accompanied Whitefield on his second voyage to Georgia but returned in 1740. On 22 October 1740, he died as a result of being struck by a stone on the head, while preaching to a crowd at Hay-on-Wye and thus became the first Methodist martyr. At the time of his association with Whitefield, William seems to have been a widower with a daughter, Grace, who was being boarded with Elizabeth Hankinson at Islington (see letters 69, 72). Grace daughter of William and Grace Seward was baptized at St Thomas the Apostle on 15 May 1732.35 On hearing of William Seward's death, John Wesley went to see her, then aged eight years old. His diary entry for 29 October 1740 reads 'at Mrs. Mason's, senr. conversed to Miss Seward'.36 Benjamin Seward was a hosier living in King's Bench Walk in the parish at St Giles-in-the-Fields, London. He was educated at Westminster School and St John's College, Cambridge. He had inherited through his first wife the estate of her brother, George Knapp of the Inner Temple. She had died leaving him with two daughters, Frances and Eleanor. In 1735, he purchased the mansion house and 160 acres at Bengeworth, Worcestershire, for £ 1750. By the time of his conversion and his correspondence in the present manuscript, he seems to have remarried.37 After his conversion, he became a follower of the Wesleys. His Methodism and that of his brother, William, split the family. Benjamin's letters to his brother and Whitefield reveal the opposition of his family, especially of his brother, Henry. His brother, Edward, seems to have been sympathic. Matters came to head in 1740, three months before William Seward returned to England from America. Benjamin was taken ill, but his illness was regarded as madness, his letters were intercepted, and he was spied upon by the servants. When Charles Wesley went to see him, Henry Seward abused and assaulted him. Charles Wesley records 'Henry Seward fell upon me without preface or ceremony. I was the downfall of his brother, had picked his pocket, ruined his family, had come now to get more money, was a scoundral, rascal, and so forth, and deserved to have my gown stripped over my ears. He concluded with threatening how he would beat me if he could but catch me on Bengeworth Common'.38 The correspondence which Samuel Mason has copied into his manuscript was written during the period 1737-9 at the very beginning of the Methodist Revival in England and Wales. It was during this period that both John and Charles Wesley experienced their religious conversions and George Whitefield began his ministry and set the example later adopted by the Wesleys of preaching in the fields and streets. The doctrinal dispute over predestination and election which
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