The Life of the Rev. John Wesley, M.A.
Published in 1793–6, amid controversy following the death of John Wesley (1703–91), this two-volume work vied with others for status as the most authentic biography of the Methodist leader. Wesley had left his papers to his physician John Whitehead (c.1740–1804) and the ministers Thomas Coke and Henry Moore, but Whitehead monopolised the papers in the preparation of his biography, refusing to allow his fellow executors access – the dispute is mentioned in the prefatory matter to Volume 1. In addition to tracing John's career up to 1735, this volume contains accounts of his relatives, notably a substantial life of his brother Charles (1707–88), distinguished hymnodist and fellow founder of Methodism. This remains an important critical appraisal of the movement's early history, offering researchers valuable insights into the contemporary debates over the future and structure of Methodism.