The Wesleys and the Anglican Mission to Georgia, 1735-1738 considers the fascinating early history of a small group of men commissioned by trustees in England to spread Protestantism both to new settlers and indigenous people living in Georgia. Four minister-missionaries arrived in 1736, but after only two years these men detached themselves from the colonial enterprise, and the Mission effectively ended in 1738. Tracing the rise and fall of this endeavor, Scott’s study focuses on key figures in the history of the Mission including the layman, Charles Delamotte, and the ministers, John and Charles Wesley, Benjamin Ingham, and George Whitefield. In Scott’s innovative historical approach, neglected archival sources generate a detailed narrative account that reveals how these men’s personal experiences and personal networks had a significant impact on the inner-workings and trajectory of the Mission. The original group of missionaries who traveled to Georgia was composed of men already bound together by family relations, friendships, and shared lines of mentorship. Once in the colony, the missionaries’ prospects altered as they developed close ties with other missionaries (including a group of Moravians) and other settlers (John Wesley returned to England after his romantic relationship with Sophy Hopkey soured). Structures of imperialism, class, and race underlying colonial ideology informed the Anglican Mission in the era of trustee Georgia. The Wesleys and the Anglican Mission to Georgia enriches this historical picture by illuminating how a different set of intricacies, rooted in personal dynamics, was also integral to the events of this period. In Scott’s study, the history of the expansive eighteenth-century Atlantic world emerges as a riveting account of life unfolding on a local and individual level.
John Thomas Scott is professor of history at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.
Chapter 1—Background and Context in Early 18th Century England
Chapter 2—The Call and the Voyage, November 1734 to Late Winter 1736
Chapter 3—First Experiences, Late Winter to Early Spring 1736
Chapter 4—Back and Forth, Late Spring to Early Summer 1736
Chapter 5—In Different Directions, Summer 1736
Chapter 6—A Stability of Sorts, Fall 1736 to Winter 1737
Chapter 7—Changes and Challenges, Late Winter to Spring 1737
Chapter 8—Institutional and Personal Problems, Mid-Spring to Mid-Summer 1737
Chapter 9—Rupture and Departure, Late Summer to Early Winter 1737
Chapter 10—Mission End, 1738
Chapter 11—Assessment of the Anglican Mission to Georgia, 1730s to the early 21st Century
Narrative Postscript—The Mission Participants after the Mission, 1739 to the 1790s
The result of over a decade of meticulous research and careful analysis, John Thomas Scott has gifted scholars with the most extensive treatment to date of the Wesleys’ Anglican mission to Georgia. He convincingly demonstrates the complexity of personal relationships to the shape and outcomes of the mission. Future studies of the mission and colonial Georgia will be indebted to Scott’s thorough research.
Scott offers a comprehensive and objective look at the Wesley Mission. His emphasis on personal relationships and professional interactions captures the complex nuances of this endeavor, and his close examination of this event in its time and place makes this book an important contribution to the literature of colonial Georgia.