Whitehead, John, Md
Whitehead, John, M.D.
a biographer of Wesley, was born in 1740. He studied medicine, and became physician to the old Bethlehem Hospital, Moorfields, London. From 1764 to 1769 he travelled as a Methodist preacher, returning again to his professional duties. He was a Quaker for some years, but afterwards returned to the Methodists. He was chief physician to John and Charles Wesley during their last illnesses. At the request of the executors of John Wesley and the trustees of City-Road Chapel, he preached the funeral sermon of Wesley to an audience "still and silent as night," to use Crowther's words, March 9, 1791. This sermon was published, went through several editions, and realized to the Book-room a profit of £200. With Coke and Moore, Wesley appointed him literary executor. A long and unfortunate dispute ensued between Whitehead and his two brethren concerning the papers of Wesley, the former refusing to give them up for examination and a possible cremation. For this he was expelled from membership and from his office as local preacher. Whitehead, having the advantage of the possession of Wesley's papers, ationce wrote a plain and valuable account of the Lives of John and Charles Wesley, the first volume of which was issued in 1793. In the meantime, however (1792), Coke and Henry Moore published a hastily prepared Life, heavy editions of which were at once sold, thus supplanting to a large extent the more authoritative biography by the layman. In 1797, Whitehead restored the papers to his co- executors, and was reinstated in his position in the Church. Having served as physician to the Methodists for many years, he died in London, March 18, 1804.
Dr. Whitehead published the following: Essay on Liberty and Necessity (1775, 12mo), in which Mr. Wesley's Thoughts on Necessity are examined and defended: Materialismn Philosophically Examined, or the Immateriality of the Soul Asserted and Proved on Philosophical
Principles, in an Answer to Dr. Priestley's Disquisitions on Matter and Spirit (Lond. 1778,78 pp.): — a Discourse (ibid. 1791, 8vo) delivered at the New Chapel, City Road, March 9, 1791, at the funeral of Reverend John Wesley: — A True Narrative of the Origin and Progress of the Difference concerning the Publication of the Life of Reverend John Wesley (1792, 8vo): — a Defence (eod. 8vo) of the same: — a Life of the Reverend John Wesley, M.A. (Lond. 1793-96, 2 volumes, 8vo; reprinted in Dublin in 1806, with an Appendix by the Irish editor, and Whitehead's Sermon on Wesley; in Boston, Mass., with Preface by John McLeish, 1844, 8vo; in Auburn and Rochester, N.Y., 1854, 8vo), collected from his private papers and printed works, to which is prefixed some account of his ancestors and relations, with the Life of Reverend C. Wesley, M.A., collected from his private journal and never before published. See Stevenson, Hist. of City Road Chapel, pages 87, 377; Crowther, Delin. of Methodism (1815, 2d ed.), page 105; Wesley, Works (Lond. 3d ed.), 4:295, 351; 13:15; Tyerman, Life of John Wesley (see Index, volume 3). For the dispute about Wesley's papers, see Myles, Chronicles Hist. of Meth. Ann. 1792; Smith, Hist. of Wesley and Methodism (see Index, 3:723); Advertisement in Whitehead's Life of Wesley, and Life of Henry Moore (1791).