Letter from John Wesley to Mrs. Elizabeth Woodhouse, August 3, 1777
My dear sister I am glad you was not terrified by those marvellous predictions of poor James Kershaw. Very few in London but very many up and down the country were exceedingly affrighted. I hope he has now recovered himself and is again a reasonable man.
In this letter to Elizabeth Harvey Woodhouse (fl. 1760–1785), John Wesley mentions a controversy in early British Methodism. James Kershaw (fl. 1750–1800) was a Methodist preacher who left the itinerancy in 1776. Soon thereafter he prophesied that “all Methodists are to go over to America in the belly of a whale.” Clearly embarrassed, Wesley called Kershaw “stark raving mad” in two other letters owned by Bridwell Library.