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This letter was omitted till all the others were printed, and pains taken to procure and re-examine Dr. Coke's Journal, and would have been omitted altogether, but being informed that some persons were prejudiced against Mr. Jarratt's sermons on account of the Journal, it was thought proper to add it, though the work was already flnished.
Virginia, April 15, 1790. REV. AND DEAR SIR,
LAST Sunday I received your's, favored by Mr. Turnbull. Your complaint respecting the unfrequency of my letters to you would be too well founded, was a proper medium of conveyance established between us; but, through want of that, several letters, now out of date, lie by me, which I never had an opportunity of sending. One letter, which is very long, I gave a certain Mr. Johnson, a quondam Methodist Preacher, who intended to call at your house, in his way to Bishop White. In hope that you have or will get that, I shall try to make this the shorter. For should I write only the tenth part of what I wish to communicate to you, and should communicate had I the pleasure of seeing you, I should write a volume instead of a letter. I hardly know where to begin ; what to say, and what to leave unsaid,
With respect to myself and family, we are tolerably well : thanks to God. I wish to be more holy, and to have a more single eye and pure intention to please God and glorify him in all things I speak or do. I want to love God with all my heart and every soul as myself, and never feel anger or prejudice to any of the human race. I endeavor to do a little still for the salvation of souls ; but I find it is but little I can do now, even in comparison to what I once did. Religion is lively in some places, but few souls have lately been brought in: indeed I have not heard of any for some months, as I now recollect. Great strifes and contentions have pervaded the societies, about liberation. I know not how they will terminate. I don't concern about them. Father OʻKelly has fately published an essay on the subject. It is, no doubt, a well meant effort ; but is a jumbled spot of work—though it may not be the less efficacious on that account. Perhaps you have seen the essay, as it was published in the north. His glosses on Scripture are very inaccurate : indeed he seems to have so little understanding of Scripture, that he darkens ra. ther than illustrates those passages he has undertaken to explain. However he is a good man, and valiant for what he judges to be the truth. And it must be confessed, that many melancholy truths are too justly depicted in that pamphlet. Slaves are treated, in America, so inhu. manly, in thousands of instances, and by thousands of masters, as must be very abhorrent to every tender, reflecting mind. I hope and believe the day of their release has began to dawn; and I lament it as a misfortune that the faults already committed are too strong to admit of any speedy amendment. Their numbers are so great that a general manumission would he the utter ruin of the country. I leave the matter to the wisdom of the legislature ; and I trust they will undertake it as soon as they can, and pursue the business by such gradual and prudential means, as shall produce the desired effect, without any destructo ive convulsions, clamours or disunion among the states. Lord hasten the period. • You must have seen the Armenian Magazine, published by Dr. Coke and Mr. Asbury. In that publication, I think, there are many excellent pieces on the subject of General Redemption. The synod of Dort and the decrees thereof are placed in such a striking point of light, that I wonder every thinking man is not shocked thereat. The examination of Tilenus is a master-piece. I admire Mr. Wesley's original sermons, printed in that magazine. The diction, &c. shew a strength of genius not to be impaired by the wastes of time. They betray nothing of second childhood, except the larding them with so much Latinity, may appear to savour of it. I was pleased and edified by Mr. Asbury's Journal. I saw so much of what he seemed to be, when he used to visit me, that I found my affections towards him very strong. Dr. Coke's Jour. nal is very far from being equal to his; nay I think his narrations, for the most part, very trifling and not worth reading. He does not discover the man of judgment at all, in that performance. I think it was very weak and imprudent in him, to give such extraordinary characters of, and bestow such high encomiums upon some of the preachers and others, who are yet living, and who may be too much tickled and elated thereby-_I don't suppose them to be out of the power of temptations of that sort, I think I discover in him, by his relations and characters, that he is a man, who walks more by sense and feeling than by faith and truth. Old Martin Key, he savs, has. an elder son, who is a child of Satan like his father. But
Tandy Key is a fine fellow. James Morris, not having an opportunity of publishing his appointments, by reason of his wife's indisposition, is a dreadful fellow, worthy of immediate suspension. Abundance of frogs he saw in one place, and horses tyed to trees in another. Mr. Pettegrew, who, next to myself, had befriended the Metho. dists more than any other clergyman in America, is compared to a little chicken, &c. &c. Are not such things too trilling for a D. D. or L. D. or even for a B. A. If you have read this magazine, as I expect you have, you must have observed the gibbet he has made of my name ; and I suppose he intended that it should be gibbeted in secula seculorum. But, you know me better, than to suppose any thing the little creature could say of me, could move me much. I judged from his character of others, that he was too much under the influence of sensations, and walked more by sense than by faith and truth, but I could not be sure of it, till I read what he was pleased to insert respecting me. Then I was sure my judg. ment was not astray. For if there be not five falsities or misrepresentations, in the five lines, written, respecting me, in page 342, I am, as Falstaff says, a shotten herring. I will point them out to you, and I know you can believe me. After saying he met me at Roanoak, he says, first, " That I went with him eight iniles.” I did not go one step with him. Second, “We talked largely about the minutes on slavery.” The whole conversation, on that subject, would not have taken up three minutes time. Third, he says, “ I would not be persuaded.” I don't know that he used one word to persuade me. Fourth, The secret is, says he, that I have twenty-four slaves. God knows me better, and so do you. Fifth, He intimates that I mightily oppose their rules. Every one that knows me, knows this to be so far from the truth, that it was quite the re. verse. When I parted froin the doctor at that time, I did not mistrust I had offended him, and expected he would have called on me when he came near my house. Instead of this, he passed by along the road over the bridge, without vouchsafing to call, and makes this Journal upon it, page 392 : “ I passed by the house of Mr Jarratt, a violent assertor of the justice and propriety of negro slavery.” Did you ever discover me to be such a violent man, as to authorise any one to make violence a distin. guishing characteristic of me? The truth is, the little man read the minutes to me, and asked my opinion of them. I told him I was no friend to slavery ; but however I did not think the minutes proper, for two reasons. First, The disturbance it would make and the opposition it would meet with in the societies. Second, He ought not to make a disputable matter a positive term of communion. And as he was a stranger in the land, I told him the spirit of Virginia would not brook force, and probably 1 gave him some advice on the matter, which I suppose the bishop looked upon as an insult-but I did it in the integrity of my heart, without any suspicion it would offend the gentleman so highly. But I care not one straw for what he has Journalised about me--but thought it not improper to say something on it to you. I believe he has got no credit by it, even among several of the church, over which he is overseer.
I am sorry to tell you that the doctrines of the gospel are not so well understood and preached in this state as I could wish. The active obedience of Christ and imputed righteousness, are exploded by some, which is to sap the very foundation of the gospel and the sinner's hope. I trust my making a stand against this, has in some measure put a stop to it—though Father OʻKelly has fallen into the error, and I fear he will not be easily checked in his career-he is a very positive blade.
You will think by this time I have forgot my purpose of making this letter short. Indeed so many things croud into my mind, when writing to you, that though writing is become irksome to me, I can't stop soon.
I am pleased to hear that your son Charles learns well, and discovers a retentive memory. I hope you will have joy in him and the rest of your little ones. We give our love to you and Mrs. Coleman; and tell the children Dadda Jarratt wants to see them. I am your sincere friend,