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Launceston Wesleyan Methodists 1832 - 1849: contributions, commerce, conscience


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Bailey, AV 2008 , 'Launceston Wesleyan Methodists 1832 - 1849: contributions, commerce, conscience', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis argues that the Launceston Wesleyan Methodists 1832-49
were a highly unusual global group. With an elite component, they went
far beyond the normal range of colonial Wesleyan Methodist
establishments. They have slipped through the net as regards their rightful
place in history. What is being rescued from obscurity is this Society,
which passed through initial missionary and strategising moves to
community involvement, consecration of wealth, status, commercial
success, banking involvement and then finally political involvement. It is
argued that, in the short time frame designated, it was unusual for a first
generation Wesleyan Methodist group to have achieved so much. The
thesis is presented in two parts.
For an understanding of the Launceston Wesleyan Methodists, the
first part lays out the background of the formation of the Wesleyan
Methodist Society, showing the varied influences that came to bear on
John Wesley’s patchwork of developing theology, as well as Wesley’s
evangelical economic principles. These economic principles are shown to
have altered in the early nineteenth century with the rise of the Wesleyan
Methodist middle class man. With the rise of evangelical international
missionary enterprise, Wesleyan men of commerce understood that they
had to consecrate their wealth to fund missionary endeavours of the
Society. The Wesleyan Methodist mission trajectory to the South Seas is
discussed with the failed early colonial missions of Sydney and Hobart.
The second part details successful missionary endeavours towards
the developing merchant town of Launceston. These endeavours began
with the coming of Philip Oakden in 1833, and the forming of an elite
within the Society who were prepared to shoulder financial responsibility.
The Wesleyan Methodist spirit of egalitarianism in a penal situation is
discussed, with a demographic study as well as a discussion of the global
shift in liturgy. The Wesleyan Methodist conscience is explained through
an examination of a particular spiritual diary. The acquisition of status is
explained through land and property ownership, jury list membership and
involvement in philanthropic and civic activities. With the establishment of status, the thesis makes a strong case for the Launceston Wesleyan
Methodist contribution to banking, and this is verified with a banking
table. Emphasis is given to the extraordinary involvement of Philip Oakden
in the establishment of the second tier imperial bank, The Union Bank of
Australia (the predecessor to the ANZ Bank). Political involvement for the
Wesleyan Methodists in the 1840s is charted giving regard to the Teetotal
Society and some growing resentments which led to the formation of the
London Agency and Anti-Transportation Leagues, both of which had
considerable Wesleyan Methodist input.
The thesis contributes to the body of knowledge regarding worldwide
Wesleyan Methodist establishments before 1850. It is the first time
that a group of Australian colonial Wesleyan Methodists has been
examined in such detail for their contributions and achievements. The
thesis concludes that the Launceston Wesleyan Methodists, 1832-49 were
an outstanding group who far surpassed normal Wesleyan Methodist

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Bailey, AV
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2008 the Author

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