John Wesley, The Journal of John Wesley

Picture of John Wesley

John Wesley was born at Epworth, Lincolnshire, in 1703, four years before his brother Charles. Their father was an Anglican priest. He attended Charterhouse School in London and Christ Church, Oxford. His diary begins, like Charles', with their journey to Georgia in the American colonies in 1735. His missionary work there was not a success, but led to him being influenced by the Moravian Church, and in 1738 he visited their German headquarters. Returning to England, he began to travel the country as a preacher, although he broke with the Moravians in 1739 and formed the Methodist Society with his brother and George Whitfield. As his diary shows, for the next fifty years he travelled through Britain, and sometimes abroad. His complete and unpublished diary runs to 26 volumes, so our presentation is based on a published selection of individual entries. This inevitably means that most journeys cannot be traced in full. Wesley died in London in 1791.

The following sections are available:
1729-36: Wesley as a Missionary to Georgia
1737-8: Troubles in Georgia; Return to England
1739: Field-Preaching; "All the World my Parish"; Whitefield; Wales
1740-2: Preaching Incidents; Wesley's Labor Colony; Dispute with Whitefield
1743: Wesley Refused Sacraments at Epworth; Cornwall and the Scilly Isles
1744-5: First Methodist Conference; Pressgangs and Mobs
1746-8: Severe Weather; Ireland; Wesley's Protest against Lawlessness
1749-50: Wesley and the Soldiers; In Ireland and Wales Again; Wesley Burned in Effigy
1751-3: Wesley's Marriage; Cornwall Smugglers; Illness and Recovery
1754-6: Retirement in Paddington; Wesley Slandered; Premonitions
1757-9: "I do Indeed Live by Preaching"; Advice to Travelers; French Prisoners
1760-2: Letter to an Editor; Impositions and Declarations; Speaking Statue; Pentecost
1763-4: In Scotland Again; Methodist's Wealth; "No Law for Methodists"; Exhausting Days
1765-8: Justice for Methodists; Methodist Character; Instructions to Parents
1769-70: Opens a New Church; Comments on Rousseau; Geology; Swedenborg
1771-3: Windsor Park; Wesley as Art Critic; Glasgow and Perth; Preaches to 30,000 People
1774-6: Wesley Arrested; A Terrible Ride; A Methodist Isaac Newton; the American War
1777-80: On the Isle of Man; City Road Chapel; Wesley Visits Lord George Gordon
1781-4: An Ideal Circuit; Wesley in his Eighties; Wesley Visits Holland; Scotland
1785-90: Collects Money for the Poor; Visits House of Lords; Reasons for his Long Life
1791: Wesley's last hours, by one who was present