South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand
February 13th, 1891
Hobart, Tasmania, Friday
My Beloved Angee,
Tomorrow D.V. I move on to Launceston, a distance of 180 miles by rail where I stay until Wednesday when I take a steamer to Melbourne. Have been busy all the week in one way or another and wish my duties would detain me here for a few weeks it is such a beautiful spot. We have had a fairly good customer here who has called himself our sole agent for Tasmania and being unwilling to unsettle this I have had to stir him up a bit so as to increase the business and he has given me a nice order and a letter of introduction to a firm in Launceston he hopes might take up our goods for the Northern part.
Wednesday Afternoon being an early closing day dear Mr Mackie and I went a few miles into the country to a place much frequented by visitors called "Fern Tree Bower" and we enjoyed our little trip. Tomorrow we part – he goes to Melbourne direct and I by another route – he is always ready for a little reading and prayer together. I called upon Mrs Lysh on Monday who is staying at a boarding house and spent a half an hour with her and one of her daughters – she is not much altered from the time we saw her at Ilfracombe – we talked mostly about dear Harriett and the children. Mr L. was at the Launceston races and intended returning today I believe, but I have seen nothing of him. I hear him spoken of in the town as a very worldly man. Last Lord's day evening I found a brother outside the meeting here refusing Mr Raven's teaching and there are 7 or 8 others with him so we have been having nice meetings nearly every evening since and the largest room in his house has been filled and a few still in the old meeting have also been present. There has been a red hot Ravenite here for about 12 months past a butcher from London and you may judge of his teaching that a young brother in the meeting who has been much take up with the new truth, rose up in a meeting a few weeks ago and "thanked God that he had not got Eternal Life". His wife afterward said "Well I have" and was greatly grieved to hear what her husband had said. I have called at their house twice and have had nice conversations with her and D.V. I go to see him this evening, having been entreated to by another. The active teacher of these errors I have refused to meet. At one of our meetings during the week two ladies were present I had seen before – one was the widow of the late Dr Woodman and a sister of the late Dr. Mackern[?] and she remembered me during a visit to Ilfracombe some years since – the other was a Mrs Christy residing at Melbourne who remembered my first visit there. They are both refusing Mr Raven's errors and from Mrs Christy I have heard a good deal as to the state of the Melbourne meeting and Australia and New Zealand generally and am very thankful to find that many have gone outside it. It appears at Melbourne they are very dissatisfied about the whole thing and have been kept in ignorance as to the real points at issue. The assembly as such have not heard a word about it – the brothers have settled it at three meetings they held – at the first there were about 70 present many of whom were concerned to know more about the matter but were told by Mr Stewart that brethren in London had gone into it all and that there was no occasion to take it up there – at the second meeting not one half of them came and at the third and last only 8 brothers were present and the majority of these would not agree to it without adding a rider to their decision hoping Mr Raven would see his way clear to withdraw many obscure and defective expressions. This message is sent abroad as the unanimous decision of the whole meeting and no assembly meeting was ever held at all. Mrs Woodman lives a few miles in the country and I went out yesterday afternoon and had tea with them and spent some time again with Mrs Christy and her. Three brothers belonging to the meeting I dropped into last Lord's day morning have called upon me and one asked me to give them a word at the Hall they occupy which I declined – they are very godly men and if it was a question of persons and that which is pleasant to one's heart, it would not take long to decide which company to adopt. I also had a call from the Rev Mr McCartney whose father is Dean of Melbourne. He is a very godly man and quite an evangelist I hear – singularly enough the Rev William Petter was on a visit to Melbourne last year and stayed with him of whom he spoke very highly as a Christian – I hear from Mrs Christy that Mr McCartney came to a reading at Melbourne some years ago when Mr Darby was present – when he found I was with the brethren he said "Ah – I know them very well – good people but mistaken and they weaken the church in Melbourne very much".
Launceston, Feb 16th
I reached here on Saturday afternoon – the ride by rail was very interesting – in the middle of their harvest and a very abundant one they had this year – rather a singular sight to see wheat harvest in February. Found a nice little company here refusing the new heresy and broke bread with them – it was a mutual cheer for all our hearts.
A brother and sister in the meeting formerly being at Manchester both knew Harry and they had received a letter from Dr. Burton a few days ago saying that I might be expected. Dr. B. has sent a circular to all the saints in the Colonies especially calling attention to the misleading character of Mr Stuart's summary as published in the notice sent out from Melbourne – it is so seriously wrong that I had felt disposed to do the same thing, but now that he has done it there will not be the need. Never have I seen such blindness and wickedness practised under the cover of Christ's name in all my experience. The Bristol gathering has sent out a paper which I should be glad for you to get – they give the Bournemouth judgment of Mr Raven's doctrines which is very clear and to the point.
The mail closes in a few hours and as usual my hands are full. Trust you are all being preserved in good health and now once more with much love to dear Arundel, Harry and Emma and all the darling children and all dear friends believe me my dearly beloved Angee with a double portion for yourself.
Being very affectionate Husband