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James Everett (1784-1872)

James Everett was born in Alnwick, Northumberland, the grandson of one of the town's first Methodists. After serving an apprenticeship to a flax dresser and grocer, Everett was converted in 1803 and served as a local preacher before entering the Wesleyan ministry in 1811. He exercised an active circuit ministry until he was forced by ill health to become a supernumary in 1821. He retired first to Sheffield and then Manchester where he kept a bookshop. In the years after his superannuation, Everett gained a reputation as a writer of Methodist history and biography.

Everett returned to the active ministry in 1834 but superannuated again in 1842. Everett's second period as a circuit minister coincided with the appearance in print of several pamphlets attacking Jabez Bunting. The works were anonymous but it was strongly suspected that Everett was the author. He was called on by the Conference of 1841 to affirm or deny authorship of a collection of biographical sketches entitled Wesleyan Takings, but refused to reply.

After Everett's withdrawal from the ministry in 1842, the Fly-Sheets began to appear. These attacked the dominance of Bunting over Wesleyan Methodism. Everett again refused to admit or deny authorship and was expelled by the Conference of 1849. He went on to help found the United Methodist Free Church in 1857, serving as its first President.

Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)

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