Supplement: Notes on the "Correspondence" and "Remonstrance."

J. N. Darby.

<20006E> 152 (See also files 20003E, 20004E, 20005E)

The detail of facts already given is the best answer to the "Remonstrance." I do not therefore go into it at large here. A very few remarks will be needed. The total absence of conscience is so marked in the following passage, that I note it as helping to judge the whole paper: "You consider his refusal to meet a request of yours a sin sufficient to warrant excommunication." Passion alone can be alleged as any answer to a charge of want of conscience in such a passage as this. They call the letter of the 20th of November "Your first letter of summons." They must be perfectly aware (for Mr. Newton had answered them both) that, besides Dr. C.'s correspondence, two letters had been addressed to Mr. Newton, asking him to meet the saints in Rawstorne Street before this. This, called the first, resulted from the interview at Dr. C.'s and was not from Rawstorne Street. What is called the second here was consequent upon their repeated refusals, a final act of the whole body.

A few words as to the general contents of these documents will enable the reader to form an estimate of their character. It purports to be a correspondence relating to a refusal to meet certain citations which are presented as summoning Mr. N. from Plymouth up to London, and a certain letter as the first of them. Now what are the facts? It is true to the letter that this is the correspondence relating to the refusal. And this was the first letter written to Plymouth. But was this the beginning of correspondence? What about the proposal refused? Mr. Newton had been in London, and offered to satisfy brethren. A long correspondence - nay two, with two different parties - had taken place in consequence. All this is entirely suppressed. The first letter here alludes to an interview indeed, and therefore seems very fair; but correspondences had taken place about the proposal refused, and about meeting to consider it. And how came this letter to be written to Plymouth which is produced now, as citing Mr. N. from thence to London? At his own suggestion on leaving London, that they at Plymouth might consider it; and hence the reference in Mr. D-n's letter, who thought it useless, but deferred to Messrs. H. and C., who judged that, not having the presence of mind to reject the proposal of Mr. N. at the time as they ought to have done, it might seem unfair not to act upon it afterwards. And this letter, written at his suggestion after the conclusion of what passed in London, is treated as the first, and as a citation from Plymouth up to London. But further: another letter, making a different proposal from Mr. D-n's, was written by Dr. C. in consequence of the same suggestion. This also is suppressed, though the answer referred to the reply to Mr. D-n's.

153 Further, under colour of its arriving only when they were finishing theirs, a letter of December 13* is placed in the correspondence after theirs of December 15, as if it closed the correspondence: it did not, however. There was an answer: this answer I shall here give.

{*The date of this is omitted in the Table of Contents, where it would attract attention: it is the only one that is.}

    "London, December 22, 1846.

"Dear Brethren,

"We write to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated December 15; and we beg to say that many of its statements are so entirely untrue, and its perversions regarding the course of action in question so very sad, that, for ourselves, we do not think it would be the path of godly wisdom to read it to the saints at Rawstorne Street. We have also submitted it to the brethren here who are watching and caring for the saints, and they, for the same reasons we have assigned, have counselled us to decline reading it. In addition to your letter a communication has been received from Mr. T. by the same post, in which also we are jointly concerned, and, we may add, that our remarks above, relative to the document received from yourselves, apply in a much stronger degree to his communication. We feel persuaded that if he had been better informed on the facts about which he has written, such statements and allegations as his letter contains could never have been written.

"We remain, dear brethren,

 "Yours in Christian regard,


     "HENRY G-H,

"To Messrs. C-w, Newton, S., B., and D."

154 It may be well to add that the printed correspondence did not arrive in town for a fortnight after the date of this letter, so that there was ample time for its insertion. The real truth was that the conduct of the five above named had produced entire distrust; and hence the briefness of the reply. But the "Correspondence" and "Remonstrance" were. so very bad as to draw forth from Messrs. D-n and G-h a letter, which I have since seen, of a very different character; that is, couched in terms of severity quite unusual with either, and declining, from their estimate of the proceedings of these five, any further correspondence. This, from its date, could not have found a place in the Plymouth publication.* The one just read belonged to it, and hence I have added it here.

{* The brethren D-n and G-h thinking it desirable that all should appear, it is printed at the close of this.}

There are two or three points in the "Reasons" it may be advisable not to leave unnoticed.

To say that silence (p. 4) was the ordinary mode of acting in ordinary cases of unfounded accusation is surely monstrous: I mean, the pretence that they acted on this ground, when there had been repeated meetings of fifteen brethren about matters out of which this arose. Mr. H. had refused ministering; I had left communion; Messrs. H. and N-r had gone and told Mr. N. his account was untrue; ten brethren were there from a distance for investigation; some two hundred or so, though not having formally separated, had ceased going to the Lord's table; and these four (who, if you will believe them, ought to govern the consciences of the congregation without a debate) feel, after a public statement to three hundred impugning Mr. N.'s moral character, that they had nothing to do. The pretension indeed of these four to be in this position is quite sufficient to make any statement after it possible.

Next it is said Mr. Newton had in such things the confidence of the whole body. As to those without, I say nothing: people must ask those without. But this I affirm, he had not in such things the confidence of the whole body. The fact was this: very many took all he said in statement or doctrine;* the majority exercised no conscience at all. But there were intelligent, godly, independent minds, who were long and thoroughly dissatisfied "in such things": and this the signers of these "Reasons" know as well as I do.

{*It was said by a most active sister that, if Mr. N. taught what she could not find in the Bible, she should believe it on this ground - that, he being a teacher raised up of God, she should suppose he had found it, though she had not.