American History Told by Contemporaries

Author: John Wesley  | Date: Oct. 14, 1735, to Jan. 29, 1783

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U.S. History

An Evangelist in Georgia (1735/6–1737)


SUND. Feb. 1. We spoke with a ship of Carolina: and Wedn. 4. came within Soundings. About Noon the Trees were visible from the Mast, and in the Afternoon from the Main Deck. In the Evening Lesson were these Words, A great Door and Effectual is opened. O let no one shut it!

Thursd. Feb. 5. Between Two and Three in the Afternoon, God brought us all safe into the Savannah River. We cast anchor near Tybee-Island, where the Groves of Pines, running along the Shore, made an agreeable Prospect, shewing, as it were the Bloom of Spring in the Depth of Winter.

Frid. 6. About eight in the Morning, we first set foot on American Ground. It was a small, uninhabited Island, over against Tybee, Mr. Oglethorpe led us to a rising Ground, where we all kneel’d down to give Thanks. . . .

Thursd. 19. My Brother and I took Boat, and passing by Savannah, went to pay our first Visit in America to the poor Heathens. But neither Tomo Chachi nor Sinauky were at home. Coming back, we waited upon Mr. Causton, the Chief Magistrate of Savannah. From him we went with Mr. Spadgenberg to the Moravian Brethren. About Eleven we returned to the Boat, and came to our Ship about Four in the Morning.

Sat. 21. Mary Welch, aged Eleven Days, was baptized according to the Custom or [of] the First Church, and the Rule of the Church of England, by Immersion. The Child was ill then, but recover’d from that Hour.

Tu. 24. . . . At our return the next day, (Mr. Quincy being then in the House wherein we afterwards were) Mr. Delamotte and I took up our Lodging with the Germans. We had now an Opportunity Day by Day, of observing their whole behaviour. For we were in one Room with them from Morning to Night, unless for the little Time I spent in walking. They were always employ’d, always chearful themselves, and in good Humour with one another. They had put away all Anger and

Strife and Wrath and Bitterness and Clamour and Evil-speaking. They walk’d worthy of the Vocation wherewith they were call’d, and adorn’d the Gospel of our Lord in all Things. . . .

Sund. [March] 28. A Servant of Mr. Bradley’s sent to desire to speak with me. Going to him, I found a young man ill, but perfectly sensible. He desired the Rest to go out, and then said, ’On Thursday Night, about Eleven, being in bed, but broad awake, I heard one calling aloud "Peter! Peter Wright!" And looking up, the Room was as light as day, and I saw a man in very bright cloaths stand by the bed, who said, "Prepare yourself; for your End is nigh;" and then immediately all was dark as before." I told him, "The Advice was good whence-soever it came." In a few days he recovered from Iris illness: His whole temper was changed as well as his life; and so continued to be, till after three or four weeks he relapsed and died in peace. . . .

Sund. Apr. 4. About Four in the afternoon, I set out for Frederica, in a Pettianga (a sort of flat-bottom’d Barge.) The next Evening anchor’d near Skidoway Island, where the water at Flood was twelve or fourteen Foot deep. I wrapt myself up from head to foot, in a large cloak, to keep off the Sand-Flies, and lay down on the Quarter Deck. Between One and Two I waked under water, being so fast asleep that I did not find where I was till my mouth was full of it. Having left my cloak. I know not how upon Deck, I swam round to the other side of the Pettiawga, where a boat was ty’d, and climed up by the rope, without any hurt, more than wetting my cloaths. Thou art the God of whom cometh Salvation: Thou art the Lord by whom we escape death. . . .

Thurs. [June] 10. We began to execute at Frederica, what we had before agreed to do at Savannah. Our Design was on Sundays in the Afternoon, and every Evening after Publick Service, to spend some time with the most Serious of the Communicants, in singing, reading and Conversation. This Evening we had only Mark Hird. But on Sunday Mr. Hird, and two more desired to be admitted. After a psalm and a little conversation, I read Mr. Law’s Christion Perfection, and concluded with another psalm. . . .

Tuesd. 22. Observing such Coldness in Mr.——’s behaviour, I asked him the reason of it He answer’d, "I like nothing you do; all your Sermons are Satires upon particular persons. Therefore I will never hear you more. And all the people are of my mind. For we won’t hear ourselves abused.

"Beside, they say, they are Protestants. But as for You, they can’t tell what Religion you are of. They never heard of such a religion before. They do not know what to make of it. And then, your private behaviour—All the Quarrels that have been here since you came, have been long of you. Indeed there is neither man nor woman in the Town, who minds a word you say. And so you may preach long enough; but no body will come to hear you."

He was too warm for hearing an answer. So I had nothing to do, but to thank him for his openness, and walk away. . . .

Saturd. July 31. We came to Charles-Town. The Church is of Brick, but plaister’d over like Stone. I believe it would contain three or four Thousand Persons. About three Hundred were present at the Morning Service the next day, (when Mr. Garden desired me to preach) about fifty at the Holy Communion. I was glad to see several Negroes at Church; one of whom told me, "she was there constantly; and that her old Mistress (now dead) had many times instructed her in the Christian Religion." . . .

[August 2.] At Thunderbolt we took Boat, and on Friday Aug. 13, came to Frederica, where I deliver’d Mr. O. the Letters, I had brought from Carolina. The next Day he set out for Fort St. George. From that time I had less and less Prospect of doing good at Frederica; many there being extremely zealous, and indefatigably diligent to prevent it: And few of the rest daring to shew themselves of another mind, for fear of their displeasure.

Sat. 28. I set apart, (out of the Few we had) a few Books towards a Library at Frederica. . . .

[January, 1737.] In my passage home, having procured a celebrated Book, the Works of Nicholas Machiavel, I set myself carefully to read and consider it. I began with a prejudice in his Favour; having been informed, he had often been misunderstood, and greatly misrepresented. I weigh’d the Sentiments that were less common; transcribed the passages wherein they were contained; compared one Passage with another, and endeavour’d to form a cool, impartial Judgment; And my cool Judgement is, That if all the other doctrines of Devils which have been committed to Writing, since Letters were in the world, were collected together in one Volume, it would fall short of this: And, that should a Prince form himself by this book, so calmly recommending Hypocrisy, Treachery, Lying, Robbery, Oppression, Adultery, Whoredom and Murder of all kinds; Domitian or Nero would be an Angel of Light, compared to that Man. . . .

Frid. March 4. I writ the Trustees for Georgia an account of the last year’s expence from March 1, 1736, to March 1, 1737. Which, deducting extraordinary expences (such as repairing the Parsonage House, and Journeys to Frederica) amounted for Mr. Delamotte and me to 44l. 4s. 4d.

From the Directions I received from God this Day, touching an Affair of the greatest importance, I could not but observe (as I had done many times before) the entire mistake of those, who assert. "God will not answer your prayer, unless your Heart be wholly resign’d to his will." My Heart was not wholly resign’d to his will. Therefore, not daring to depend on my own judgment, I cried the more earnestly to him, To supply what was wanting in me. And I know and am assured, He heard my Voice, and did send forth his Light and his Truth. . . .

Wednes. [May] 25. I was sent for by one who had been several years of the Church of Rome: But was now deeply convinced (as were several others) by what I had occasionally preach’d, of the grievous errors that church is in, and the great danger of continuing a member of it. Upon this occasion I could not but reflect on the many advices I had receiv’d, to beware of the increase of popery: but not one (that I remember) to beware of the increase of infidelity. That was quite surprizing when I consider’d, 1. That in every place where I have yet been, the number of Converts to popery bore no proportion to the number of the Converts to infidelity. 2. That as bad a religion as popery is, no religion is still worse; a baptiz’d infidel being always found upon the trial, two-fold worse than even a bigotted Papist. 3. That as dangerous a state as a papist is in, with regard to eternity, a Deist is in a yet more dangerous state, if he be not (without repentance) an assured heir of damnation. And lastly, That as hard as it is to recover a Papist, it is still harder to recover an Infidel: I myself have known many Papists, but never one Deist re-converted. . . .

October the 7th I consulted my friends, whether God did not call me to return to England? The reason for which I left it had now no force: there being no possibility as yet of instructing the Indians: Neither had I as yet found or heard of any Indians on the continent of America, who had the least desire of being instructed. And as to Savannah, having never engag’d myself, either by word or letter, to stay there a day longer than I should judge convenient, nor even taken charge of the people any otherwise, than as in my passage to the heathens. I looked upon myself to be fully discharged therefrom, by the vacating of that design. Besides, there was a probability of doing more service to that unhappy people, in England than I could do in Georgia, by representing without fear or favour to the Trustees, the real state the Colony was in. After deeply considering these things, they were unanimous, That I ought to go. But not yet. So I laid the thoughts of it aside for the present: Being persuaded, that when the time was come, God would make the way plain before my face. . . .

Friday, Dec. 2. . . . In the Afternoon the Magistrates publish’d an Order requiring all the Officers and Centinels, to prevent my going out of the Province; and forbidding any person to assist me so to do. Being now only a Prisoner at large, in a Place where I knew by experience, every Day would give fresh opportunity, to procure Evidence of words I never said, and actions I never did; I saw clearly the Hour was come for leaving this Place: And as soon as Evening Prayers were over, about Eight o’Clock, the Tide then serving, I shook off the dust of my Feet, and left Georgia, after having preach’d the Gospel there (not as I ought, but as I was able) one Year, and nearly Nine Months.

[An Extract of the Rev. Mr. John Wesley’s Journal, from Oct. 14, 1735, to Jan. 29, 1783], 8–52 passim. (Taken from a contemporary copy, of which the title-page is missing.)


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Chicago: John Wesley, "An Evangelist in Georgia (1735/6– 1737)," American History Told by Contemporaries in American History Told by Contemporaries, ed. Albert Bushnell Hart (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1902), 283–287. Original Sources, accessed September 29, 2023,

MLA: Wesley, John. "An Evangelist in Georgia (1735/6– 1737)." American History Told by Contemporaries, in American History Told by Contemporaries, edited by Albert Bushnell Hart, Vol. 3, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1902, pp. 283–287. Original Sources. 29 Sep. 2023.

Harvard: Wesley, J, 'An Evangelist in Georgia (1735/6– 1737)' in American History Told by Contemporaries. cited in 1902, American History Told by Contemporaries, ed. , The Macmillan Company, New York, pp.283–287. Original Sources, retrieved 29 September 2023, from