Wesley limited his expenditures by not buying the kinds of things generally considered essential for a man in his station of life. In 1776 the English tax commissioners inspected his return and wrote back, “[We] cannot doubt but you have plate for which you have hitherto neglected to make entry.” They assumed that a man of his prominence certainly had silver dinnerware in his house, and they wanted him to pay the proper tax on it. Wesley wrote back, “I have two silver spoons at London and two at Bristol. This is all the plate I have at present, and I shall not buy any more while so many round me want bread.”

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