From [the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in Manchester - the letter is headed Pole Bank Hall, Gee Cross, Hyde, Cheshire]. He is pleased that the children are on the mend. They finish Conference on Tuesday afternoon, so he should be able to catch a train home that night.
[William Longden] Oakes has been asking questions about the Theological School. He apparently bumped into [William Wildridge] Gibson on Monday and was promptly asked to speak to H B R about it, which placed him [H B R] into a predicament. Fortunately H B R met with [Norman?] Page, Howitt[?] and Webster.
H B R is trying to arrange an exchange between [David] Howard Smith and [H. W. Kenneth] Sandy for one year. In order to get Smith it seems to be the only option. He had a good talk with Page about the matter and he thinks that it would be better to do the exchange rather than lose Smith.
H B R is to have lunch on Monday with [Edgar Wesley] Thompson so that they can have a good talk about China. He has also spoken his mind to [George Frederick] Byrom and it is accepted that the present arrangement is a great mistake. [Charles William] Andrews has been at Conference and took it pretty well.
H B R's feeling about the missionary situation is that while there is some brilliance and devotion, there is also a lack of necessary grasp of problems both at home and overseas. He has told [George Edward Hickman] Johnson that they are far too concerned about what will happen tomorrow. They should rather thank God for the 30,000 and leave next year until closer to the time.
The final list of those elected to the [Wesleyan] Legal Hundred is as follows; Edwin Finch, [George Edward] Hickman Johnson, Arundel Chapman, Joshua Holmes and [Francis Joseph] Gould. They all seemed very pleased.
Nearly all of H B R's contemporaries at Headingley are here, which is interesting. Probably half the Wesleyan ministry is present at Conference.
- Edgar Wesley Thompson (1871-1963) was born in Glastonbury, the son of a Wesleyan minister. He was educated at Woodhouse Grove, Kingswood, Aberystwyth and London University. Thompson trained for the ministry at Richmond and served as a missionary in India for twenty-five years from 1894. He proved an able and well-known protagonist of Christianity and his public debates with the Theosophist Annie Beasant attracted a great deal of attention. He also acted as the editor of the weekly Christian newspaper Vrittanta Patrike. During the Conference of 1911, while on furlough he made representations which led to changes in the constitution and administration of the Missionary Society. Thompson returned to England in 1919 and was appointed General Secretary of the Missionary Society, in which post he displayed considerable administrative ability. Thompson superannuated in 1934 but remained active - the Conference Declaration of Racial Policy in 1950 was largely his work. While serving in India Thompson wrote a two volume history of the sub-continent which remained in wide use for many years. He also wrote acclaimed biographies of John Wesley and Nicholas Gilbert. Source: Minutes of Conference 1963 and Methodist Recorder 7 Feb 1963.
- William Longden Oakes (1886-1972) was born in Derby and was educated at a grammar school in York. He trained for the Wesleyan ministry at Handsworth and in 1909 was appointed to the Hunan District of China. His overseas ministry lasted until 1917 when he returned to the circuit ministry in England. Oakes superannuated in 1955. Source: Minutes of Conference 1973.
- David Howard Smith (1900-87) was born at Great Harwood, Lancashire. He was educated at Accrington Grammar School and trained at Victoria Park and Manchester University for the ministry of the United Methodist Church. He served as a missionary in North China from 1924 to 1948 and then returned to England where he spent ten years on the staff of Manchester University. Smith was a brilliant linguist and possessed a great knowledge of Chinese philosophy, culture and religion. His publications included The Wisdom of the Taoist Mystics (1980) and articles in many academic publications. Smith superannuated in 1963 and retired from the University in 1966. His last years were spent in Cornwall. Source: Minutes of Conference 1988.
- H. W. Kenneth Sandy was educated for the Wesleyan ministry at Richmond College and served as a Wesleyan missionary in China from 1924 to 1936. Upon his return to Britain, he was appointed to Leeds Brunswick. His name disappears from the list of ministers after 1939. Source: Minutes of Conference 1939 and Hill's Arrangement 1936.
- George Edward Hickman Johnson (1883-1966) was born in Edgbaston, Birmingham. He was educated at King Edward's School and trained for the Wesleyan ministry at Handsworth. Johnson served as a missionary in the Hyderabad District of India from 1906 to 1919 interrupted by three years as a circuit minister in Cornwall. After his return to England he spent seven years in London circuits and then from 1927 to 1948, he was a General Secretary of the Missionary Society, where he made a particular impact as Secretary for Home Organisation. Johnson was also a committed pacifist and an outspoken advocate of Indian self-rule. Source: Minutes of Conference 1966 and Methodist Recorder March 24 1966, p.20.
- Norman Page (1881-1955) was born in York. He studied for the Wesleyan ministry at Didsbury and in 1905 was sent as a missionary to the Wuchang District of China. During his twenty years overseas, he had a particular oversight of central and village schools and of the boys' school at Suichow. He returned to England in 1925 and served as a circuit minister until superannuation in 1947. Source: Minutes of Conference 1956.
- Edwin Finch (1881-1965) was born at Stockton-on-Tees and was educated at the local grammar school. He originally intended to become a teacher but in 1905 responded to the call of the ministry and entered Handsworth College. After several years circuit ministry, he served with the armed forces as a chaplain during World War 1. From 1920 until Methodist union, Finch held several departmental posts at first with the Sustentation Fund and then with the Temperance and Social Welfare Department. He served as Record Secretary of the Wesleyan Conference in 1926 and Assistant Secretary in 1928. In 1932 Finch was one of the last to be appointed to the Wesleyan Legal Hundred. He returned to circuit work in 1933 before becoming Secretary of Conference in 1937, a post which he held until superannuation in 1951. Source: Minutes of Conference 1966.
- J. Arundel Chapman (1885-1934) was born in Nottingham and educated at the City of London School and Trinity College Oxford. He trained for the Wesleyan ministry at Headingley and in 1909 became Assistant Tutor at Handsworth and later Headingley. After thirteen years circuit work, Chapman was appointed to the Chair of Systematic Theology at Didsbury College and in 1930 was transferred to the Theological Tutorship at Headingley. Chapman was among the last to be appointed to the Wesleyan Legal Hundred. Source: Minutes of Conference 1934.
- Joshua Holmes (1870-1944) was born at Dacre Banks in Yorkshire. He trained for the Wesleyan ministry at Headingley and exercised a circuit ministry until superannuation in 1932, which included sixteen years in the West Monmouth Mission. Source: Minutes of Conference 1944.
- Francis Joseph Gould (1877-1957) trained for the Wesleyan ministry at Richmond and exercised an active circuit ministry from 1902 until superannuation in 1949, mainly in and around Manchester. He was a member of the Law and Polity Committee and one of the Treasurers of the Board of Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. He was appointed to the Legal Hundred by the last Wesleyan Conference of 1932. Source: Minutes of Conference 1957.