Wednesday, December 24, 2014

OXONIANS AT WORK: 201 Years Ago, US-UK Peace (Updated Dec. 14, 2015)

A Celebratory Poster of the Treaty, 1814.
Off to Belgium they went,
To work on the Treaty of Ghent.
The Brits wanted uti possidetis
Meaning after-capture status.
The Yanks sought a total recante,
Way back to their status quo ante.
- JT Marlin, 2014
December 24, 2014 – At a visit earlier this month to New York, Oxford University Vice Chancellor Andrew Hamilton began his remarks with a celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Treaty of Ghent.

The “Treaty of Peace and Amity between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America” was signed on December 24, 1814.

(The only American or British newspaper to have acknowledged the anniversary on the date was, to my knowledge, the East Hampton Star, which published my story on the event.)

Declaration of War, 1812

President James Madison initiated a declaration of war on Britain originally because British Orders in Council made it harder for the United States to trade with France.

In addition, the British Navy was seizing (“impressing”) sailors on colonial ships and putting them on Navy ships. The War Hawks in the House of Representatives were calling for war on Britain.

The British Government responded by repealing the Orders in Council, ending the curb on trading. However,  impressment remained. If the British had given up the right to impress American sailors, Madison might have called off the war.

Negotiations

Russia's Czar Alexander I in March 1813 offered to host negotiations, but the British were winning and refused. In the fall of 1813, British foreign minister Lord Castlereagh, a Cambridge alum, offered to negotiate directly with the United States. The two countries picked Ghent in eastern Flanders as the venue because it was a neutral city. Everyone's goal was to end the fighting, which was much too expensive for both countries.

The main issue before the negotiators was - what, if any, territories that are captured during the war are kept by the captor?

Here were the two negotiating teams -
  • For the Stars and Stripes - John Quincy Adams, chief negotiator, a Harvard graduate; Henry Clay, the hawk (the "bad cop"); Albert Gallatin, former Treasury Secretary, who grew up in Geneva, emigrated to the USA and settled south of Pittsburgh, teaching French at Harvard and elsewhere to earn a living before he became Secretary of the Treasury in 1801, remaining in that job until he went to Ghent in 1814; James A. Bayard, moderate anti-war Federalist; and Jonathan Russell, chargé d’affaires for Madison in Paris. It took the Americans six weeks or more to communicate with Washington, D.C. so they were negotiating largely on their own. The U.S. team wanted to restore territory to what it was before the war, the status quo ante vellum
  • For the Union Jack - The negotiators on the British side nominally included both Cambridge and Oxford men, but the central negotiator was a Cambridge graduate. The two senior members were Lord Castlereagh, Britain's Foreign Secretary and an alumnus of St. John's College, Cambridge, and Henry Lord Bathurst, the Third Earl, Secretary for War and the Colonies and an alumnus of Christ Church, Oxford. However, neither of them chose to attend the talks personally. Instead, they sent a less-skilled team - Admiralty lawyer William Adams; impressments expert Admiral Lord Gambier; and - the real workhorse of the group and a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge - Henry Goulburn, Undersecretary for War and the Colonies. The British negotiators wanted uti possidetis, that each side could keep what it had won militarily, such as Detroit and Mackinac Island.
Admiral of the Fleet James Gambier (L, with Treaty) shakes hands with the
U.S. Ambassador to Russia and son of the second U.S. President, John
Quincy Adams, as the British Undersecretary of State for War and the
Colonies, Henry Goulburn (R, with red folder), and others look on.
The fact that the British were closer to home turned out not to have been much of an advantage. It gave time for the Americans to settle on a common goal, while the British were spending their time sending telegrams to try to get approvals from London.

The outcome of the Treaty was favorable for the United States, perhaps because the war was going well for the Americans at the time the Treaty was signed:
  • The Americans seemed to be losing early in the war with the burning of Washington. But Lieutenant General Sir George Prévost and a naval squadron under Captain George Downie engaged in Plattsburgh with New York and Vermont militia and U.S. Army regulars, under the command of Brigadier General Alexander Macomb. They were supported by ships commanded by Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough. The British failed to take Lake Champlain and fled north after the battle. Next, Fort McHenry in Baltimore withstood a severe attack and inspired the National Anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner".  News of these two battles was the last information that negotiators in Ghent received. 
  • The British did not get what they wanted regarding the independence of Native lands in the state of Ohio, and in the Indiana and Michigan Territories. The British wanted this reserved land to be a buffer state to protect Canada from American annexation, but Clay would not give it up. The British did not get any territory in northern Maine, or demilitarization of the Great Lakes or navigation rights on the Mississippi. Lord Castlereagh asked the Duke of Wellington and his advice was for them to take the status quo ante bellum
On December 24 the negotiators agreed on the 3,000-word Treaty. After approval by the two governments, hostilities ended and “all territory, places and possessions whatsoever, taken by either party from the other during the war” were restored to what they were before the war.

Although the United States didn't give up any territory, it was the one that declared war, so presumably it was bent on expansion. That was not to be, and the Canadian border was left in place. Also, the United States never did get the British to promise not to impress American sailors, but as hostilities in Europe ended, this issue ceased to be such a concern.

After the signing of the Treaty and before the combatants got word, the British attacked New Orleans on January 8, 1815 with a large army. It was overwhelmed by a smaller and less experienced American force under General Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) in the greatest U.S. victory in the war. The news of the Treaty and the outcome in New Orleans reached a celebratory American public at about the same time. Formal exchange of papers acknowledging the treaty were not completed until mid-February 1815.

Comments

1. The United States won back in the Treaty what it had lost.
As the Canadian historian and War of 1812 expert Donald E. Graves concludes:  What Americans lost on the battlefield, "they made up for at the negotiating table.”

2. The Treaty of Ghent has held up for 200 years. But the Treaty does not imply a  "Special Relationship", just a cessation of hostilities. During the American Civil War, Britain (as Amanda Foreman has shown), came in mostly on the losing side, the South, which makes sense historically because the South was populated through grants of land from the Crown whereas the Pilgrims were fleeing to New England to avoid religious persecution at the hands of the Church of England.

3. Hitler brought the United States and Britain together. During World War I, many Irish Catholics opposed the U.S. entry on the side of Britain. It was not until World War II that the Special Relationship was cemented. The threat of Hitler tied the United States and Britain, first with Lend-Lease in March 1941 and then with the U.S. declaration of war following the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

BIRTH: Dec. 18–Charles Wesley, Oxonian Colonizer of Georgia

Charles Wesley (1707-1788), Oxonian
Methodist Colonizer of Georgia
Things that happened long ago, 
Things that happened far away,
May tell us much we need to know,
 And connect us up with things today.  
- JT Marlin, 2014

This day was born in England, in 1707, a colonizer of Georgia and the prolific writer of Methodist hymns, Charles Wesley.

He was one of three Oxonians who made a major contribution to the earliest days of Georgia and South Carolina. Georgia was created as a British colony, named in honor of George II, who saw the colony as a buffer zone to protect South Carolina from the Spanish troops in Florida.

The stories of these Oxonians in Georgia helps explain why the American states differ so greatly - and therefore why it was such a struggle to keep together the American Experiment a century later.

The intellectual origins of the colonies derive disproportionately from Oxford and Cambridge. The early colonists had no universities. When colonial universities were created their teaching staff and reading material depended heavily on Oxford and Cambridge men (and, later, women) and their students or children.

Two of the three Oxonians were born in mid-December - Charles Wesley today in 1707 and James Oglethorpe four days later and 11 years earlier, in 1696.  The third Oxonian was Charles's older brother John, born in 1703, midway between the other two. The influence of the Wesleys on Georgia was limited - both of them had their spirits broken by gossip and accusation. However, the influence of the Methodist religion on all the colonies, especially immediately after the American Revolution when the Anglican Church was disestablished in the new United States, was enormous.

General James Oglethorpe, Georgia’s First Governor
James Oglethorpe (1696-1785),
Corpus Christi, Oxford; General, 

Georgia's First Governor 

James Oglethorpe's name appears in many places in Georgia and South Carolina. Georgia has an Oglethorpe County, two Oglethorpe towns, an Oglethorpe University and many Oglethorpe streets, parks, schools and businesses (Oglethorpe Power, for example).

His first vision for the colony was as a Utopia for Britain's poor. When he saw that King George II preferred to see it as a buffer zone between Spanish Florida and South Carolina, he was willing to modify his idea. Oglethorpe's consequent place in history as the visionary founder and venerated first governor of Georgia is unquestioned. His military prowess is less clear, but given the successful outcome - the significant Spanish military presence in Florida was successfully kept at bays - Oglethorpe gets the benefit of any doubt.

Oglethorpe bravely interrupted his Oxford studies to join the defense of Europe against the invading Turks. He was kindly, caring deeply about those in prison, especially after a friend of his died in debtors'  prison. He then pondered the plight of the poor, and pursued a plan for a new colony in America to provide a place for Britain's poor. When he got to Georgia under the modified plan, he was friendly and fair with the native Americans he met - they repaid him by providing men for his army. He was loyal, not seeing his Methodist principles in conflict with Anglican doctrine, and not wishing to split from the Church of England. He was practical, adjusting his vision for the new colony of Georgia to the shifts in the wind. His dream became a reality, although not quite the reality he dreamed of.

James Oglethorpe was born in 1696 in the London area, the tenth and youngest child of Eleanor and Theophilus Oglethorpe. As anyone near the tail end of a big family knows, it takes constant effort to avoid being put down by one's older siblings. It is a make-or-break position in the family. In James Oglethorpe's case, being the youngest child made him resilient, assertive and at the same time accommodating.

He grew up in Westbrook Manor, the family estate in Godalming, in Surrey, southwest of London. His father lived from rents on property in Godalming and adjacent Haslemere, and was elected in 1698 by local voters to the Halemere seat in the House of Commons. Godalming is an ancient Saxon town, and when James Oglethorpe was growing up it was a prosperous and pleasant place. This surely contributed to James's self-confidence and constructive attitude.

From the year 1300, the town of Godalming held a weekly market and an annual fair. It became a major center for woolen cloth manufacture and when that declined in the 17th century, the residents aggressively sought out new weaving and knitting technology and applied it to the manufacture of stockings and then leather.

Other initiatives in Godalming included:

  • Papermaking, from the 17th to the 19th century. 
  • Quarrying of Bargate stone.
  • Trade with people traveling between London and Portsmouth. 
  • In 1764, canals linking it to Guildford, and from there to the Thames and London.
 In 2013 Godalming retained its preeminence, being voted the best place to live in Britain.

In 1714, at 18, James Oglethorpe went up to Oxford, living at Corpus Christi College. When the Turks invaded Europe, however, he showed unusual initiative for an Oxford student in dropping out of the University to enroll in a military academy in France. Upon graduation he went to Austria to become an aide to Prince Eugene of Savoy. After the Turks were defeated, Oglethorpe returned to his studies at Corpus Christi.

The military training he received in France and Austria would prove to be extremely valuable when he went to America and faced a large invading Spanish army.

In 1722, Oglethorpe went home to Godalming and ran successfully for the Haslemere seat his father had held in Parliament. During that time, his friend Robert Castell was jailed in London's Fleet Prison for non-payment of debts. Castell was put in a cell with a prisoner who had smallpox, and he died of the disease. Oglethorpe channeled his grief into work as Chairman of a parliamentary committee to investigate the jails, where he saw up close their terrible abuses. Oglethorpe thereafter gained national attention as a reformer who exposed maltreatment of prisoners.

During his first decade in Parliament, Oglethorpe focused on the underlying problem of poverty. In a Committee report on this subject, Oglethorpe and his fellow M.P.s proposed transporting “worthy” poor people from England to a new colony in America, where land was plentiful and offered the potential of a classless Utopia.

The founding vision of the Trustees of Georgia, published in 1733, was an economic development plan with a moral purpose, what we might call today a social enterprise. The motto of the Trustees was Non sibi sed aliis ("Not for self, but for others”), much like the Wellesley College motto Non ministrari, see ministrare ("Not to be cared for by others, but to care for them"). The practical ground rules were:

No rum, no slaves, no large estates
And an Anglican wait for the Pearly Gates 
- J T Marlin,  2014

The Utopian plan was not making any headway until 1732, when Spanish forces in Florida were  immediately seen as a threat to the colonies, starting with the South Carolina. Suddenly, Oglethorpe's initiative was tasked with a military purpose - a  buffer zone between South Carolina and the Spanish army. In retrospect, it was a brilliant proposal, and Oglethorpe's prestigious military training made him a credible advocate for it.

The new colony immediately became Priority #1. George II, perhaps pleased that the colony would be named Georgia after himself, swiftly granted Oglethorpe and 20 other Trustees a charter for new colony. The naming of the colony was in the tradition of virtually all the colonies outside of dissenting New England - New York was named for the Duke of York, James II; Virginia for the Virgin Queen Elizabeth I; Carolina for Charles I; and Maryland after Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I.

Charles I is the only British monarch to have three colonies named after him and his wife. He paid for it with his life, the only British monarch to have his reign interrupted by an axe to the neck. Charles eventually hid out at Oxford, but Oxford could not protect him from Cromwell's New Army.

Georgia was the first new colony in several decades. Oglethorpe and the other Trustees selected a mix of artisans, farmers and merchants to ensure that the colony would be a success. Many people lined up to get on the list, evaporating the idea of tackling poverty by restricting settlers to poor people and ex-prisoners. In late 1732, Oglethorpe finally led a sailing expedition of 114 colonial pioneers, financing the trip in part with his own money. They were mostly British gentry but also included Scotsmen, English tradesmen, religious refugees from Europe, and a few Jewish refugees.

While the principals were Anglicans, and sought to bring Christianity to the region, the colony's charter tolerated people of almost all religions. The exception was Roman Catholics, whose loyalty was suspect because of their likely sympathy for the hostile Spanish settlements in Florida.

The expedition sailed from Gravesend in Kent, England to the port of Savannah, arriving early 1733. The colonists proceeded to Port Royal, South Carolina's then-southernmost outpost. Oglethorpe had the rank of colonel and commander-in-chief over whatever troops he was sent by Britain or could assemble in the colonies.

Returning to Savannah with colonists and a militia, Oglethorpe directed his troops and African-American slaves from South Carolina to clear the pine forest. Col. Oglethorpe then laid out a plan for the new town of Savannah with features consistent with his dream of a classless society: a common pattern of streets, ten-house units ("tithings") and public squares, identical clapboard houses built on identical lots and restrictions on how much land could be owned, ensuring that each plot had a worker and an armed defender - thus in effect limiting land ownership to adult males, the least popular of his provisions.

He also imposed an outright prohibition against slave-owning by Georgians. He had an enlightened policy toward Georgia's Indians, respecting their customs and language. He was determined to settle of all land agreements by treaty, while addressing the Indians' needs and protecting them from dishonest traders.

He fully lived up to the motto of Georgia's Trustees in the early months of his time in Georgia, "not for self but for others". Sometimes violating Trustee policy, Oglethorpe permitted persecuted religious minorities (such as Jews and Lutheran Salzburgers) to settle in Georgia. Not long after landing, in February 1734, Oglethorpe established the first Masonic Lodge in the Western Hemisphere, Solomon's Lodge No. 1.

Since Oglethorpe came to Georgia as a Trustee, he was technically not allowed to hold office in the colony. But he was de facto the colony's leader, i.e., its first governor. Oglethorpe's commitment to Georgia is hard to overstate. He mortgaged his own landholdings back in England to finance the colony's needs. He hoped that Parliament would repay his rising debts, but he was aware he could lose everything.

After the War of Jenkins' Ear erupted in 1739, when Georgia was just six years old, the long-simmering dispute over land between Florida and South Carolina came to a head. Oglethorpe took an initiative in 1740, assembling an invasion force consisting of his own troops, his new-found Indian allies, some Carolina Rangers, and several ships sent by the Royal Navy. His goal was to take the Spanish fortress at St. Augustine.  Unfortunately, the siege failed and the allied force fell apart, forcing Oglethorpe back to St. Simons Island to the south of Savannah.

Two years later, the Spanish counterattacked. This could have been the end of British control of Georgia and then South Carolina. Ships with thousands of Spanish troops landed on the south end of St. Simons Island. At Fort Frederica, which he was still in the process of building, Col. Oglethorpe rallied his troops for battle. In a critical skirmish known as the Battle of Gully Hole Creek, his forces turned back a Spanish advance force.

As they pursued the retreating Spaniards, Oglethorpe halted his force at the edge of a marsh and positioned his men to await a counterattack by the Spanish army. The main force of the Spaniards  joined with the fleeing advance unit and the two armies engaged in a brief but fierce fight known as the Battle of Bloody Marsh. The colonists prevailed and the Spanish commanders retreated back to St. Augustine, never again to attack the British colonies.

Oglethorpe rightly became a national hero in England and in September 1743 George II promoted him to brigadier general. The plan to use Georgia to protect South Carolina had worked. But late in 1743 Gen. Oglethorpe was emboldened to lead a second attempt to take the Spanish fortress at St. Augustine, and for a second time he was unsuccessful.

This time an officer in his regiment charged Gen. Oglethorpe with poor judgment bordering on misconduct and for many months there was a cloud over Oglethorpe and a question whether he would ever be repaid for the loans he made. But in 1744, the charges were dismissed and Parliament voted to reimburse Oglethorpe. Both his honor and his fortune were preserved.

Oglethorpe was then 48, which especially then was late career for a military officer. Around that time the general met Elizabeth Wright, whose wealthy husband had recently died. They married and settled at her estate - Cranham Hall, Essex, 17 miles east of London. Oglethorpe partook in the active London social life and befriended prominent Londoners of the time like lexicographer Samuel Johnson, his biographer James Boswell, and Oliver Goldsmith.

He continued to serve as a Trustee of Georgia but his influence over and interest in the colony waned.  In his absence, many of the class-defying restrictions on large land ownership, inheritance, prohibition against rum, and slavery disappeared. Georgia took on the character of its northern neighbors and became a part of the Deep South portrayed so vividly in Gone with the Wind.

By 1750 Oglethorpe seems to have totally given up his interest in Georgia. He remained in Parliament for another ten years after his marriage, until in 1754 he was challenged and defeated. After 1760, James Oglethorpe and his wife Elizabeth divided their remaining quarter-century together between their country estate at Cranham Hall and their London town house on Lower Grosvenor Street.

Oglethorpe eventually lived to see the colony that he founded become part of the new nation, the USA. On June 4, 1785, Oglethorpe met with John Adams, the first U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, and expressed to Adams "great esteem and regard for America." After a brief illness later that month,  Oglethorpe died in Cranham Hall on June 30 at 89 years of age, a long life for that time, especially for someone so active as a military commander. He is buried under the chancel floor of the Parish Church of All Saints at Cranham.

John Wesley

John Wesley (1703-1791)
Christ Church and Lincoln College,
Oxford. Co-founder of the Methodist
Church and Colonizer of Georgia.
John Wesley sought to reform the Anglican Church and instead created a new religion, Methodism, which turned out to be very important when the Anglican Church became defunct after the American Revolution. While the Church of England struggled with the task of being reborn as the American Episcopal Church, Methodist bishops were actually at work.

He was born on June 28, 1703 in Epworth, Lincolnshire, England. Epworth is halfway between Sheffield and Grimsby on the eastern coast of England, 23 miles north-west of Lincoln. John was the 15th (!) child of Anglican Rev. Samuel Wesley and his wife Susanna Wesley (née Annesley).

Samuel Wesley was himself a graduate of the University of Oxford and was since 1696 rector of Epworth. He had married Susanna, the 25th (!) child of Samuel Annesley, a Dissenting minister, in 1689. Ultimately, Susanna bore him 19 children, of whom nine lived beyond infancy. She and Samuel had both become members of the Church of England as young adults.

The children of Samuel and Susanna were homeschooled in their early years, as was common then. Each child, boy or girl, was taught to read as early as possible. Before they went off to school, they were expected to become proficient in Latin and Greek and to have learned major portions of the New Testament by heart. Susanna Wesley examined each child twice a day, before lunch and before evening prayers, and each child was interviewed weekly by their mother for the purpose of intensive spiritual instruction.

In 1714, at 11, Wesley was sent to the Charterhouse School in London, where he lived the studious religious life he was used to at home. In June 1720, Wesley matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, graduating with a B.A. in 1724. He was ordained a deacon in September 1725, holy orders being a necessary step toward becoming a fellow and tutor at the university. He sought holiness through study of Scriptures and performance of his religious duties. He deprived himself to have money to give to the poor.

In 1726, Wesley was elected a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford - entitling him to a room in college and a salary. While continuing his studies, Wesley taught Greek and lectured on the New Testament. For two years he helped his father, serving as a parish curate. Ordained a priest on September 22, 1728, Wesley served the parish for two years, returning to Oxford in 1729 to maintain his status as junior Fellow at Lincoln College.

During Wesley's absence from Oxford, his younger brother Charles took up residence at Christ Church. Along with two fellow students, he formed a club to study and pursue the Christian life. John Wesley became the leader of this group, which attracted new members. In 1730, the group began the practice of visiting prisoners in jail. They preached and educated jailed debtors whenever possible, and cared for the sick. Given the low ebb of spirituality in Oxford at that time, they were considered to be religious "enthusiasts" (fanatics). University wits styled them the "Holy Club".

With his brother Charles and fellow cleric George Whitefield, John Wesley is credited with founding  Methodism and inspiring evangelical revivals such as the Holiness movement and Pentecostalism. A key decision that Wesley's made in 1639 was to follow Whitefield’s example and travel and preach outdoors. In contrast to Whitefield's Calvinism, however, Wesley embraced the Arminian doctrines of  Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius, 1560-1609, who accepts Calvinist teaching except on issues relating to predestination, which they reject. John Wesley’s interpretation of Arminianism is a major theological position of its own, making Methodism a distinct religion.

Wesley expressed his understanding of humanity's relationship to God as utter dependence upon God's grace. Wesley's appointing itinerant, unordained evangelists to travel and preach was a key departure from parish-based Anglican practice. Methodists became leaders in many social issues of the day, including prison reform and abolition of slavery.

Wesley argued for the notion of Christian perfection and for respect of sacramental theology. He preached that the sacraments were the manner by which God sanctifies and transforms the believer, encouraging people to experience Jesus Christ personally. Although he created a new church, John Wesley himself remained during his entire life within the established Anglican church, insisting that the Methodist movement lay well within its tradition. By the end of his life, he was described as "the best loved man in England".

John Wesley and his brother were invited by the Governor of Georgia, John Oglethorpe, to assist him with governance and the spreading of Christianity. On the voyage to Georgia, the Wesleys first came into contact with German Moravian settlers. Both Wesleys were influenced by their deep faith and spirituality, rooted in pietism.

At one point in the voyage a storm came up and broke the mast off the ship. The English panicked, while the Moravians calmly sang hymns and prayed. This experience led John Wesley to believe that the Moravians possessed an inner strength which he lacked. They reached Savannah on February 8, 1736, eager to make use of Oglethorpe's offer by spreading Christianity to the Native Americans. This mission, however, was unsuccessful. In addition, John Wesley had a disastrous relationship with Sophia Hopkey, whom he met on the ship from England.  Wesley broke off the relationship, only to find Hopkey announcing to others in the town that Wesley had promised to marry her. Wesley retaliated by refusing Hopkey communion. She and her new husband, William Williamson, then filed suit against Wesley. Wesley stood trial. While he was not convicted - the proceedings ended in a mistrial - John Wesley's reputation was tarnished and he personally was exhausted by it. Like his younger brother, who had left before him, Join Wesley returned to England demoralized.

Back in England, John Wesley turned for guidance to a Moravian missionary, Peter Boehler, temporarily in England awaiting permission to depart for Georgia. He went to a Moravian meeting in May 1738 and had his famous "Aldersgate experience", which moved his method of ministry toward a more evangelical spirit.

Meanwhile, Wesley's Oxford friend, the evangelist George Whitefield, was, like Wesley, excluded from the churches of Bristol upon his return from America. In a neighboring village, Kingswood, in February 1739, Whitefield preached out in the open to a group of miners. Wesley was inspired by this and in April 1739 he preached the first time at Whitefield's invitation a sermon in the open air, near Bristol.

This turned out to be an act with major consequences. Once he succeeded in the open-air preaching, Wesley decided that it was a good way to reach men and women who would not enter most churches. For the next 50 years, John Wesley continued preaching both in churches and in fields and halls.

Late in 1739 Wesley broke with the Moravians in London because he believed they fell into heresy by supporting quietism. He therefore decided to split his followers off into the Methodist Society in England. From then on, Wesley and the Methodists were persecuted by clergy, magistrates and even mobs. Many Methodist leaders had not received ordination and Wesley flouted many regulations of the Church of England concerning parish boundaries and who had authority to preach. This was seen as a social threat that disregarded institutions.

Starting in 1739, Wesley started approving local preachers who were not ordained by the Anglican Church to preach and do pastoral work. This expansion of lay preachers was one of the keys to the rapid growth of Methodism. At the local level, numerous societies of different sizes were grouped into circuits to which traveling preachers were appointed for two-year periods. As Methodist societies multiplied, they adopted the elements of an ecclesiastical system. The divide between Wesley and the Church of England widened. The question of division from the Church of England was urged by some of his preachers and societies. It was opposed by his brother Charles, and John Wesley said that Anglicanism was "with all her blemishes” is “nearer the Scriptural plans than any other in Europe”.

In 1784, John Wesley played an important role in the new nation of the USA. He gave up waiting for the Bishop of London to ordain someone for the American Methodists, who were without sacraments after the American Revolution. The Church of England disestablished in the United States - the Anglican clergy were cut off from the Church of England, which was the state church in most southern colonies. The Church of England had not yet appointed a U.S. bishop to what would become the Protestant Episcopal Church in America.

Wesley ordained Thomas Coke by the laying on of hands, although Coke was already a priest in the Church of England. Wesley appointed him superintendent of U.S. Methodists. Coke was to ordain others in the new Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States. Wesley replied that he had not separated from the church, nor did he intend to, but he must and would save as many souls as he could while alive, "without being careful about what may possibly be when I die." Although Wesley rejoiced that the Methodists in America were free, he advised his English followers to remain in the established church and he himself died within it.

Later in his ministry, Wesley was a keen abolitionist, speaking out and writing against the slave trade. He published a pamphlet on slavery in 1774 - Thoughts Upon Slavery.  He said: "Liberty is the right of every human creature, as soon as he breathes the vital air; and no human law can deprive him of that right.” Wesley was a friend of abolitionists John Newton and William Wilberforce.

John Wesley married unhappily at the age of 48 to a widow, Mary Vazeille, and had no children. Vazeille left him 15 years later, to which Wesley reported in his journal, "I did not forsake her, I did not dismiss her, I will not recall her."

In 1770, at the death of George Whitefield, Wesley wrote a memorial sermon which praised Whitefield's admirable qualities and acknowledged their differences: "[On] many doctrines of a less essential nature ... We may 'agree to disagree.' But, meantime, let us hold fast the essentials..."Wesley was the first to put the phrase 'agree to disagree' in print.

John Wesley died at 86 on March 2, 1791. On his deathbed, with friends around him, Wesley grasped their hands and said repeatedly, "Farewell, farewell. The best of all is, God is with us.” He was entombed at Wesley's Chapel, which he built in City Road, London, in England.

Wesley continues to be the primary theological interpreter for Methodists worldwide. Wesley’s teachings also serve as a basis for the holiness movement, which includes denominations like the Wesleyan Church, the Free Methodist Church, the Church of the Nazarene, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and several smaller groups, and from which Pentecostalism and parts of the Charismatic Movement are offshoots.

In 1831, Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, was the first institution of higher education in the United States to be named after Wesley. About 20 colleges and universities in the US were also independently named after him. Movies were made about John Wesley in 1954 (J.Arthur Rank) and in 2009 (Foundery Pictures).

Charles Wesley

The hymn writer and Methodist Charles Wesley, was like his brother John born in Epworth, England where their father was rector. Charles was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. At Oxford, Charles in his first year was distracted by the diversions of the university. His elder brother John said that Charles "pursued his studies diligently, and led a regular, harmless life; but if I spoke to him about religion, he would warmly answer, 'What, would you have me be a saint all at once?' and would hear no more."

Then Charles had a spiritual awakening. He wrote to John:
It is owing, in great measure, to somebody's prayers (my mother's most likely) that I am come to think as I do; for I cannot tell myself how or why I awoke out of my lethargy.
Charles formed a prayer group along with three fellow students in 1727. They devoted their days to studying the Bible and praying and were a subject of mirth among their fellow students. John Wesley wrote: "From the very beginning — from the time that four young men united together — each of them was a man of one book. They had one, and only one, rule of judgment." They were reproached for this, and were called "Bible Bigots" and "Bible Moths", feeding on the bible like moths on cloth. They were also called "Methodists," and that name stuck.

John Wesley returned to Oxford in 1729, and took over as the group's leader. After Charles graduated from Oxford, John convinced him to become ordained and accompany him as a missionary to the Colony of Georgia. Charles agreed, and about two weeks after his ordination, the brothers set sail.

En route to Georgia, the Wesley brothers befriended a group of German Moravians, and were inspired by their simplicity and faith. They were also amazed at how they sang together, and how during some of the worst storms at sea, when everyone else was frightened, the Moravians stayed calm and sang peacefully.

John went to Savannah, where for a time he was secretary to Governor James Oglethorpe, and Charles continued on further south to the new Georgia settlement of Frederica on St. Simons Island.

Like his brother, Charles ran into trouble over his unmarried status. His strict religious habits were unwelcome to the settlers. He was 28, a handsome bachelor and a magnet for gossip. Two married women told Charles Wesley that Governor Oglethorpe had tried to seduce them and meanwhile told Oglethorpe that Charles Wesley had tried to seduce them. As gossip spread, the women's husbands became angry. Both Oglethorpe and Wesley at first believed the rumors about each other. By the time they realized that the women had invented the stories, Wesley was demoralized and couldn't wait to get back England.

While John continued to travel and preach, Charles returned to Britain, demoralized by the gossip and sick of travel. On Charles Wesley's departure, Oglethorpe advised him to marry. Charles married a woman named Sarah on his return, and their marriage and parenthood was a happy one.

Charles brought back with him to England the inspiration he got from the German Moravians in Savannah, i.e., congregational singing. This was a new idea for Anglicans, because only choirs sang in their churches, not the congregation. Charles Wesley did not intend that his hymns be sung in a high-church setting, but rather outside or in a plain meeting house.

In 1738, he had a second religious awakening, one he had been waiting for, and a few days afterward John Wesley, by now back in England, had a similar conversion and said: "I felt my heart strangely warmed."

With their newfound conviction, the brothers were determined to bring their religion to regular people. They traveled around the countryside on horseback, preaching to coal miners at mines, to prison inmates, and to anyone who gathered in the open air to see them.

Charles published more than 4,400 hymns during his lifetime, and left behind several thousand more. They include "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing," and "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling," which are in most hymnals. He wrote the popular Christmas carol "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing." Another favorite is "Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown" [originally "Wrestling Jacob"], which goes as follows in hymnals today:
'Tis Love! 'tis Love! Thou diedst for me! /  I hear thy whisper in my heart; / The morning breaks, the shadows flee, / Pure Universal Love thou art; /To me, to all, thy mercies [originally "bowels"] move / Thy nature, and thy name, is Love.
Charles Wesley lived happily to be 80 years old.

Sources

Georgia Rodney M. Baine, ed., The Publications of James Edward Oglethorpe (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994).

Harvey H. Jackson and Phinizy Spalding, eds., Forty Years of Diversity: Essays on Colonial Georgia (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1984). Forty Years of Diversity: Essays on Colonial Georgia

Edwin L. Jackson, University of Georgia, Georgia Encyclopedia http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/james-oglethorpe-1696-1785 12/02/2003

Herbert E. Bolton and Mary Ross, The Debatable Land: A Sketch of the Anglo-Spanish Contest for the Georgia Country (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1925).

"Georgians and the War of Jenkins' Ear," Georgia Historical Quarterly 78 (fall 1994). War of Jenkins' Ear.

Larry E. Ivers, British Drums on the Southern Frontier: The Military Colonization of Georgia, 1733-1749 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1974).

John Tate Lanning, Diplomatic History of Georgia: A Study of the Epoch of Jenkins' Ear (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1936).

Swarthmore College, Plan of Trustees for the Colony of Georgia.  Trustees founding vision.

Wikipedia entries on Oglethorpe, John Wesley and Charles Wesley. Also Yamacraw chief Tomochichi. Masonic Lodge -  Solomon's Lodge No. 1. Battle of Bloody Marsh.

More Oxford bios.