By John Wesley, published by R. Hawes, Spitalfields, 1775
The 1770s were turbulent years in the American colonies, which were edging towards independence from Britain. John Wesley ventured squarely into American politics with publishing his 'Calm Address'. The booklet reversed his position of a year earlier on British oppression of the colonies and brought him down on the side of the British government and clergy. The pamphlet went through many editions straightaway and over 100,000 copies circulated within a year.
Not surprisingly, Wesley was vilified in America. It has been argued that the fact that America closed its ports to English ships - and books - on July 20th, 1775 may have saved the cause of Methodism in America. The copies of the 'Calm Address' which had entered already were largely destroyed, and no further copies found their way into the country until after the conflict.