Letter V. Peter Jaco, Bradford, to George Merryweather, Yarm, near Stockton upon Tees, Yorkshire, 26 February 1764.
My very dear, and very worthy Friend,
Your Melancholy Letter came to hand last night at 10 O’clock the contents of which produced such astonishment and grief that after several attempts to read it I have not yet Philosophy enough sufficient to go formaly thro’ it.
Be assur’d I have labour’d under the same Temptation with respect to you, as the Copy of a Letter wh I have still by me (and wh I design you to see the first opportunity) will manifest.
I wrote you a Long Epistle as soon as I came into this Round and another at the same time to our Hartlepool Friends to which I never to this day got a Line in answer. Some time before Xtms I sent you another, but was no better so that I was quite disheartened and thought I would trouble you no more with Letters, but would refer the Cause of your Silence to a personal Interview, but sickness, no horse to ride on, and a multiplicity of Calls &c &c &c have prevented me.
I make no doubt but the following Relation (part of it at least) will surprise my dr Friend. Ever since I first knew god I have thought that an agreeable Companion must certainly sweeten many of the afflictions incident to this fluctuating state of things, & that this Companion must be truly Pious, independent in Riches, beauty or any personal accomplishment, as all these seldom meet in the same person. I therefore determind to choose the former and leave all other Events to god. Accordingly four years ago I became acquainted with Mrs Hawksworth the House Keeper at Bristol Room, a serious useful Woman. & after a Critical observation of her Conduct I thought she was the most likely woman to make my Life agreeable that I had ever met with. After some time I communicated my thoughts to Mr Chs Wesley who told me that it would be a sin to remove her from the place she was in, that she was surprisingly blest in her Classes, and in short gave me so much discouragement that I determind I would make no more Confidents but as she had nothing and I did not like her becoming Expensive to the Church, we agreed to wait for a more favourable prospect. Abt two years ago some of my London Friends communicated a scheme to me under the seal of secresy wh when carried into execution would in all probability be exceeding profitable to the Proprietors, in which I was to have a fourth part; and added to this had the advantage of prefering [sic] any person I thought fit to look after the affair, with a Pension of £50 pr ann – I now thought the way made plain, and according to our agreement marrieed Mrs H the beginning of last May, but alas! How transitory all human prospects! abt 2 months I received a Letter from my fellow adventurers, that the affair was drop’d and that the dificulties where [sic] so many that they feard it would never go forward! This together with a Letter from my Wife that she was with child, and was uneasy in her mind that she was absent from me, threw me into the greatest difficulty. I immediately wrote to Mr Wesley an account of the whole affair, and desired leave to retire with my Wife to my old occupation, as my pride was still too great to submit to the Inconveniences wh I saw other preachers in my circumstance exposed to. But blessed be God, good Mr W— has reclaimed me from such a desperate procedure, and rous’d me to my duty by shewing the dreadful consequences wh (he thinks) will infallably attend my deserting the Work. I am now more satisfied in my mind, and find unspeakable serenity in my soul. My wife is on her way to me, and hope the storms I have meet [sic] with will be follow’d by a happy Calm. I make no doubt but my dear Dr George will heartily say ‘Amen.’ Thus for my own affairs now for those relative to Yarm. And first as to yourself. I am an entire stranger to your H. Rudby affair, so as to know how far it was advanced, or how it terminated, so that I could have nothing against you on ytaccount. Secondly I never knew any thing on your Conduct wh could give me any disgust on any other. Thirdly I never was tempted agst you one moment (that [I] can remember) since I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance so that my Friends Conjectures are entirely without Ground.
Nothing would give me more satisfaction than a Compliance with your ardent desire with regard to the opening of your House, but what can I say to you? I am surrounded with difficulties, wh to me seem at present Insurmountable. I have no Horse to ride on, calls to so many places, such a variety ^of^ affairs on my Hands which no one will intermeddle in but myself, that I know not what way to turn. However I would have you write to Mr Wesley immediately, and request him to let me come over, and if I get his sanction I will find some way to pay you a visit. Let me have his answer as soon as possible that I may prepare for the Journey. If you do not think this advisable, get some of the preachers in the Round to open it, and I will take some Opportunity to pay you a visit.
After all the unkind surmises of my Friend, I shall accept of your Kind Invitation when I come to Yarm, if convenient to you. I am glad to hear of your being deliver’d from your House of Bondage. My Dr Love to my good, good Friend MrWaldry, Mr Waters, my Friends at Hartlepool, &c &c &c be so kind as to accept the same yourself from Dr George Yours invariably while
Bradford 26 Feb 1764
Direct for me at Mr Joseph Bennetts Clothier in Dewsbury, near Wakefield Yorkshire. Peace be with you always Amen.
Addrress: To | Mr Geo. Merryweather Mercht | in Yarm near Stockton upon |Tees|Yorkshire | Via Northallerton Bogg