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Lincoln College

William Vesey (1677-1755)

William Vesey was a Fellow of the College from 1703 until his death in 1755. Vesey was a scholar and antiquarian with a keen interest in the history of the College and the marks of his scholarship can still be found in both the Library and the Archive. On his death he left his books to Lincoln, a collection of several thousand volumes that covers many pages of the donors’ book and includes (rather unexpectedly) over 500 play texts from the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Vesey was one of Wesley’s closest friends in College and it is tempting to see his influence in the number of plays Wesley read in his early years as a Fellow of Lincoln (Wesley noted in his diaries that he had read works by Jonson, Wycherly and Beaumont  and Fletcher, among others).

Vesey’s copy of An extract of the Rev. Mr. John Wesley’s journal from his embarking for Georgia to his return to London (Bristol, [1740]) was given to Vesey, perhaps as a Christmas gift, by Wesley: it is inscribed, in Vesey’s hand, with the words “W. Vesey Dec. 26. 1740. D[ono] Authoris.”  (Image below left).

Vesey has annotated the volume in several places, adding dates and correcting small factual errors. He has also carefully noted that the letter published at the beginning of the volume, addressed only to “Sir”, was in fact written to Richard Morgan. It is in this letter that Wesley persuasively refuted the charge that the death of Morgan’s son William, one of the founder members of the Holy Club, was caused by the austerities of the religious life he had embraced. For more about Richard Morgan click here.

For the SOLO record for this book click here.


Image: William Vesey’s copy of Wesley’s 1740 Journal.