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His first consolation was derived from reflecting upon the part which he believed himself called to
circumstances of this affair, which has induced many persons to suspect the propriety of his conduct in this business. He has, however, been more open in his private journal, which was written at the time as the circumstances arose. And as this private journal, and his other papers, lay open to the inspection of his friends for several years, I cannot help thinking that it would have been more to the reputation of themselves and Mr. Wesley to have openly avowed the fact that he did intend to marry Miss Causton, and was not a little pained when she broke off the connection with him. From a careful perusal of his private journal this appears to me to have been the case. But, whatever may be said of his weakness, (and who is not weak in something or other?) or of his prudence in this affair, nothing can be laid to his charge in point of criminality.” Wesley would naturally say as little as possible upon this subject in his printed journal; and in private, whether he remembered the lady with any degree of tenderness or not, he must have been conscious of much eccentricity during the course of the attachment, and great indiscretion after it was broken off. But it is remarkable that his private journal should only hint at the consultation of Moravians, and so remotely, that unless the fact bad elsewhere been mentioned, it could never have been inferred. Dr. Coke and Mr. Moore say, “ There is a silence observed in Mr. Wesley's journal in respect to some parts of this event, which it is possible has caused even friendly readers to hesitate concerning the propriety of his conduct, or at least concerning that propriety which they might be led to expect from so great a character. But what has hitherto been defective, we are happy in being able to supply. The actors in this scene, are now, we may hope, in a better world; the last of them died but a few years since. We are not, therefore, bound, asMr. Wesley thought himself when he published the account, to let a veil be thrown over this transaction : rather we are bound to let his innocency appear as the light, and his just dealing as the noon-day.” They add some circumstances which, to say the least, are not very probable. A young lady who had married after her arrival in Georgia; was troubled in conscience, and told Wesley, under a promise of secresy, the plot which General Oglethorpe had laid to cure him of his en thusiasm, adding these words : “ Sir, I had no rest till I resolved to tell you the whole affair. I have myself been urged to that behaviour towards
you, which I am now ashamed to mention. Both Miss Sophia and myself were ordered, if we could but succeed, even to deny you nothing." These biographers say further, “ when General Oglethorpe perceived by Wesley's altered manner, and some incautious expressions, that his scheme had been discovered, he gave him a hint that there were
perform. Walking to one of the newly settled lots, he
says, “ I plainly felt that had God given me such a retirement with the companion I desired, I should have forgotten the work for which I was born, and have set up my rest in this world.” It was not long, however, before he began to find cause for consolation from the lady's character, which took its natural course, when she no longer acted with the view of pleasing him. “ God,” he says,
“ has shewn me yet more of the greatness of my deliverance, by opening to me a new and unexpected scene of Miss Sophy's dissimulation.
Indians who would shoot any man in the colony for a bottle of rum, and actually sent an Indian to intimidate if not to murder him.
Surely it cannot be supposed that Wesley would have persisted in his wish, if not in his purpose, of marrying Sophia Causton, after he was fully assured that she had designed to entrap him by such means.
Yet it is certain that he persevered in that mind three months after Mr. Oglethorpe's departure, and that the connection was not broken off by him at last. Dr. Whitehead, who has printed from the private journal Wesley's own remarks, written as the events occurred, censures with great justice the official biographers, saying, “I cannot help thinking it would have been more to the reputation of themselves and Mr. Wesley, to have openly avowed the fact that he did intend to marry Miss Causton, and was not a little pained when she broke off the connection with him.” With regard to the young lady's curious con. fession, Mr. Wesley seems not to have asked himself the question whether it were more likely that General Oglethorpe would give such instructions to two young women under his protection, or that one of those women should have invented the story for purposes of mischief, at a time when it was wished to drive the obnoxious minister out of the colony. Mr. Moore believes that Mr. Wesley never related these circumstances to any person but himself; Dr. Coke was wholly ignorant of them; and he supposes that Mr. Wesley forbore to publish the whole account, chiefly through tenderness to General Oglethorpe. There was indeed sufficient reason for not bringing forward a charge at once so vague and so atrocious as that respecting the Indian; for though Messrs. Coke and Moore incline to think the man was sent only to intimidate, the story is not related so as to leave that impression upon the reader.
O never give me over to my own heart's desires, nor let me follow my own imaginations !” Some time afterwards, immediately after the communion, he mentioned to her some things in her conduct which he thought reprehensible; no man but Wesley would have done so, after what had passed between them, but at this time his austere notions led him wrong in every thing. The reproof irritated her, as it was likely to do, and she replied angrily, that she did not expect such usage from him, and turned abruptly away. At this time he was still upon friendly terms with her uncle Mr. Causton, the chief magistrate in the colony, and one who had hitherto been among his best friends : he had attended him lately during a slow illness, with a kindness of which that gentleman appeared fully sensible, and Mrs. Causton upon hearing what had now passed with her niece, endeavoured to excuse her to Wesley, expressed her sorrow for the affair, and desired him to tell her in writing what it was which he disapproved. The matter might easily have been ended here, if Wesley had so chosen ; but his notions of clerical duty during this part of his life, would have qualified him in other ages to have played the part of Becket or of Hildebrand. What he wrote to the lady has never been made public; the temper in which it was written may be estimated by the letter which he previously sent to her uncle. “ To this hour you have shown yourself my friend ; I ever have and ever shall acknowledge it: and it is my earnest desire that he who hath hitherto given me this
blessing would continue it still. But this cannot be unless you will allow me one request, which is not so easy a one as it appears, — don't condemn me for doing in the execution of my office what I think it my duty to do. If you can prevail upon yourself to allow me this, even when I act without respect of
persons, I am persuaded there will never be, at least not long, any misunderstanding between
For even those who seek it, shall, I trust, find no occasion against me, except it be concerning the law of my God.” This curious note brought Mr. Causton to his house to ask how he could possibly think he should condemn him for executing any part of his office. Wesley replied, “ Sir, what if I should think it the duty of my office to repel one of your family from the Holy Communion ?” “ If you repel me or my wife,” answered Causton, “ I shall require a legal reason, but I shall trouble myself about none else ; let them look to themselves.”
These circumstances must needs have thrown the lady into considerable agitation ; she miscarried: but though her aunt was now so incensed against Mr. Wesley as to impute this to his reproof and the letter which he had afterwards written, she herself was generous or just enough to declare that it was occasioned by anxiety during her husband's illness. Causton forbore from taking any part in the affair, and continued his usual friendly conduct towards the untractable chaplain : he, however, on the first Sunday in the ensuing month persisted in his purpose, and repelled her from the communion. The next day awarrant was issued against him for
defaming Sophia Williamson, and refusing to administer to her the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper in a public congregation without cause; for which injury the husband laid his damages at one thousand pounds. Upon this warrant he was carried before the Recorder and one of the Bailifs : there he maintained that the giving or refusing the Lord's Supper was a inatter purely ecclesiastical; and, therefore, he would not acknowledge their power to interrogate him concerning it. The Bailiff, nevertheless, said he must appear at the next Court holden for Savannah ; and Williamson desired that he might be required to give bail for his appearance; but the Bailiff replied, that Mr. Wesley's word was sufficient. Mr.Causton, still professing a regard to the friendship which had hitherto subsisted between them, required him to give the reasons for his conduct in the Court-house, which Wesley refused, saying, he apprehended many ill consequences might arise from so doing; " Let the cause,” he said, “ be laid before the trustees." The uncle now broke off all terms, and entered with great animosity into the business as a family quarrel, declaring he had drawn the sword, and would never sheath it till he had obtained satisfaction : and he called upon Wesley to give the reasons of his repelling her before the whole congregation. This he did accordingly, in writing, to the lady herself, and in these words : “ The rules whereby I proceed are these : so many as intend to be partakers of the Holy Communion, shall signify their names to the Curate, at least some