The depiction of Wesleyan Methodists in nineteenth-century eastern British America as politically passive is seriously challenged in this analysis of Halifax’s merchant community. Wesleyan businessmen’s leadership wielded influence in education, economics, and politics. They remolded directives from the parent English Methodist Conference to suit colonial realities. The result was an attempt to balance evangelicalism and capitalist pursuits. In this study, collective biography reveals the inner workings of that dynamic second and third generation merchant network.