Gideon Ouseley was born in the year of John Wesley's second visit to County Galway, was 'converted' in the year of Wesley's death and died on the one hundredth anniversary of Wesley's introduction to field preaching. A Methodist rural revivalist could have no better pedigree. I first encountered him, not in a dream as many Methodist contemporaries seem to have done, but in the correspondence of Joseph Butterworth MP,1 to whom Ouseley sent graphic details of the nature of Irish Catholicism for his controversial speeches against Roman Catholic Emancipation, and in the records of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, in which Ouseley stands out as the most flamboyant missionary of his generation.2 In terms of published works, Ouseley's career can also be traced through his prolific anti-Catholic pamphleteering3 and in the pages of William Arthur's unexceptional Victorian biography.4 But by far the most revealing record of his life and work is to be found in the manuscripts collected by John Ouseley Bonsall, a Dublin businessman who hero-worshipped his missionary uncle.5 The collection includes transcriptions of Ouseley's letters, reproductions of his journal - which Ouseley thought he had completely destroyed in 1814 after repeated rows with the regular Methodist preachers-and an unusual oral history dimension in the transcriptions of interviews conducted by Bonsall a few years before Ouseley's death. As a collection it is at once deeply personal in its disclosure of Ouseley's states of mind during religious conversion, illness and death, and of much wider historical significance in its evocation of half a century of religious conflict and social upheaval in Ireland. It is also revealing of Methodism itself in its period of transition from a network of voluntary societies serviced by itinerant evangelists to a settled, chapel-based, preacher-led denomination. But above all, the Ouseley collection is a record of the remarkable religious energy of its subject in proclaiming religious certainties to a generation made anxious by revolution in Europe and Catholic resurgence in Ireland.