From London to Barnard Slater in Birmingham. Atherton was very grateful for Slater’sexpressions of regard and would love to give practical proof that Slater’s confidence in himis not misplaced. He is prepared to render any assistance which he can give, consistent with otherduties, with regard to collecting for ‘religion and charity’. There is no place that hewould rather visit for that purpose than Birmingham. Reference is made to the frankness, generosity,honesty etc of the people there. They are the ‘noblest race of [unreadable word] that I wasever associated with...’. Yet he is reluctant to promise as ‘Conference will require twoSabbaths and to add a third after the absence occasioned by missionary deputations at this seasonleads me to pause - but you must have an answer - I consent then to spend with you the 22nd of July.Neither [Josiah] Hill, nor [John] Bicknell, nor [Joseph] Beaumont are going to Conference. The lastwished for liberty [permission from the circuit?] but could not obtain it. There will be [Richard]Watson, [William] Toase, [John] Rigg, [Thomas] Stanley, [Joseph] Cusworth, besides the President& [Joseph] Entwisle representative - our meetings have gone off just tolerably - not quite sointeresting & efficient as some former ones’.
- Barnard Slater (1779-1851) was born in Hambleton, Yorkshire. Hismother died while Slater was still young and this event made a deep impression. He first attendedMethodist worship in 1796 at Cawood in the Selby circuit and he was converted shortly after. In thesame year he attended the religious services of the Leeds Conference and under the influence ofsermons by Joseph Benson and Samuel Bradburn, he felt the call to preach. After some time working asa local preacher with great success, he candidated for the ministry in 1803. Slater exercised anactive circuit ministry for forty-seven years until poor health compelled him to superannuate in1850. He moved to Macclesfield and died in August 1851 after collapsing while coming over AlderleyEdge on his way back from the chapel. Source:Minutes ofConference 1852 and Hill’s Arrangement1847
- John Bicknell (1784-1878) was born in London, a son of one of theearly Methodists. He was converted at the age of fourteen and entered the ministry in 1812. Heexercised an active circuit ministry until 1844 when he was compelled to superannuate because of aserious bronchial infection. Bicknell spent the rest of his life in the London Chelsea circuit wherehe proved a very effective class leader. For some years before his death at the age of ninety-two,he was confined to his room through progressively declining strength. Source:Minutes of Conference 1878 and Hill’s Arrangement 1874
- John Rigg (1786-1857) was born at Little Stickland in Westmoreland.He was converted by a Methodist sermon at the age of seventeen and began to preach locally. Riggcandidated for the ministry in 1808. He exercised an active circuit ministry until superannuation in1855 when he retired to Macclesfield. Source:Minutes ofConference 1857 andHill’s Arrangement1853
- Joseph Cusworth (1787-1857) was born near Rotherham in Yorkshire.His father was religious and Cusworth was raised in the faith. Cusworth moved to Sheffield and wasconverted at the age of seventeen by the ministry of William Edward Miller. He candidated for theministry in 1807 and exercised an active circuit ministry until 1843 when he was appointed to theGovernorship of Kingswood School which post he held until his death. He had previously spenttwenty-seven years as Treasurer of the Home Mission and Contingent Fund. Source:Minutes of Conference 1857 andHill’s Arrangement 1853