Green Anti-Methodist Collection
Date range: 18th-19th centuries
Number of items: 400 items.
This is the largest collection of anti-Methodist material in the world, comprising 396 copies of 348 works published mainly in the 18th century but with some 19th-century editions.
The collection consists almost entirely of pamphlets collected by the bibliographer and Wesleyan minister Richard Green (1829–1907). Most of the items were published in Britain, but there are some North American imprints. The majority were written by laymen and ministers of the Church of England, although other denominations are represented. There are also pamphlets written by evangelicals attacking other evangelicals, reflecting the sharp divisions within the Methodist movement on theological grounds.
The collection is valuable for the insights it provides into the doctrinal and theological basis for the opposition to the Wesleys and their contemporaries. Much of this was founded on the perception that Methodism promoted religious extremism and was destructive of family and social ties. The widespread and sometimes violent reaction to Methodism illustrates one of Georgian society’s deepest fears: a return to the sectarian violence of the 17th century.
Despite the title of the collection, some of the works were in fact written in defence of Methodism, or from a more impartial viewpoint. Many of the pamphlets, particularly from the early years of the Revival, were published in opposition to Calvinist evangelicals, especially George Whitefield (1714–1770), rather than the Wesleys.
Other themes that are covered in the collection include reactions to John Wesley’s views on secular matters such as the American War of Independence.
- Recorded in Library Search.
- C. D. Field, 'Anti-Methodist Publications of the Eighteenth Century: A Revised Bibliography’, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 73, no. 2 (Summer 1991), pp. 159-280.