The Church of England, Methodism, and ‘the province of public virtue’<sup>1</sup>

Emma Major

in Madam Britannia

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199699377
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738029 | DOI:
The Church of England, Methodism, and ‘the province of public virtue’1

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This chapter focuses on debates in the 1760s about Methodism and the Church of England. Although Methodism was still officially part of the Church until 1795, many Anglicans felt unhappy with the religious enthusiasm and physicality associated with Methodist worship. Women became important in helping the Church define itself against Methodism, and appeared extensively in anti-Methodist satire of the period. These debates highlighted ways in which Anglican women were members of a public, established Church, and Anglican women’s duties were described as public in opposition to the privacy and melancholia of Methodist worship. The chapter looks at anti-Methodist prints by Hogarth alongside anti-Methodist plays by Samuel Foote and others; here, drawing on old anti-Roman Catholic satire, Methodist women are caricatured as nuns and prostitutes. The actual female communities established by the Countess of Huntingdon and Sarah Scott are then explored in relation to Scott’s fiction and correspondence.

Keywords: Methodism; Church of England; Anglican; Hogarth; brothels; convents; Samuel Foote; Countess of Huntingdon; Sarah Scott; Handel

Chapter.  22140 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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