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Abstract

Employing hitherto unused archives from the Bodleian Library, this article seeks to explain the circumstances in which Samuel Wesley was imprisoned in 1705. Methodist historians have tended to see Wesley as unfortunate, and some historians have regarded Wesley's debts as evidence of his incompetence with money. However, this article views the imprisonment from the perspective of Wesley's controversy with dissenters and of his engagement with convocation and the Lincolnshire election. In this context it is possible to see that he was almost certainly the victim of low church whig conspiracies to put pressure on him and attempt to silence his attacks on dissenters and the whigs.