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In Their Own Words

January 26, 1736

Wesley Expressed Frustration

In his journal, John Wesley recorded the frustration he felt concerning his mission to Georgia and then proceeded to critique a famous work on politics – Machiavelli’s The Prince:

“After having beaten the Air in this unhappy Place for twenty Days, on January 26, I took my final leave of Frederica. It was not any Apprehension of my own Danger (tho’ my Life had been threatened many Times) but an utter Despair of going Good there; which made me content with the Thought of seeing it no more. In my Passage home, having procured a celebrated Book, the Works of Nicolas Machiavel [sic], I set myself carefully to read and consider it. I began with a Prejudice in his Favour; having been inform’d, 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 endeavoured to form a cool, impartial Judgement: 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.”

Source: [no author or editor cited], Our First Visit in America: Early Reports from the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1740 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1974), pp. 214-215.