “suspicion of having published a falsehood.”
The attestations your Lordship produces are, First, those of your Lordship’s Chancellor and Archdeacon: Secondly, those of Mr. Bennet.
The former attests, that in June or July 1748, Mrs. Morgan did say those things to your Lordship. (Page 8.) I believe she did, and therefore acquit your Lordship of being the inventor of those falsehoods.
Mr. Bennet avers, that, in January last, Mrs. Morgan repeated to him what she had before said to your Lordship. (Page 11.) Probably she might; having said those things once, I do not wonder if she said them again.
Nevertheless, before Mr. Trembath and Mr. Haime she denied every word of it.
To get over this difficulty, your Lordship publishes a Second Letter from Mr. Bennet, wherein he says, “On March 4th, last, Mrs. Morgan said, ‘I was told by my servant, that I was wanted above stairs; where, when I came, the chamber door being open, I found them’ (Mr. Wesley and others) ‘round the table on their knees.’” He adds, That “Mrs. Morgan owned one circumstance in it was true; but as to the other parts of Mr. Wesley’s letter to the Bishop, she declares it is all false.”
I believe Mrs. Morgan did say this to Mr. Bennet; and that therefore neither is he “the maker of a lie.” But he is the relater of a whole train of falsehoods, and those told merely for telling sake. I was never yet in any chamber at Mrs. Morgan’s. I was never above stairs there in my life. On August 25, 1750, I was below stairs all the time I was in the house. When Mrs. Morgan came in, I was standing in the large parlor; nor did any of us kneel while we were under the roof. This both Mr. Trembath and Mr. Haime can attest upon oath, whatsoever Mrs. Morgan may declare to the contrary.
But she declared farther, (so Mr. Bennet writes,) “That Mr. John Wesley, some time ago, said to a maid of hers such things as were not fit to be spoken;” Page 11;) and Mr. Morgan declared that he “did or said such indecent things to the above-named maid” (the same fact, I presume, only a little embellished) “in his chamber, in the night, that she immediately ran down stairs, and protested she would not go near him or any of the Methodists more.” (Page 12.)
To save trouble to your Lordship, as well as to myself, I will put this cause upon a very short issue: If your Lordship will only prove that ever I lay one night in Mrs. Morgan’s house, nay, that ever I was in the town of Mitchel after sunset, I will confess the whole charge.
What your Lordship mentions “by the way,” I will now consider: “Some of your western correspondents imposed upon the leaders of Methodism, by transmitting to London a notoriously false account of my Charge to the Clergy. Afterwards the Methodists confessed themselves to have been deceived; yet some time after, the Methodists at Cork, in Ireland, your own brother at the head of them, reprinted the same lying pamphlet, as my performance.” (Pages 4, 5.)
(1.) They were none of my correspondents who sent that account to London.
(2.) It was sent, not to the leaders of Methodism, but to one who was no Methodist at all.
(3.) That it was a false account, I do not know: But your Lordship may easily put it out of dispute. And many have wondered, that your Lordship did not do so long ago, by printing the Charge in question.
(4.) I did never confess it was a false account; nor any person by my consent, or with my knowledge.
(5.) That account was never reprinted at Cork at all.
(6.) When it was reprinted at Dublin, your Lordship had not disowned it.
(7.) My brother was not in Dublin, when it was done; nor did either he or I know of it till long after.
Therefore, when my brother was asked, how he could reprint such an account, after your Lordship had publicly disowned it, I do not at all wonder, that “he did not offer a single word in answer.”
Whether this, as well as my former Letter, be “mere rant and declamation,” or plain and sober reason, I must refer to the world, and your Lordship’s own conscience.
I am, My Lord, Your Lordship’s most obedient servant,
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, May 8, 1752.