John Wesley was to play a surprisingly contemporary role in the political debates of Victorian England. Nonconformist Methodists and High Church Anglicans battled for ‘rights’ to the evangelical leader. Presenting their differing ‘Wesleys’ to the world, the authors of books and pamphlets painted Wesley as one of their own within a contentious political environment with high stakes for the establishment of Church and State. That Wesley would have found Victorian politics foreign was not the authors' concern. The episode discussed here represents one in the long journey to grasp the multifaceted and elusive Wesley and to define Methodism.

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