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Joseph Butterworth (1770-1826)

Joseph Butterworth was born in Coventry, the son of a prominent Baptist minister. He became a Methodist in early life and moved to London where he founded a famous law- publishing firm. As a prominent businessman and active member of the church, Butterworth occupied an important place in Methodist councils. He urged the Conference of 1803 to set up the important Committee of Privileges to defend Methodist legal rights at a time when persecution remained a very real threat. He was one of its first members.

Butterworth served as an independent Member of Parliament for the Coventry constituency between 1812 and 1818. He went on to represent Dover from 1820 until his death. He used his parliamentary position to champion evangelical causes such as the fight against slavery. Butterworth was also a leading supporter of the British and Foreign Bible Society and regretted the separation of Methodism from the Church of England.

Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)

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