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Wesley in the Marshalsea Prison

1768. Saturday, January 2.--I called on a poor man in the Marshalsea, whose case appeared to be uncommon. He is by  birth a Dutchman, a chemist by profession. Being but half-employed at home, he was advised to come to London, where he doubted not of having full employment. He was recommended to a countryman of his to lodge, who after six weeks arrested him for much more than he owed, and hurried him away to prison, having a wife near her time, without money, friend, or a word of English to speak. I wrote the case to Mr. T--, who immediately gave fifteen pounds; by means of which, with a little addition, he was set at liberty and put in a way of living. But I never saw him since, and for good reason: for he could now live without me.

Monday, 4.--At my leisure hours this week, I read Dr. Priestley's ingenious book on electricity. He seems to have accurately collected and well digested all that is known on that curious subject. But how little is that all! Indeed the use of it we know; at least, in some good degree. We know it is a thousand medicines in one: in particular, that it is the most efficacious medicine in nervous disorders of every kind which has ever yet been discovered. But if we aim at theory, we know nothing. We are soon


Lost and bewilder'd in the fruitless search.


Monday, 11.--This week I spent my scraps of time in reading Mr. Wodrow's History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland. It would transcend belief but that the vouchers are too authentic to admit of any exception. Oh, what a blessed Governor was that good-natured man, so called, King Charles the Second! Bloody Queen Mary was a lamb, a mere dove, in comparison to him!

Monday, February 8.--I met with a surprising poem, entitled, Choheleth; or, the Preacher. It is a paraphrase, in tolerable verse, on the Book of Ecclesiastes. I really think the author of it (a Turkey Merchant) understands both the difficult expressions and the connection of the whole better than any other either ancient or modern writer whom I have seen. He was at Lisbon during the great earthquake, just then sitting in his nightgown and slippers. Before he could dress himself, part of the house he was in fell and blocked him up. By this means his life was saved, for all who had run out were dashed in pieces by the falling houses.

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