Born: Sep­tem­ber 13, 1715, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Died: May 3, 1795, Ox­ted Cot­tage (near God­stone), Sur­rey, Eng­land.

Buried: Mo­ra­vi­an Bur­i­al Ground (Shar­on’s Gar­den), Chel­sea, Eng­land.



Hutton’s fa­ther, a non­jur­ing cler­gy­man who had re­signed his liv­ing, lived in Col­lege Street, West­min­ster, where he took West­min­ster boys to board.

James was ed­u­cat­ed at West­min­ster, and was ap­pren­ticed to Mr. In­nys, a book­sell­er of St. Paul’s Church­yard. About 1736 he op­ened a book­shop of his own at the Bi­ble and Sun, west of Tem­ple Bar, but ne­ver paid much at­ten­tion to bu­si­ness.

Before the end of his ap­pren­tice­ship he had met the Wes­leys at Ox­ford, and when they left for Georg­ia in 1735, he ac­com­pa­nied them to Graves­end. In 1738 and 1739 he pub­lished White­field’s Jour­nal.

Hutton started a small pray­er so­ci­e­ty in Lon­don, and cor­res­pond­ed with ma­ny Me­thod­ists. His mo­ther re­mained a strong church­wo­man, and wrote to Samuel Wes­ley, who was not of his bro­ther’s way of think­ing, that John Wes­ley was her son’s pope.

In 1737, John Wes­ley in­tro­duced Hut­ton to Peter Boh­ler and two oth­er Mo­ra­vi­an breth­ren then on their way to Georg­ia. From then on, Hut­ton in­clined to Mo­ra­vi­an­ism.

In 1739, he set out for Ger­ma­ny, where he vis­it­ed the Mo­ra­vi­an con­gre­ga­tions, and be­gan a cor­res­pon­dence with Count Zin­ze­ndorf. When John Wes­ley was sep­a­rat­ing him­self from the Mo­ra­vi­ans, he vain­ly tried in 1739 to per­suade Hut­ton to fol­low his ex­am­ple.

By 1740, af­ter Wes­ley had in­duced sev­er­al mem­bers of Hut­ton’s so­ci­e­ty, which was meet­ing at the Fet­ter Lane Cha­pel, to aban­don it for his Foun­dry So­ci­e­ty, the break be­tween the two men was com­plete.

They sub­se­quent­ly re­con­ciled, and Wes­ley not­ed in his jour­nal af­ter Hut­ton had paid him a vi­sit that he be­lieved Hut­ton would be saved, but as by fire.

Hutton was an ac­tive Mo­ra­vi­an lead­er the rest of his life. He oft­en vi­sit­ed Ger­ma­ny, and in 1741 be­came, on Span­gen­berg’s ad­vice, one of the found­ers of the So­ci­e­ty for the Fur­ther­ance of the Gos­pel, and act­ed as ref­er­en­da­ry for ma­ny years.

During an in­ter­view in which the pro­ject­ed Mo­ra­vi­an mis­sion to Lab­ra­dor was dis­cussed, Lord Shel­burne asked him, Pray, on what foot­ing are you with the Me­thod­ists? They kick us when­ev­er they can, an­swered Hut­ton.

George III, the Queen, and Dr. Frank­lin were among Hut­ton’s ac­quaint­anc­es.

Some re­fer to Hut­ton as the found­er of the Mo­ra­vi­an move­ment in Bri­tain.


Hutton con­trib­ut­ed sev­er­al hymns to the 1754 Mo­ra­vi­an Hymn Book. His other works in­clude: