The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

April 1, 2017

April 1, 2016

An interesting story about the founder of Methodism has come to our attention.

It is a point of fact that the man who founded the Methodist movement traveled extensively himself but what may surprise readers is new research released on April 1st by a noted British historian that says Wesley had a constant companion on his journeys for much of his life. The idea is generating heated discussion in some circles and delight in others......

Patrick Daleson, of the British Society of Animal Science, contends that notes in Wesley’s own journals and comments by others who met the preacher at church gatherings or aboard ships, reference his affection for “grace.” Daleson's April 1 report claims the term in these instances is really a name Wesley gave to a cat he found in the streets of London and adopted in 1739, a short time after his “heart was strangely warmed” at Aldersgate......

A cat would seem to be one of the few creatures who could keep up the brutal pace that Wesley endured. John Wesley was known to cover up to 5,000 miles a year, whether walking for many miles or on the back of a horse, often reading or writing while riding. This type of travel was challenging and dangerous in Wesley’s day, but Methodism’s most famous preacher seemed to find it invigorating. The Wesley Center Online notes: “At Bristol, in September, 1788, he says that his friends, more kind than wise, would scarce suffer him to walk. ‘It seemed so sad a thing to walk five or six miles! I am ashamed that a Methodist preacher, in tolerable health, should make any difficulty of this.’” A small animal like a cat could easily sit in Wesley’s lap or even ride in his saddlebag. A cat could also handle the rough travel of a ship at sea without difficulty. And it is possible that Wesley could certainly have kept the animal out of the public eye thus explaining why few scholars have uncovered this interesting other side of the very serious and often somber religious leader.
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By the way, we wish everyone a Happy April Fool's Day, and we hope you enjoyed our silly story about John Wesley and his kitty.

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