1867 The First Split Occurs. Reconciliation
Charles Martin's home page

  1. 1867.The First Split Occurs.
        1. The Split.
        2. February 7th - The Trouble begins.
        3. April 1st - THE SPLIT OCCURS.
        4. What Happened After The Meeting - The Minutes Continue.
      1. Reconciliation - 22nd December.
        1. 24th November - Report in the "Harbinger".
        2. At School
        3. Another Failed Education Act in Parliament.
      2. 1868 The Band Aid Sticks - But Not For Long.
        1. October 21st - The Melbourne Churches Try to Help.
      3. The Theological Debate -"FAITH - WHAT IS IT?"
        1. On the School Front.

1867.The First Split Occurs.

In the church, trouble really begins to erupt in this year.
    As Charles contemplated the beginning of this year, he did so from the perspective of having completed ten years at the Dana Street School, and five eventful years at Dawson Street Church - years which had seen great progress in the church. A block of land had been purchased, the building of a substantial chapel had taken place, and there had been significant growth so far as the numbers of people coming into the fellowship was concerned. However, tensions have been building up for some time, and quite early in the new year the lid blew off. An eventful and tumultuous decade is about to begin in the life of the church.
    So far as his personal circumstances were concerned, Charles is now 39 and Elizabeth is 30. They have four children the eldest of whom is now 12, with the fifth to be born later in the year. His sister Hannah is also living in Ballarat with her six children, and Elizabeth's sister Mary Davey and five children also live in Ballarat, being members of the church and apparently loyal supporters of Charles. One of Elizabeth's brothers, Edward, is also in the area, living on a farm at Grenville, some 18 miles out. His brother Henry lives in Melbourne and his sister Loiusa in Castlemaine, along with his parents. All in all he has probably lost count of his numerous nephews and nieces.

The Split.

    This split came about (so far as I can read the situation) because of differences of opinion between the "brethren". People of strong opin­ions, who care passionately for their cause, often differ strongly on how things should be done. Charles and Picton obviously didn't agree. A large group left the Dawson Street church and formed their own church, meeting in the Mechanics' Institute, which was quite close to Dawson Street. They each refused to speak to the other, and finally refused to answer correspondence from the other. The split occurred early in the year, and lasted almost until Christmas, when a shaky peace deal was hammered out.

February 7th - The Trouble begins.

    Church meeting held in the Meeting House Dawson Street Feb 7th. Bro. Martin in the chair. Present 25 brethren 13 Sisters. (NOTE - a very large gathering of 38).
    The meeting was convened for the purpose of receiving a statement from Bro. Picton with regard to his son Alfred Lester Picton, with whom there been some trouble. Some felt Picton should resign, but the meeting ,a,: was generally sympathetic. A further meeting was arranged for the following Thursday. After hearing Picton's statement it was -
    Proposed by Bro Neish seconded by Bro Bardwell that this meeting deeply sympathizes with our Pastor Bro Picton in this his deep affliction and express their firm conviction that it is the duty of the brethren to make earnest prayer to our Father in heaven that our brother may be sustained and enabled to perform the duties devolving upon him. Carried.
    As an amendment Bro McGowan proposed and Bro Wright seconded that Bro Picton be requested to resign the office of Pastor. Six for the amendment.
    There being other business to put before the meeting and the lateness of the hour Bro Davey proposed and Bro Elliott seconded that the meeting be adjourned to the next Thursday. Carried.
    The fact that Bro. Picton was asked to resign as pastor by Bro. MacGowan, presumably on the pretext that the trouble with his son disqualified him scripturally from this office, indicates that there was a real division within the group, and that animosities had developed. MacGowan was a chemist in Ballarat and a staunch friend and supporter of Charles.
14th February - Church Meeting held in the Meeting House Dawson St. Bro Divers in the chair. 37 members present. (Again a large number.) There had obviously been some sort of a disagreement between Charles and Picton, and at the meeting, Martin -
"made a statement with regards to certain remarks passed upon him by Bros Smith and Picton and expressed himself willing to let matters rest as they were".
28th February - At a meeting, with 44 members present, a letter was re­ceived from Long resigning his membership. However, after writing his letter -
    "Bro Long changed his mind upon the matter, and subsequently wished to withdraw it. Bro. Martin accused Bro. Long of slander. Bro. Long acknowledged his error and Bro. Martin expressed himself satisfied Bro. Long was then charged with being a heretic. Bro. Martin moved and Bro. Cathcart seconded that he be reproved in accordance with Tutus Ch 3 v 10. There were 16 for the motion and 13 against, but the majority being small, it was not carried out".
    This was in accordance with their custom when a motion passed narrowly. But it looks like Charles has fallen into conflict with Bros Smith and Long, as well as with Bro. Picton, and ill-feeling within the group has grown to considerable proportions.
    A letter from Bro. Wright resigning his office as deacon was then read. It was accepted with regret - 24 to 5.


    At a special meeting called by Picton at which 54 were in attendance, (a very large meeting) he resigned his membership. A division erupted arid two sides were formed - behind PICTON and MARTIN. Picton's group considered that they should split off and meet in the Mechanics' Institute. The majority of the officers were behind Picton, and only two officers were left on the other side - Martin and Barrett.
    The minutes tell the story
    "Special Church Meeting held on 1st April 1867. Bro. Divers in the chair. There were 54 members present. The meeting was called at the instance of Bro. Picton in order that he might tender his resignation as a member of this Church, also to allow him an opportunity of replying to any charges that the Brethren may have to make against him. Bro. Picton addressed the meeting and tendered his resignation as a member of this Church, and said if any Brethren had any charges to make against him, he would like them to be made before accepting his resignation.
    After a good deal of discussion with respect Bro. Picton's not having given any reason for resigning, he still refusing to do so, Bro. Neish proposed and Bro. Porter seconded the following motion, that Bro. Picton's resignation not be accepted. At this time complaints were made that Bro. Divers was partial, he consequently at once vacated the chair.
    Bro. Neish was voted to the chair. An amendment was then moved by Bro. Wright, seconded by Bro. Davey that the motion should refer only to his position as a member and not as a pastor The original motion was then withdrawn and the amendment being put to the meeting was carried unanimously. (NOTE - So it looks like Bro Picton was no longer a member, but was free to be pastor.)
    Bro. Bardwell moved and Bro. Long seconded that all those who wish to co-operate with Bro. Picton do meet here tomorrow evening at half past seven.
    A protest was made by Bro. Cadogan and others against this motion on the ground that it was schismatical. There was a good deal of discussion ensued upon the matter, but the motion was not put to the meeting. When the meeting appeared to be coming to an abrupt termination, when Bro. Divers proposed, Seconded Bro. that this meeting do adjourn to this night week. Carried.

What Happened After The Meeting - The Minutes Continue.

"After the meeting of April 1st Bro. Picton and a number of other Brethren arranged to hold a meeting at the Mechanics' Institute on April 3rd, to take into consideration the propriety of their withdrawing from us as a Church, and of forming another Church among themselves. Brethren Martin and Barrett, the only remaining officers, believing that such a step would be exceedingly injudicious under existing circumstances, and also acting upon the advice of several Brethren, resolved to retire from their respective offices, if their doing so would in any way tend to prevent a division of the Church at the present time; They therefore addressed a letter to the Chairman of that meeting of April 3rd, of which the following is a copy -
Ballarat, 3rd April, 1867.
To the Chairman of the Meeting of the Disciples of Christ,
Mechanics Institute.

Dear Brethren,
    Referring to the abrupt termination of the meeting on Monday evening, we remind you that dividing the church in this town ought to be by no means entertained, and that if by our resignation as pastor and deacon in this church a division could be prevented, we are quite prepared to do so, on the consideration that Bro Picton also resign, and that the morning meetings be conducted by the deacons for the time being, such arrangement to continue until a more definite one can be agreed upon. As to all past unpleasantness we are prepared to let bygones be bygones, or to meet any charge that you may have against us. We are prompted to this from the consideration of the injury which must necessarily ensue if a division occurs under present circumstances.
    We are dear brethren, Charles Martin, B. J. Barrett.
    In other words, Martin and Barrett offered to resign, but the offer was conditional.
    The response to the conditional offer was a conditional acceptance, listing five conditions, which they said the Dawson St group must accept - as follows - "
Ballarat, 4th April. 1867
To Brethren Martin, Wright and those with them, Dear Brothers and Sisters,
    At a meeting of the Church held on Wednesday night last a letter was received from Brethren Martin and Barrett wherein they state that in order to prevent a division in the Church they are willing to resign their respective offices and propose that the Deacons preside, and that bygones be bygones.
    On the letter being read the following resolutions were moved and carried without one dissentient voice, that Brethren Martin, Wright and those with them be notified that the Church will renew fellowship with them on the following conditions -
1st - That all the officers resign.
2nd - That a Presbytery be appointed.
3rd - That Bro Picton be President.
4th - That bygones be bygones
5th - That in the public addresses no insinuations be made against, or any allusion or reference to an particular member or members, nor to any unpleasantness that has occurred.
    An early reply to the above will oblige.
    Yours in the hope of the Gospel,
However, these conditions were unacceptable to the Dawson St group, and the rift continued. The minutes again tell the story -
    "The adjourned special church meeting held on April 8th, 1867. There were 22 members present - Bro. Martin in the chair.
    Bro Picton not being present the business for which the meeting was called could not be proceeded with. The letter in reply to Bro Mar­tin and Bro Barrett was laid before the meeting.
Some discussion then ensued as to whether it would be best to correspond any more with them, or to suggest the appointment of a committee from both parties to confer together upon the matter. It was resolved to adopt the former course. It was unanimously resolved that the following letter be sent to them -
Doveton St,
Ballarat, April 9th, 1867.
Dear Brother,
    At a meeting of the Church of Christ held last evening, in the Meeting House, Dawson Street, your letter and resolutions were carefully considered and I have to inform you that the members regret that they cannot accede to the whole of your proposals, for the following reasons. -
1st - They do not see what good can arise from all the officers resigning and consider that it would be injudicious under exist­ing circumstances to elect fresh ones.
2nd - They do not know what is understood by a Presbytery.
3rd - They do not find a President mentioned in the New Test­ament and
4th - That your fifth proposition is quite unnecessary being included in the fourth, but that they are quite willing to abide by the letter from myself and Bro Barrett of date 3rd inst that the deacons Reid, Neish and Bardwell preside alternatively, and they only.
        An early reply will oblige,
        Yours in the truth,
                Charles Martin.
April 17th. Charles and his group met again on April 17th. The main two items of business were the appointment of two more deacons (Bros Wright and Davey were elected), and to consider the reply which they had received to their last letter. The reply was as follows -
"Mechanics Institute, April 10th
Dear Brother,
    Your letter of date 9th inst. was read to the church meeting tonight, when the following resolution was unanimously agreed to - namely - That the letter just received from Bro Martin be answered, intimating that the Church decline further correspondence on the subject, except it be in compliance with their former letter, dated 4th April, and that unless the condit­ions of said letter be complied with before Friday next at 6 o'clock P.M. the Church will commence to worship in the Mechanics' Institute on Sabbath first. Should you comply with the conditions, be kind enough to address to Bro Bardwell.
                    Yours in the Gospel of Christ,
    In other words, don't bother to write to us again as we won't answer, un­less of course you comply with our demands. So the stand-off was com­plete.
    The minutes further record that -
    "Bro Martin also read a very long letter containing a full statement of the circumstances which have led to a Division of the church and suggested that it be sent to the meeting delegates to be held in Melbourne on Easter Monday".
    In other words, the matter was to be brought to the attention of the state conference in Melbourne, to see if a resolution of the dispute could be achieved. As a result of this, the Lygon Street Church offered to mediate. Their offer was considered at a meeting on May 1st. The minutes record -
1st May - "A letter from the Church at Lygon Street Melbourne was read, advising us to submit the matter of Division, which has taken place in our midst, to Arbitration and wishing to know if we would be willing to do so. Bro Divers moved and Bro Barrett seconded that we do agree to Arbitration and that Bro Martin write to the Church at Lygon St to that effect".
Also in the minutes is a letter from Bro Picton -
"A letter from Bro. Picton was read asking if we were willing to appoint four brethren to meet and confer with four of them and see if an arrangement could be made to have an interchange of speakers". Bro. Divers moved and Bro. Wright seconded that we cannot at present entertain the suggestion, having already agreed to adopt the suggestion of the Melbourne Church".
    So it appears that the Breakaway group put out a feeler for a discussion, and also, for some reason, wanted an exchange of speakers. But this was rejected, and instead the offer of arbitration by the Melbourne Church was given priority.
    However, nothing seems to have happened, and the next reference in the minutes to this issue does not occur until another three months have elapsed, when at a meeting on August 7th, the following is recorded -
"Bro Wright moved the following resolution respecting those brethren and sisters who have for sometime past been meeting at the Mechanics' Institute - namely - "That this Church having duly and prayerfully considered for a long time the lamentable schism which has lately taken from our midst many highly esteemed brethren in opposition to the will of their Lord, and that after everything on our part had been done, consistent with truth, to prevent it, which they, the refractory ones, have persistently rejected interposing instead as their only grounds of reunion unscriptural conditions and having also refused to submit their case to arbitration of disinterested brethren, we now feel it our painful yet bounden duty to deal with them as schismatics and erase their names from the church books until they are willing to return, acknowledging their error and yielding themselves to the will of the Lord".
Bro Wright also moved another resolution as follows;
"That because of the extraordinary nature of this case and so many among the now separated ones having our warmest sympathies we do not take the usual course. of acquainting them with our decision feeling assured it would only fire anew their indignation and widen the breach now existing contrary to our wishes, and this more espec­ially because they have on their part paved the way for this our action in emphatically declining any further correspondence in the matter except on impossible because unscriptural conditions. "
    (In other words, "Let's kick them out, but don't tell them. It'll fire them up.")
    An amendment was moved by Bro Divers and seconded by Bro Schrieve - "That information be sent to these Brethren of our action in this matter".
    (In other words, "Let's kick them out and tell them
so.") The motion was carried by a majority of one. (So they decided, "Let's kick them out but don't tell them")'
.At the same meeting, Bro Martin -
    "suggested the desirability of a document being drawn up for himself to sign, specifying for what purpose and under what conditions he holds the Church property in his possession. Also to specify when and to whom he shall give up his trust
    Bro. Barrett moved and Bro. Evans seconded - "That a committee consisting of Brethren Divers, Wright and MacGowan be requested to draw up such a document."
    As the church was still in Charles' name, he therefore suggested that a document be drawn up, which he would sign, which effectively took away the sole trusteeship from him. So four others were elected trustees, but from what I can see of the documents this didn't happen until sometime in the 1890's.

24th August
- Francis William born. In the midst of all this, Fran­cis William (6th child - 5 surviving) is born on 24th August.

Reconciliation - 22nd December.

    As the intervention of Lygon St had failed to achieve a reconciliation, the church at Mt Clear stepped in to see if they could succeed where others had failed. They arranged a private meeting between Martin and Picton, and it was suggested to them that they "allow no obstacle of a personal nature to prevent a reconciliation from taking place". This meeting be­tween the two men was followed by meetings between the representatives of both groups, and then of "the whole of each party" on December 12th. The meeting was chaired by a Melbourne representative, G.L.Surber, an American evangelist. The two groups hammered out a peace agreement with compromise on either side, and decided to worship together at Dawson St. on Dec 22nd, and continue to have evangelistic services at the Mechanics' Institute. However, a large segment of the breakaway group was still unhappy, but they were eventually placated when Dawson St agreed to an additional change in the conditions of reconciliation. By the end of the year, a fragile reconciliation of sorts had been hammered out. The minutes again record the details -
    "Reunion: Brethren Anderson and Kogleman of Mt Clear Church, having learned that Bro Picton was willing to retire from office and to become a private member, intimated the same to Bro Martin and requested him to have an interview with Bro Picton and also at their request agreed to allow no obstacle of a personal nature to prevent a reunion from taking place amongst us.
    After meetings having been held first of representatives only of the two parties, and then of the whole of each Party to consider certain propositions submitted to each other, we finally agreed on both sides to the following resolutions - namely -
That Brethren Picton and Martin resign and become private members.
That the preaching brethren have equal rights to immerse.
That Bro Picton be allowed to retain his Marriage License.
That whatever arrangements may be arrived at on the above or other questions that may in this matter be raised, shall not be altered un­less by a majority of three quarters.
On December 12th at 1/2 past 7 o'clock the Brethren from the Mechanics' met with us at our invitation. Bro Surber having come up from Melbourne to do what he could in the matter, was voted to the chair. After it was announced that the propositions had all been agreed to, Bro Barrett moved and Bro Jenkins seconded that we all shall meet here on Lord's Day 22nd December.
December 18th. After the meeting had been opened by Hymn and Prayer, Bro Martin enquired if there had been any other meeting of the Brethren since the meeting of Thursday last, if so who had convened that meeting.
    Bro Cathcart said in reply that they had found since Thursday last that a large number of the Brethren at the Mechanics were very dissatisfied with the arrangements which have been made, and consequently they would not come back, if they should be carried out. Bro Picton and Bro Reid also spoke to the same effect and said that most of those who had agreed to those arrangements would now withdraw from them on this account. Bro Cathcart said that finding this to be the case he had recommended that a meeting of the Brethren should be called at the Mechanics' to consider the matter afresh, which was held on the 17th inst. At that meeting a resolution was passed as follows - "That if the Brethren at Dawson St will remove the three fourths condition all present will unite with them and do all we can to make the union real". After discussing the matter for some time Bro Martin moved and Bro Neish seconded a motion as follows - "That the Treaty made respecting a reunion having been agreed to after Legitimate and careful discussion of each subject by both parties, be maintained in its integrity." This was carried, with two only against it.
(NOTE - It appears to me that what has happened is that many in the Mechanics group were unhappy about the three fourths resolution, and had decid­ed to withdraw from the reunion process if it was to be retained. The motion put by Charles, to keep the resolutions in their "integrity" in effect is retaining the three fourths resolution, and thus scuttling the peace process. It was passed almost unanimously). However, the matter wasn't laid to rest - yet. The minutes continue -
    "Brother Davey suggested that we had better consider whether something more could not be done to obtain a reunion. After a good deal of discussion, Bro Morris moved and Bro McGowan seconded a motion as follows - That we are willing to give up the matter of majority of three fourths and that we will heartily and willingly receive any or all who declare that they are willing to abide by New Testament principles and no other, and that they have no intention of altering any of the present arrangements. Bro Picton also to sign an agreement in accordance with his promise that he will not accept any office for the next 12 months." (Carried).
SO - A FRAGILE RECONCILIATION WAS ACHIEVED. After passing a motion moved by Charles that they maintain all the conditions (including the matter of the three fourths majority) another motion was moved and passed that they delete the three-quarters ruling (I'm not sure how they manage all this sleight of hand stuff.) So as the year concluded the split that had rent them asunder nine months ago was patched up. But for how long?
    So far as numbers are concerned, the membership had increased to 115, with 25 additions by baptism during the year (all this in spite of the internal dissension and strife). There were 85 scholars enrolled in the Sunday School, with 14 teachers. Dawson Street is now the second biggest church in Victoria, behind Lygon Street Carlton, which had increased its membership to 523, and when it is considered that the church was only formed 6 years earlier, this growth is quite amazing and is a testimony to evangelical enthusiasm and commitment of the members.

24th November - Report in the "Harbinger".

    On the 24th November, a report of the activities of the church appeared in the, "Harbinger". As it was submitted by W. H. Bardwell, who was a member of the Mechanic's group, it probably reflects progress there -
"It is with a joyful heart I inform you of the success of the gospel in this place. I have just returned from witnessing the burial of seven sincere believing penitents into the ever blessed names of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the interest being much enhanced by four being the first fruits from the Sabbath School - making sixteen within the last few weeks, Others have decided for Christ and more are inquiring the way, there being a deep interest awakened. One case is particularly interesting, that of a lad eleven years of age, who having been trained, by a faithful mother, in the way of the Lord, became deeply impressed with the truth, and manifested such a deep anxiety for his father's eternal welfare, that he has been the instrument, in the hand of the Lord, of his conversion, and the three were together buried with the Lord in baptism. O ye Christian mothers, consider this! Consider the responsibility which rests upon you! Be faithful to the trust which has been submitted to you! "Train up your little ones in the way they should go," and be assured that you will reap your reward in beholding them enter the fold of Christ. Hoping that the Kingdom of Christ may continue to win its way here, and in all parts of the earth." W.H. Bardwell.

At School

    Average attendance was 117 for the first half year and 131 for the second (boys three times more than girls), so Charles would have received his full "augmentation" for attendance. School was held for 222 days.
    Also, I noted a comment by a District Inspector, that from now on there to be "surprise visits" by D.I.'s to try to catch teachers who were not being "industrious" at all times.
    A list of average salaries for this year published in the Victorian History of the State Schools System, notes that a Gold Fields Head Teacher received £220. I assume that this means with the augmentations included, although another list states that when the payment by results system was introduced a Gold Fields Head Teacher could receive a salary boost from £170 to £380. An assistant teacher was receiving £100.
this year Charles received a communication from the Education Department, asking him to explain why the school had 34 days holidays during 1866. As the fault lay with the Department's requisition of the building for a fortnight, it caused him some annoyance, especially as he lost the school fees for this time. He wrote as follows -
    I have to acknowledge, through you, the receipt of a memorandum from the Secretary to the Board of Education inquiring why 34 days holidays were given during 1866. I have to inform you that on referring to the School records, I find that the following were given -
January -            4
March -              1
April -                           5
May -              2
August -              1
October -             1
November -          2
December -        7
    The school room was used by the Board for two weeks in addition to the above.
    Will you oblige by bringing under the notice of the Secretary the injury done to this school by compulsorily closing it for so long a period. An examination was held here last week, I commenced this, but was obliged to dismiss the children on Wednesday in consequence of the room being again required, and inform them that this week's school fees would be placed to the credit of next. Will you, therefore, ask the Board to make me some compensation for this loss. The inconvenience could be easily avoided, by adopting the plan of the late National Board of holding the examinations during the vacation or on Saturdays.
And the secretary of the School Committee also wrote a covering letter
    I have the honor to forward the enclosed explanation of Mr Martin, the Schoolmaster of the above School. It appears that the excess of Holidays was caused by the Schoolroom being occupied by the Commissioners.
    I consider his explanation very satisfactory and I trust that his applic­ation for loss of Fees will received the favourable consideration of the Board.
As to what happened - well your guess is as good as mine.

Another Failed Education Act in Parliament.

    Once again there was an attempt in parliament to enact legislation which would have made education "compulsory, free and secular". However, it failed because of strong opposition. I imagine that this would have been only of passing interest to Charles.

9th February -To Henry and Eleanor (in Melb) - a daughter - Lydia (5th surviving child).
Edwin Clay Davey (son of Mary and William) died about the 12th May aged about 12 months, and was buried on the 14th in the grave purchased by Charles for his daughter Miriam in 1861.
To Louisa and James Crump at The Loddon - a daughter, Amy Beatrice (8th child - 7 surviving)

1868 The Band Aid Sticks - But Not For Long.

    The church by now had a membership of 128 and was the second largest congregation in Victoria. An excellent effort seeing that they had no paid evangelist (and that at the present time they were fighting tooth and nail amongst themselves).
    The Church of Christ magazine the "Australian Christian Pioneer" commenced during this year. The editors were Gorr, Earl, and Surber. Charles was very soon to fall into verbal conflict with them in its pages.

March 18th - The minutes for the first three months of 1868 reveal no signs of tension, until March 18th when -
"Bro Jenkins gave notice of motion as follows, that he would move this night fortnight - 'That this church deeply regrets that Bro Picton should have applied for exemption from municipal rates because of his being a minister of the Gospel, for they hold it to be in contravention of the principles held by the Disciples of Christ and they sincerely hope and trust that Bro Picton will withdraw the said application.'
April 1st - For some reason the notice of motion regarding Picton was not proceeded with at this meeting, but Charles was once again in trouble -
"Some complaints were made by Bro Picton and some other brethren respecting Bro. Martin's addresses; "Bro J. Evans moved and Bro Elliott seconded - That Bro Martin be stopped from preaching on Lord's Day mornings.
An amendment was moved by Bro Divers and seconded by Bro Cathcart - That Bro. Martin be requested to avoid as much as possible speaking so as to offend, and that those who hear do not construe what they hear. (Whatever that means.) The amendment was carried.
April 8th - Bro Jenkins notice of motion regarding Picton was dealt with -
"Bro Jenkins rose to propose his motion of which he had given notice, when Bro Reed moved and Bro Long seconded that the motion of Bro Jenkins be not entertained. Carried.
Bro Jenkins moved an amendment - "That the discussion be proceeded with. Seconded by Bro Martin. " Lost.
    (NOTE - As the supporters of Picton had had a fortnight to work out some response to this notice of motion against him, they had decided to quickly block it by moving that it be not "entertained". They had the numbers and were successful. Jenkins and Charles then unsuccessfully endeavoured to have it revived, but obviously the numbers were against them and in favour of Picton. It appears to me that they have no real rules for the running of business meetings, or that they just change them as occasion demands to suit themselves. An amendment, such as Jenkins proposed, should be disallowed if it is a direct opposite to a motion, which it was on this occasionThis seems to happen frequently. In other instances I have noticed that where they had a previous motion on their books which precluded them from accepting another motion before them, they simply rescinded the previous motion to clear the way to deal with the matter at hand. All very simple and expedient.)
    Also at this meeting Bro and Sister Murphy were in trouble. Earlier in the year two of the officers had been sent to visit Sister Murphy to enquire about some slanderous remarks which she was reported to have made. When they came to her house, she wasn't home, but Bro Murphy said that it wasn't much use talking to her as it wouldn't do any good, so her name was erased from the books. The question of Bro Murphy was then discussed, and it was decided to attempt to get him to come back to church. So two officers were deputised to visit him. The minutes record -
"Bro Hutchinson reported that he and Bro Cathcart had waited upon Bro Murphy as appointed and that they had also enquired of him respecting a report they had heard of his being intoxicated, he denied the charge yet at the same time he partly admitted it. He wished to know whether he would have to be rebuked before all, if so he was not willing to submit to it. Bro Martin proposed and Bro Quilliam seconded that Bro Murphy be informed that he must be rebuked by two Brethren to be appointed for that purpose, before we can receive him back into our fellowship."
April 22nd - Bro Martin again under fire from Bro Picton -
    "Bro Picton said he wished to bring forward a matter of importance in reference to Bro Martin's addresses on Lord's day mornings; he thought they were calculated to do harm to the Church instead of good. He would therefore move a resolution as follows - "That this Church hereby requests Bro Martin to abstain from speaking on Lord's Day mornings inasmuch as his addresses do not build up but are calculated to scatter the church." Bro Elliott seconded it.
    Bro Martin wished Bro Picton to point out more particularly what it was of which he had to complain. Bro Picton said he should decline to enter into particulars but would leave the matter as it is with the Church.
    After some discussion Bro Jenkins moved an amendment as follows - "That Bro Martin's attention be directed to the resolution proposed by Bro Divers and seconded by Bro Cathcart and should he not respect the same the deacons be requested in the name of the Church to request the Bro to abstain from addressing the church on Lord's day mornings." Carried
    This is now the second time that Charles has been rebuked for preaching in a way that gives offense. Obviously he is "having a shot" at his opponents from the pulpit. I guess there was some substance to the accusations against him, but his friends were numerous enough to keep him on the preaching roster. Apparently he preached regularly at this stage of the church's history.

June 28th - The evening gospel service resumed at Dawson St instead of the Mechanics' Institute. Picton was given the OK to preach for 3 months.

Guilty of "Gross Immorality"
    There is also throughout the minutes a number of examples of church mem­bers who were visited for some reason of discipline - e.g. continued absence from the Ordinances of the Lord's House without a good reason. If the recalcitrant one was a female, Elizabeth and another lady were given the task of carrying out the visit. As a result of the report brought back by the visitors, the members name may be removed from the church book. One case which was slightly different from the usual was that of Bro. Bernstein who had been "guilty of very gross immorality ". The chairman remarked that "as the circumstances of the case were already well known to many of the brethren it was unnecessary to enter into the particulars (bad luck for us - we'd love to know them) but if anyone wished to ask any question upon the matter they might do so. Proposed by Bro Jenkins and seconded by Bro Cathcart that his name be removed from the Church book.
    Also throughout this time, there are frequent references to new members being baptised, so the church is still continuing to grow quite strongly - even allowing for those who are leaving via the back door.

September 1st. An article appeared in the September issue of the new Churches of Christ magazine, the "Christian Pioneer" entitled, "Faith - What Is It?" written by Surber, one of the editors. Charles spotted it and disagreed with it, and obviously spent much of his spare time in September/October penning a reply. The first "installment' of his reply was to appear in the November issue of this magazine, and the second in December. How he managed to attend to this task, while engaging in all the strife that was to take place within the church in the next three months (as well as continue his difficult teaching job) is anybody's guess. The correspondence on this subject was to go on for 14 months, finally concluding in November 1869.

September 16th - Picton's three months for preaching at the evening service were up, and many were unhappy to give him another three months. There was much moving of motions and amendments and counter motions, and a group at one stage got up and walked out of the meeting, apparently in protest when they thought that Picton had been given the go ahead to preach for the next three months (or maybe it was the group in support of Picton who walked out, thinking that McGowan's amendment was carried) -
"The arrangements for the preaching services were then taken into consideration.
Bro Quilliam moved and Bro Cassidy seconded that Bro Picton preach here for the next three months
An amendment was moved by Bro Barrett and seconded by Bro MacGowan that the preachers who have hitherto been employed preach alternatively. 15 for; 24 against. Lost.
Before the motion could be put to the meeting a number of the Breth­ren left the meeting and as it was thought they had done so under the impression that the motion was carried, Bro Cassidy moved "That this meeting be adjourned to this day week.
23rd September. - 61 in attendance - again a very large meeting.
The motion by Bro Quilliam was first considered - namely "That Bro. Picton preach in the Chapel alone during the next three months. :34 for, 21 Against. Carried.
(Bro. Martin moved as an amendment - "That Bro Picton preach in the Chapel every alternate Lord's Day. This was seconded by Bro MacGowan . 25 for, 31 against. Lost.
(NOTE - How it is possible to. move an amendment to a motion that has just been passed is quite beyond me - but it didn't seem to bother them.)
    Bro. Martin stated that he had a matter to bring forward, to enter upon it he should do so at our next meeting.
    Bro Reid gave notice of motion for next Wednesday - "That the church take into consideration the conduct of Brethren Martin and MacGowan towards Bro Picton, as he had reason to believe that they had malice in their hearts towards him. Bro. Reid also moved that this meeting adjourn to this day week. Bro Long seconded, but before this could be put to the meeting it abruptly terminated.
(Apparently tempers were getting too inflamed.)

October 7th - 52 members present.

    The meeting commenced with Picton enquiring if some of the members had tendered their resignation at the conclusion of the previous meeting which had abruptly terminated without being closed. It was stated that they had, but that their names had not been taken down. Bro Picton then insisted that those of them who were now present should be requested to state what they intended do in the matter, whereupon those concerned stated that they would withdraw their resignations. The meeting then proceeded.
    "Bro Reid stated that the matter between himself and Bro Martin had been referred to Bren Kogleman, Cathcart and Barrett to consider and report upon. Brother Kogleman then read their report which is as follows -
    "Our Bro Reid having stated that Bro Martin while a member of the Baptist Church meeting in Yuille Street, absented himself from the Lord's table and only attended at certain times in order to retain his membership, which our Bro Martin denied. We were called upon to decide upon the facts, and having carefully considered the matter referred to us for our decision we find by the evidence placed before us, that our Bro Reid stated what was not in accordance with the facts - but at the same time we are unanimously of the opinion that our Bro Reid believed it to be a fact when he stated it. We therefore considered that the statement made by Bro Reid should be withdrawn, which he has done so in our presence and to the satisfaction of all parties concerned.
    Bro Reid brought forward the motion of which he had given notice, but would take the case of Bro Martin first - "That considering our present circumstances our Bro Martin should be publicly admonished for his disorderly conduct during the last two meetings".
    After some discussion Bro Cathcart moved as an amendment - "That a committee consisting of Brethren Neish, Porter, MacGowan, Cassidy, Martin, Picton, Kogleman, McMaster and the Deacons be appointed to take into consideration the present deplorable state of affairs in the Church and the best means to be adopted for its future prosperity and well-being.
    Bro MacGowan stated that as his character had been aspersed, he should claim the right to speak in his own defence before Bro Cathcart's amendment was put to the meeting.
    It being time to close the meeting Bro Divers moved that the meeting adjourn to this day week.”
October 14th - Bro Martin Again On The Carpet.
    At this meeting, Bro. Cathcart withdrew his notice of motion regarding a committee to investigate ways to fix the deplorable state of affairs in the church. It was then decided that no brother be allowed to speak for longer than 15 minutes on any matter, and that he shall have only one opportunity to speak, the exceptions being the mover of a motion who shall be allowed to speak a second time before his motion is put, and Bro Martin and MacGowan who will be allowed reasonable time to defend themselves against any charges which might be brought against them regarding their conduct.
    "The motion moved by Bro Reid at the previous meeting that our Bro Martin should be publicly admonished for his disorderly conduct during the last two meetings was again discussed and upon being put to the meeting was carried,
    Bro Davey suggested that as on a former occasion when a motion of this kind had been carried by a small majority it was not carried out, we might do so in this case.
    Bro Reid then moved and Bro Long seconded that the Chairman now proceed to admonish our Bro Martin.   
    Bro Jenkins stated that there was a minute on the book "that all matters of importance brought before the Church for decision be carried by a majority of two thirds of those present before being acted upon."
    Bro Quilliam moved and Bro Picton seconded that the majority shall rule and that the minute referred to be rescinded. Carried.
    The motion by Bro Reid was then put to the meeting and was carried.
    The chairman then said he would first ask Bro Martin if he was prepared to acknowledge his fault, because if not the admonition would be perfectly useless. He then asked Bro Martin the question, to which Bro Martin replied that he was not, for he did not know what was the charge against him.
    Bro Reid then moved that the Church withdraw from Bro Martin until such time as he shall acknowledge his fault.
    When this motion was being discussed it was found that the time had expired; the meeting was therefore adjourned to this day week".

October 21st - The Melbourne Churches Try to Help.

    News of the uproar reached Melbourne (no doubt they were notified of all that was happening), and for the meeting of 21st October it was arranged for two representatives to be present to help in the proceedings. One of these representatives was Surber, the editor of the "Pioneer" with whom Charles was taking issue at this very time through the pages of the magazine. The other was McGregor, a leading layman. The purpose of the meeting was to "nail Bro Martin to the wall". The minutes again tell the story of this meeting -
    "There were 33 brethren and 27 sisters present. Brother Kugleman presided, Bro Surber and McGregor from Melbourne being present. This being an adjourned meeting the motion of Bro Reid was proceeded with, which is as follows -
    'That the church withdraw from our Bro Martin until such time as he shall acknowledge his fault.'
    Bro Cathcart stated that after thinking a good deal over the present state of affairs in the Church he had come to the conclusion that it would be for the best to open another Church in another part of the town; he would therefore move as an amendment "That this Church as a body desires to establish another Church in this town ". The amendment was lost.
    Another amendment was moved by Bro Jenkins and seconded by Bro Evans - "That Brethren Reid and Smith be requested to withdraw the motion ". Lost.
    Bro Jenkins again moved seconded Bro Neish "That a committee be formed to investigate the charge against Bro Martin. " Lost.
    After some discussion during which Brethren Surber and Kugleman again recommended a committee Bro Kugleman proposed and Bro Jenkins seconded "That a committee be formed as follows - Three to be chosen by the Church and three by Brethren Martin and MacGowan, and those six to choose an umpire. This committee to investigate the charges against Bro Martin and MacGowan. " Carried.
    Bro Reid moved and Bro Jenkins seconded that Brethren Surber, McGregor and Kugleman be appointed for the Church". Carried.
    Brethren Martin and MacGowan chose Brethren Neish, Hutchinson and Barrett. It was decided to meet on the following day at 1/2 past 4 o'clock, and to report the result of the enquiry on Friday evening, Bro Surber also promising to give a short address that even­ing before giving the report.
October 22nd - The committee met in the chapel at 1/2 past 4. Bro Picton objected to the brethren whom Brethren Martin and MacGowan had chosen being on the committee. After some discussion Brethren Martin and MacGowan agreed, rather than have any longer delay, to allow the matter to be investigated by the three brethren whom the Church had appointed, and to abide by their decision, Bro Picton also
agreeing to the same.,,
October 23rd - After a short discourse by Bro Surber, Bro Kugleman stated that the Committee were unanimously agreed that the charge against Bro Martin and the charge against Bro MacGowan were not sustained.
    So Charles and his good friend MacGowan won that particular battle. It went on for such a long time that I'm not sure any more what the actual charges were. I think it was that they had malice in their hearts towards Bro. Picton, as Charles had earlier been cleared of the charge that "while meeting at the Yuille Street Baptist Church he absented himself from morning worship" Charles also seemed to escape from being "publicly admonished for his disorderly conduct during two of the meetings'.
    However, the disagreements continued. Trouble had arisen because of a wedding ceremony which Picton had performed, and when the husband and wife split up soon after and court proceedings were commenced, Picton was implicated because his right to conduct weddings was brought into question. On Saturday, December 5th a letter appeared in the "Star" newspaper, written by someone who called himself "Elijah", questioning Mr Picton's "qualifications" to conduct weddings. On Monday, a further letter was written by MacGowan, stating that Mr Picton obtained his license to marry not because of a request from the church members, but by another means, and as he had now seceded from the church as pastor, then he should have "handed in" his license. Another two letters followed. All this made Picton quite angry and he called a special church meeting for December 16th to sort the matter out.

Special church meeting December 16th, 1868 - There were 20 brethren and 14 sisters present.
The meeting having been called at the request of Bro Picton, in order that he might lay a matter of complaint against Bro MacGowan, namely;
        1st - For having publicly slandered him.
        2nd - For having sought to bring him into public disgrace and odium.
    Before proceeding with the business of the meeting, the chairman stated that he thought it would be best to allow only Bro Picton and Bro MacGowan to speak upon the matter before us.
    Bro MacGowan asked to be allowed to say a few words before the matter was proceeded with, which was granted, when he stated, "That he denied that he had any intention whatever to mislead or misrepresent anything or in any way to injure or offend Bro Picton, but that if in what he had done Bro Picton felt himself injured or aggrieved he was very sorry that he had no desire whatever to do so.
    Bro Picton stated in reply that he could not accept Bro MacGowan's apology and he must therefore proceed, which he did accordingly taking up one point only, namely - "That Bro MacGowan had sought to bring him into public disgrace and odium".
    Bro MacGowan replied, after which Bro J.E. Morris moved, "That Bro Picton be requested to accept of the explanation offered by Bro MacGowan. " This was seconded by Bro Davey. There being 14 for and 26 against the motion was lost.
    Bro. Thomsom moved and Bro. Cassidy seconded "That a deputation consisting of Brethren Picton, Long and Thomson be appointed to wait upon the Editor of the Star Newspaper to ascertain who is the author of the letter signed Elijah" . Carried.
As the hour was getting late, the meeting was then adjourned until December 18th. At the adjourned meeting -
    "Bro Picton took exception to a remark made by Bro Barrett and complained that his conduct as an officer was very improper, and moved "That he be requested to resign". Bro Long seconded it. An amendment was moved by Bro Davey and seconded by Bro MacGowan "That Bro Barrett be requested to continue in office and that thanks are due to him for the manner he has discharged of his duties as an officer of this church." The amendment was carried.
    Bro Picton then proceeded with the business of the meeting by charging Bro MacGowan with slandering him, by making three statements concerning him which were not true -
    1st - that he lost the office of pastor and
    2nd - That he seceded from the body in consequence of losing office
    3rd - That he seceded from the body at all.
    After Bro Picton had occupied a considerable time in opening the case, Bro Martin rose and said that instead of Bro MacGowan making any further reply he would move a motion as follows
    "That Bro McGowan's last letter in the "Star" newspaper is sufficient proof that he had no intention to mislead the public, and although it would have been wiser not to have referred to the late schism in the public prints we think that he has made ample apology for that, and ought to be forgiven and welcomed as a brother. "
    His motion was narrowly passed by a majority of 17 to 15. Afterwards, however, "Bro Elliott broke out into a violent fit of passion and denounced us as a lot of hypocrites".
    At the end of the meeting, Bro Barrett admitted that the remark which he had made and which was objected to by Bro Picton was wrong. Tensions were again bursting through (and how).

The Theological Debate -"FAITH - WHAT IS IT?"

    As mentioned above, throughout all this turmoil in the church, and these long a bitter meetings, Charles found time to write a couple of lengthy articles which were printed in the "Australian Christian Pioneer". He wrote in response to an article which appeared in the September issue. This was the first issue of this magazine. It was the forerunner to "The Australian Christian" the magazine of the Churches of Christ today.
September 1st - The first copy of "The Australian Christian Pioneer" appears and it contains the article by Surber, one of the editors, entitled, "Faith - What Is It?" Charles disagreed with the main point of this article, and wrote in response to it. I have photocopied and followed carefully all the articles on this topic. I tried to be impartial and objective in my reading, and not to "barrack" for my ancestor, but it seems to me that he wrote clearly and forcefully and argued logically in presenting his view. He used some gentle sarcasm at times, without getting belligerent or objectionable or insulting. In fact, on one occasion his opponent even recognised this by commenting - "We must say we admire the spirit of M's articles, and we trust that all our articles will possess the same noble bearing. All should speak the truth in love."
    So far as this first article by Surber is concerned, I read it carefully, and my impression was that it wasn't well written, nor did he present a well argued case. He didn't have a good writing style and doesn't explain his thoughts and theories at all clearly. His arguments are very circuitous and abstract. In essence he is saying that there are two elements to faith - conviction and confidence.
                        Text of Article          Image        

November 1st - Martin replies, and I am happy to see that my illustrious ancestor couldn't understand Surber's article too well either - "We must, at the outset, own that we are not satisfied with the article .... but on the contrary there appears to be a haze hanging over the article which we would like to see dispelled". His basic thesis is that faith is simple, that it has only one element, that it is the same as "Belief", and that there is no difference of kind in any faith, but only in the object of that faith. In proof of his arguments, he refers to the original Greek, and mentions in passing that our English words (faith and belief) are only different because one comes from Latin and the other from Saxon. Charles concludes his article by stating that "we have a further word for next month".
                     Text of Article          Image

Further word
                Text of Article          Page Image     

And another further word
                Text of Article          Page Image      
October 21st - Surber comes to Ballarat as one of the Melbourne representatives to try to sort out the mess at Ballarat - as detailed above. I guess he and Charles discussed their differences of theological opinion about which they were currently writing (or maybe they never had time). Whatever differences of opinion they may have had on matters of faith it didn't stop Surber coming down on Charles' side and clearing him of the charges against him.
November - A query by someone calling himself "Kappa" in the pages of the "Pioneer". He takes issue with "S" Surber), and asks him if there is a difference between faith and belief. "S' replies and says that "the words "faith" and "belief" are synonymous - a point which he hadn't made in his first article. Then he reverts to his confidence/conviction argument - the devils believe and tremble - i.e. they have conviction but not confidence.
December - Charles has his "further word" in the December issue of the ''Pioneer", in which he continues to query Surber's definition of "faith".
December 16 - The dramas at Dawson St continue with McGowan's letter to the newspaper and Picton's charges against him.

NOTE - In trying to evaluate all this a century later, and having only the written evidence of the minutes, it is difficult to see who was more at fault in this matter. Obviously there were faults on both sides, as is always the case in these bitter disputes when each side becomes entrenched in its own position. However, the fact that an independent committee came down on Charles' side would indicate that probably he and his followers were more in the right than were his opponents. And when we add to this the fact that Charles was at this very time crossing theological swords through the pages of the "Pioneer" with one member of the committee, it makes the fact of his "acquittal" all the more noteworthy. Also, to bring into the debate a point such as that "Bro Martin, while a member of the Baptist Church meeting in Yuille St, absented himself from the Lord's table and only attended at certain times to retain his membership" , all of which happened over 10 years previously, displays a highly illogical and desperate attempt at point-scoring, and indicates a low level of substance in the attempt to bring charges against him.

On the School Front.

    The school was in operation for 240 days again (phew - how did he manage all his heavy teaching duties, plus long church meetings and arguments, plus theological disputation in the "Pioneer"?)
    There was an average attendance of 121 - down slightly from last year. Charles would have received only 90% of his attendance augmentation (I don't suppose that bothered him too much).

To William and Mary Davey, - a Daughter - Emily Rachel

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