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Conway and Llandudno Petty…



Correspondence. [In no case are we responsible for the opinions expressed in this column.] To the Editor. THE ABOLITION OF THE MUTUAL IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY. WHO DID IT? SIR,-I think it would have been quite as well if Mr Blud had confined his remarks to his official knowledge of the relationship between the Mutual Improvement Society and the Congregational Church instead of that, he has given ear to imperfect inspiration or tittle-tattle, commonly called gossip, the proof being, as he says, "I was told." The fact is, Mr Blud knows little or nothing personally about the working of the late Mutual, as he did not attend one meeting in twenty. He was not at the annual meeting,and was, therefore, quite ignorant of what took place, consequently, as a witness, he is entirely out of Court. The facts of the whole case are very few and simple, and are soon told. They are as follows:— The first business at the annual mmeting was the Treasurer's report, which showed a balance- in-hand of three pounds one penny. Mr Atkinson at once moved that the whole amount should be be handed over to the Church this sum, together with three pounds already paid to the Church for use of Hall and gas, showed a benefit to the Church of over six pounds. The Secretary's report was then read, and showed that the session had been a prosperous one, which was largely due to the nonsectarian character of the Society. Both reports were adopted by the meeting. The election of officers for the ensuing year was then proceeded with, and President, Vice-President, and Treasurer were easily found but no one would act as Secretary. This office was left open, and the formation of the Committee proceeded with. This was completed without difficulty, and the Society (minus Secretary) was in working order. At this point, some youthful inquiring mind asked the President whether the Society was a sectarian or non- sectarian Society. This led the President to make some personal reflection on one individual then present, and a discussion arose on the whole question, during which Mrs Lloyd rose and moved a resolution that the Society be dissolved that was at once seconded, and, after a brief debate, was put and carried. Before however, Mrs Lloyd moved her resolution, the nameless one, on whom Mr Blud bestows so much of the sweet spirit of his Christian charity, had left the meeting, and had neither voice nor vote in the dissolution of the Society. The whole responsibility of that resolu- tion rests on Mrs Lloyd and, but for her, the Society would be in existence now indeed, as I have shown, it was practically formed. As regards the nature of the Society, the facts are as simple as the foregoing. Mr Blud gives them, and no more conclusive evidence is needed than his own words He says,—" Two or three years ago, the Society's meetings being open to the public, the Church decided to levy a charge of one shilling and sixpence per meeting for use of room and gas." This contains the crux of the whole question. Of course, the Society's meetings were open to the public, the same as all meetings belonging to the Church were why then was not a charge levied on all alike ? The mutual was the only one selected. Why ? Because of its non- sectarian character that is clear from Mr Blud's remarks about the admission of the public. By this one act, intentionally or otherwise, the Church gave the Society a separate and independent existence, and from that time till its close, its work was carried on on non-sectarian lines and the Church had no power over the Society's work or funds, otherwise than to refuse the use of the hall. The foregoing are the naked facts of the whole Mutual case. It is painful to me to take any part in the controversy, but I felt that a clear statement was necessary. These, however, are my first and last words about the matter. H. JEFFERIES. SIR,-I have the misfortune to be that" base designing autocrat to whom reference is made in your last issue, by the Congregational Church, through their Secretary. Whether such language is consistent with the highest and most sacred professions, I must leave your readers to judge. That I have done my best to keep a sectarian spirit out of the Society, I confess and glory in it. That this is a base motive, or that I have used dishonourable means to accomplish it, I emphati- cally deny. The non-sectarian character of the Society may be shown in the following way ist,-Its members were composed of ladies and gentlemen from almost every place-of-worship in the town. 2nd,—Its Secretary, and some of the Committee, were not members of the Hudson Memorial. 3rd,-The Society had to pay for the use of the room all other Societies not connected with the Church were charged about the same rate. 4th,No Society belonging to the Church was charged either for fire, light, or room. 5th,—The Society is not mentioned in the Church's printed Manual, which contains a review of all organizations belonging to the Church. 6th,-On the minute-book will be found a resolu- tion to this effect, viz., Resolved that Mr Atkinson be appointed to wait upon the friends at the Presbyterian and Baptist Chapels, inviting them to join us, as the Society was entirely unsectarian. Several other fpoints might be mentioned, but these surely are enough for any unprejudiced mind. I submit, Mr Editor, the following to our Congregational friends :-(a) Is there some inherent principle of evil in an unsectarian Mutual Improvement Society ? (b) Could no good be done unless through Congregational methods. I suggest to any friends the following text for next year's motto,—" One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethreh."—Yours truly, J. H. ATKINSON. SIR,-I feel bound to give you, without waiting for a reply to my last, the purport of a corres- pondence between me and Mr Atkinson respecting the above. On Sunday, I received a note from Mr Atkinson, stating that he accepted my challenge, and requesting me to get the two minute-books of the Society, and to let him have them on Monday. To this I replied, objecting to take the books to him, but I proposed that we should meet, with two or three other gentlemen, at the Church Vestry, and look over the books together. He replied saying he was unable to come Monday or Tuesday, and in his note said he should hold me responsible for not letting him have the books. Mr Atkinson knew where the books were, and had the same access to them -Is myself. I may also state now that I, with Mr Longmaid, went through these two books. In the first book, writ large, is the title of the Society,- The Hudson Memorial Mutual Improvement Society. There is the account of the inauguration, and the rules making it open for anyone to join as members. When Mr Atkinson became Secretary) lie put the first book on one side, although it was not full, and started with a new one, and enters 111 that the Society as The Mutual Improvement Society." There is no minute to be found ir. the two books that in any way severs the Society from the Church, or alters its tille. The alteration of the title is the work of Mr Atkinson, and the result of his work is the abolition of the Society. —Yours truly, ———— J. BLUD.