The Real Story of John Carteret Pilkington

Introduction

 

            John Carteret Pilkington was the youngest son of Lætitia Pilkington the poet, memoirist and friend of Jonathan Swift, whose memoirs are also on this site. After his father had cast her off, young John was so ill-treated that he decided to run away from home. This memoir is the story of some of his subsequent adventures. He alternated between being taken up by wealthy patrons, and being dropped by them and left to shift for himself.  They are well-written with a very ingenuous honesty – he professes himself at a loss to understand why his company seemed to pall after a while with a patron, and his adventures with the inventor of musical instruments, with the Jacobite agents, and on the stage are funnier to us than they were to him.

            Also appended to the book are a number of letters between his mother and Lord Kingsborough, of which the account of her meeting with John Wesley is the most interesting. It seems he was in private a much less austere personality than he showed in public to his followers.

 

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