picture of John Wesley
Susannah Wesley's son John
(the founder of Methodism)

Susannah Wesley was aghast that a man who was possibly suffering only from scrupulosity was involuntarily committed to a "madhouse." She described her concern in a December 13, 1746 letter to her son.

Dear son.

I hope this will find you safe at Bristol....

The reason of my writing so soon is, I'm somewhat troubled at the case of poor Mr MacCune. I think his wife was ill advised to send for that...wretched fellow Monroe [Dr. James Monro] for by what I hear, the man is not Lunatick, but rather under strong convictions of sin; and hath much more need of a spiritual, than bodily physician. However be it...Monroe last night sent him to a madhouse at Chelsea, where he is to undergo their usual method of cure in case of real madness; notwithstanding in their treatment of him, he behaved with great calmness, and meekness, nor ever but once swore at them, for...he presently condemned himself and said, Lord what sin have I been guilty of, and cry'd to God for mercy, and pardon. This probably may confirm the Dr. in the opinion of his madness but to me tis a proof of his being in a right mind....

Dear son, I desire you, and your brother pray for this poor afflicted man....

Letter from Susannah Wesley to her son John, reprinted in Richard Hunter & Ida Macalpine, eds., Three Hundred Years of Psychiatry, 1535-1860 (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963), 423.


OCD History Home