THE EVIL ONE AGAIN ATTEMPTS TO DISRUPT THE SOCIETY
CONFIDENTIAL STATEMENT OF FACTS BY REQUEST
To International Bible Students scattered throughout world:
DEAR BRETHREN IN CHRIST: —
In this hour of sorrow, mingled with joy, we think of the words of St. Peter, so appropriate at this time: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fire among you that is to try you, as though some strange thing had happened unto you." (1 Peter 4:12.)
Time and again our dear Pastor warned us of this coming time, and now it is here. In The WATCH TOWER under date of 1897, page 44, he said:
"Fiery trials are therefore to be expected by all of the Lord's people, especially in this day of the Lord. As surely as we are sons of God we shall have them; and when they come we should promptly recognize their mission to us and see that we are exercised by them unto godliness, sobriety and deep and fervent piety."
Who then, will be able to stand? The Lord answers, Everyone whose heart is perfect — 2 Chron. 16:9.
Seeing the activities of the Adversary, and that a great trial was coming, I had hoped and prayed that the Church might be spared from it if it be the Lord's will, but evidently it is His will that the fire shall burn out all dross; that only the refined gold shall remain. I assure you, dear brethren, that in making this statement I have no unkind feeling toward anyone. As I search my heart I am sure it is perfect toward all. The Lord is my judge. I feel, under the circumstances, that I owe it to you to take you into my confidence and make a plain statement of the facts, and then let each of you judge as to what seemeth good, and may the Lord guide you in hearing. I ask each one of you to be calm, watching and praying while you read, and see that you have no prejudice or feeling, either for or against; and that you do not form any distinct opinion until yon have read all this statement. In order for you to understand, it will be necessary for me to speak of the brethren involved by name, even if it is painful so to do. Brother Russell long warned as that the evil spirits would exercise great power in the closing hours of the Church's pilgrimage, and I am wondering if they are the cause of this fearful trial. He will make it clear in due time. Read Rev. 7 comments in Vol. 7 of SCRIPTURE STUDIES.
That you may understand why I was led to appoint four members of the Board of Directors in order to save the Society's money from being tied up by law suits and its work wrecked, both of which hare been threatened, it is needful that I relate to you some things that have occurred since I became your President. To do this, I am impelled to tell you what occurred in Great Britain with reference to Brother Johnson, whom I have loved very dearly. Some of the four brethren hereinafter mentioned, members of the Bethel Family, acting under advice of a lawyer who is not too friendly toward the Truth, and under the advice of another who is not a lawyer, have been about some of the classes making derogatory statements against the President, Secretary and Treasurer and others of the Society with a view to creating a sentiment in the minds of the friends against these brethren. They have done this while traveling at the expense of the Society and as its representatives. Since they have made it public and disturbed the minds of many of the friends, it becomes my duty to you to make a statement of the facts.
BROTHER JOHNSON GOES TO ENGLAND
Brother Russell had arranged last Fall for Brother Johnson to visit Europe, and those left in charge after Brother Russell's departure thought well to carry out his wishes and send him. Brother Johnson called at the State Department at Washington, and the Bureau of Citizenship in New York for information concerning passports. Returning he informed the Committee that it was necessary for him to have credentials showing that it was imperative that he visit the foreign countries in the interests of the Society; otherwise the government, because of the war, would not grant the passport. Myself and Brother Johnson together prepared a letter to present to the State Department, with the understanding that it was for the procuring of a passport. When it came to the signing of the letter Brother Van Amburgh, the Secretary, refused to sign, because it granted sweeping authority to Brother Johnson. Then it was explained in the presence of Brothers Van Amburgh, Ritchie and myself, and Brother Johnson, that the only purpose of the letter was to enable Brother Johnson to procure a passport, and that his authority would really be the same as any other pilgrim or lecturer. Brother Ritchie then remarked to Brother Johnson that it would be well for him to inquire at the Society's offices he visited in Europe and get all the information he could about the manner of conducting the work, to all of which Brother Johnson agreed. It then became necessary for him to have a letter of introduction to the London office, and of course this had to be written consistent with the other letter, because the Government of Great Britain would examine all of his papers when he arrived at the border, and anything inconsistent would probably result in sending him out of the country, hence we wrote a similar letter to the London office with the same understanding.
TROUBLE BEGINS IN ENGLAND
About the 5th of February a cablegram was received from Brother Johnson, reading as follows:
About the same time another cablegram was received from Brothers Shearn and Crawford, as follows:
The INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION, organized under the laws of Great Britain, has a council of five members, Brothers Hemery, Shearn and Crawford constituted the members in England, while Brother Russell and myself were the two members here. The same three brethren
above mentioned were the managers of the London office, conducting the work there.
Knowing that Brother Johnson had no authority to discharge Brothers Shearn and Crawford, and being doubtful of the situation, I sent the following cablegram to Brother Johnson:
Then in a few days I left for California. Some time after I reached Los Angeles I received information from Brothers Crawford and Shearn, also from Brother Johnson, that the two brothers mentioned had been discharged from the London office and the London Bethel. I appointed five able brethren in Great Britain as a commission to investigate, and then sent the following cablegram:
The next day I received a cablegram dated Liverpool, February 24, 1917, and reading as follows:
Brooklyn, N. Y.
"Surprised at cablegram. Have you not received my letters second, eleven, twenty-one, January? Shearn, Crawford, leading sixth sifting. Ezekiel Nine Beware. Cablegram campaign engineered Crawford. Shearn. Ezra Nehemiah Mordecai experience type mine here. Since January Twenty-eight am Steward Matthew, Twenty, eight. Shearn, Haman then hanged on gallows for me. Was then given Esther Eight, Two Fifteen powers like Russell's Crawford, Sanballat, Shearn, Tobiah. Guard Senior, Gishen. Will you be my right hand? Must keep my hands on.
(This, and subsequent cablegrams sent out by Brother Johnson cost the Society hundreds of dollars for their transmission.)
Within the next two or three days I received the following cablegram from Brother Hemery, dated London, Feb. 26th:
On the 27th of February I cabled Brother Johnson as follows:
Believing from the information that I had, and from the language used by Brother Johnson in his cablegram, in which he stated that he was "steward" with all powers formerly held by Brother Russell. I was convinced that his mind was deranged and that he was disturbing the work in Great Britain. Thereupon I cabled from Los Angeles to Brother Hemery as follows:
A cablegram dated London, March 7, 1917, addressed to Brothers Ritchie and Van Amburgh, was received from Brother Johnson, which is as follows:
Later. Brother Hemery, learning of this cablegram, sent the following, dated London, March 13th, addressed to Brother Rutherford:
The following cablegram was received from Brother Hemery, dated March 14th, London, addressed to myself:
After the commissioners were appointed and Brother Johnson learned that they were to go to London to investigate the facts and report, he visited each one of them personally and tried to influence them in his behalf and against the others. This fact is proven by the following letters from Brother Crawford:
LETTERS FROM BROTHER CRAWFORD
"Lancaster Gate, London, W., England.
and The Executive Committee,
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY,
Brooklyn, N. Y.
"DEAR BRETHREN IN THE LORD:
" ..... Briefly, the circumstances are as follows. About a month or so before our dear Brother Russell passed beyond, the Elders of the London Tabernacle — realizing that the arrangements then existing in the Tabernacle were not giving complete satisfaction to the members of the Congregation — unanimously agreed to call a meeting and inquire into all the circumstances which lay at the root of the trouble....
"Shortly after, word came that Brother Johnson was on his way, and we wondered if by chance he had been charged by Brother Russell with the expression of his mind on the matter. When Brother Johnson arrived, however, he knew nothing of the correspondence and at once set about, as he thought, to set things in order in the Tabernacle. We all wished him God speed and gave him every assistance possible. Judge, then, of my surprise when, a few days later, I found all the eleven Elders condemned by Brother Johnson, and myself with two other brethren of the Office staff charged by him on the following three counts: — (1) With attempting to deceive Brother Russell. (2) With concealing the real purpose of the Resolution. (3) With having an evil motive in signing same.
"At first I did not take the matter seriously and tried to believe that Brother Johnson surely did not mean to brand all the eleven Elders of the Tabernacle as hypocrites, etc., without any proof or hearing whatever, and the three brethren of the Office as even worse. — 1 Tim. 5: l, 19.....
"The situation that was created became impossible, because, in the first place, neither of the three involved were conscious of any sin or evil motive nor had they wronged any one either by word or action; secondly, to relinquish Eldership meant to expose two of them (myself included) to the probable operation of the Military Act, a step which, to every reasonable mind would surely seem wrong. Brother Johnson's reply to this point was that having committed this sin I must now bear the consequences; in the third place, this procedure was altogether contrary to the policy advocated by Brother Russell — whose recommendation was that the Pilgrims and Office workers who represented the Society as lecturers should be Elders either in a home Church or in the Tabernacle.
"A few days later Brother Johnson came to London, when I had a further word with him and endeavored to point out how unreasonable his attitude was.....
"Your brother and servant in the Anointed.
Also the following letter written ten weeks later will be of interest:
"DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD:
"Doubtless Brother Johnson informed you that he dismissed me and my wife from the office and home and instructed us to leave the premises immediately. As I had no time to make any arrangements and Brother Johnson threatened to put my furniture out or have it used if not removed at once, I was forced to have it taken to the above address to be stored.
"I am sorry to say that Brother Johnson seems to be going from bad to worse. To my mind he is
either under the influence of spiritism or else has temporarily lost his balance of mind. No sane man would act or do the things that he has done during the last month or so. For no cause whatever but merely evil surmising on his part he has denounced me for hours in the Tabernacle, telling them that I was dead spiritually and no longer a brother, etc, etc. He has also gone to my wife when I was absent on more than one occasion, telling her the same ridiculous story and tried to separate us. Once he gave her such a talking to in this way that when I came in I found her weeping and almost in hysterics.
".....Brother Johnson has been telling the classes that he is the steward of the parable of the Penny and that he would have been the president only he refused to allow his name to go forward for nomination.
"A peculiar delusion of his which he has been preaching to the classes is, Brothers Shearn and Guard and I are fulfilling certain types recorded in Nehemiah, Chap. 2: 4 and 6. He says that I am "Sanballat," Brother Shearn, "Tobiah," and Brother Guard "Geshem."
"The classes here are in sore straits through his visits. He seems to have unsettled nearly every class he visited. The brethren have been much relieved however by the receipt of your cable and are glad to know that his doings did not represent the Society.
"Brother Johnson, however, does not now acknowledge your authority to counsel his dismissal and says that can only be done by the Executive Committee. He refused to allow either Brother Shearn or me to be reinstated.
" . . . . Now just a word about the Commission of Inquiry. It was very kind of you to make this arrangement and I much appreciate your efforts to have justice done. I would like however to make a few remarks regarding the members of the Commission and how the inquiry was carried out. It was no fault of the members of course that they had all been interviewed by Brother Johnson and their minds influenced to some extent by Brother Johnson's views of things. Brother Johnson had spent several days in Brother M. Cloy's home trying to convince him of his views of things, and indeed was there when your cable of instructions was received.
Yours by His grace,
BROTHER JOHNSON WRITES BROTHER HEMERY
We also quote a letter addressed to Brother Hemery, written and signed by Brother Johnson. This tetter appears as an Exhibit in the High Court of Justice in the case wrongfully instituted by Brother Johnson in the name of the Society against the London managers. The document follows:
"IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
MR. JUSTICE EVE
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
— VS —
HEMERY AND OTHERS
"This is the Exhibit marked 'J. H. 4,' referred to in the Affidavit of Jesse Hemery sworn herein this 22nd day of March, 1917, before me,
"A Commissioner of Oaths.
"A. J. Greenop & Co.
Bush Lane House,
London, E. C., 4."
"Mr. J. Hemery,
34 Craven Terr., London, W.
"BELOVED BROTHER HEMERY:
"Grace and peace. Glad to receive your letter. Will answer it first, and then give you something else.
"Re a further trip. I had better remain at London from the time of my arrival there until the following Thursday or Friday then go to Glasgow, with possibly a day off at Manchester. I will wait and see what Manchester develops next week. On the way back, so far as I can see, I would like an appointment at Edinburgh so as to set matters clearly before the Edinburgh Church. Everywhere I go I am now giving an account of this trouble. This must be done to circumvent the mischief that they are already working. They are working on quite a campaign, and this we must frustrate. Shearn is spreading the report that I have interfered with his success in the Military matter. As to whether I will have appointments after Edinburgh or not will depend on what develops. Keep your eyes open, please, for sore spots. These are the places to which I wish to go.
Thanks for information about Sister Annie, and the adoption. I understand your letter to mean that I wont even have to go to Court to have it settled — that our agreement before the Bethel family made it binding and legal; am glad.
"Re food: I wish, dear Brother, that you would follow my suggestion on this line. I am speaking very advisedly when I say it is imperative that staple articles be gotten and stowed in a safe place, safe from men and from rats. Please let them be bought at different places. I would suggest, the making of a false ceiling as a receptacle, and let it be lined throughout with tin, as a safeguard from rats. Wheat is the special thing needed, and monkey nuts. The famine will be very sore shortly, and the prices very heavy. You will notice Elisha calls attention to the famine, and that is what I have in mind. You will remember that I told you when I came at first, that there would be this condition shortly, and now I know it is at the very doors and therefore suggest that it be done immediately, for the good of the family. I have a way of answering questions that would be perfectly right, and will secure the food. Will tell you about this when I see you.
"Re Brother Shearn's furniture: I think you did very well on what you have bought However, the balance of his furniture must leave the house as soon as possible. We will wait for indications and so, for the present, will let the furniture stand as it is.
COMMISSIONERS INTERVIEWED BY BROTHER JOHNSON
Thank you for the Manchester matter. I have it under advisement; also Brother Smedley. I am going to dictate a form letter to all of the eight brethren who furnished me names, asking them to come to Bethel for a Conference with me, March 3rd at 2 p. m. I am going to lay the whole position before them. Brother Rutherford has appointed four of these eight as a Committee to investigate; Brother Housden is the fifth member of the Committee.
"I trust Sister Cormack has returned, and thank you for what you have done re Elders and Deacons. Re Brother Cormack: Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I will do as you suggest; we must put an end to grasping for power on the part of everybody concerned. I will write him today on this line, sending the letter to the office.
"Re the six Elders elected who signed the Resolution: You will notice in Esther that on the 1st day that the Jews stood for their lives, which, I understand, would refer to last Sunday, the ten sons of Haman are spoken of simply as slain and that in the 2nd day they were hanged up. This 2nd day I understand, will be March 4th. At that time, since they are the sons of Haman, the Agagite (an Agagite represents a sinfully ambitious person), I am sure that everyone of those brothers were ambitious, and their ambition moved them, along with other things, to sign that Resolution, and I will therefore, after proving this point, recommend their dismissal. This process will be their
hanging. First, however, we will settle the matter with Shearn and Crawford, but the whole thing will be settled March 4th and after that there will be joy and rejoicing on the part of the faithful and many new ones will come into the Truth to take the places of others. I increasingly fear that Brother Cormack is the son-in-law of Sanballat, and what you write me only strengthens that fear. If that proves to be true I will 'chase him from me.'
"Thanks for the cablegram from Brother Rutherford. He is undoubtedly the victim of a cablegram campaign, engineered by Shearn and Crawford. This morning I sent Brother Rutherford a long cablegram telling him that I was anti-typing Ezra, Nehemiah, Mordecai, and that on the 28th of January, after hanging up Brother Shearn on the scaffold that he had prepared for me, I was appointed by the Lord according to Esther 3: 2, 15, the Steward referred to in Matt. 20: 8. I asked him to be my right hand man. I expressed astonishment at his cablegram, and inquired whether he had not received my letters of Jan. 2ns, 11th and 21st; told him that Haman represented Shearn in Esther, and Tobish represents him in Heb., while Crawford was represented by Sanballat, and Geshem represented Guard Senr. I trust this will change his attitude, for he is evidently becoming excited. I told him I could not keep hands off. Now, my beloved Brother Hemery I will be responsible for everything. I think you see enough to see what the Lord has been, and is, doing for me. I believe that you consider that my deductions from these Books are correct. Everything that unfolds from them makes it all the clearer to my mind, that the Lord has given me the proper light on the books. I did not mention in my cablegram to Brother R., and that again by forgetting, that the congregation unanimously voted confidence in me, and approval for what I have been doing for them against Shearn and Crawford. Seemingly the Lord permitted this forgetting again in order that you, as Chairman and Brother Seeck, as Secretary, might convey the news. We have been somewhat too inactive with cablegrams and have allowed the other side to keep the wires hot. However, the Lord is on our side against all them that rise up against us. I notice from THE TOWER, that Brother Rutherford is in Santa Barbara, on the 25th. I trust my cablegram reaches him. I think the Lord is going to let him mix things up quite thoroughly, until He shows him who has been His choice as Brother Russell's successor. Brother Rutherford wrote me that the Executive Committee is not in existence any longer. I am wondering how this is. Seemingly from this, he is acting wholly alone as the authority. It may be all right, but I do not understand it. I think Brother Rutherford will come to see the position properly in a very short time. My cablegram this morning ought to open his eyes.
"Re the Elders and Deacons: I had better see the Elders and Deacons together for part of the time, and then the Elders alone the rest of the evening. What do you think of Brother Dingle as an Elder and speaker in the Tabernacle? Please let me have your opinion. Have you any other recommendations? According to Neh. there will be twelve Elders in that congregation, and not eighteen. Notice the passage that speaks of Ezra arising with six priests on each side. This is at the water gate, which I understand to be the Elders. One after another of these gates are becoming clear to my mind. I have nearly all of them now, and will have them all, I believe, in due time.
"Am not at all well. My brain is quite weary, and the Lord, seemingly in compassion for me, has arranged but one meeting a day for me until this trip is finished. Annie is a great help to me, I am sure that the Lord has given her to me to give me much needed relief. If this relief had not been forthcoming, I am satisfied I would have had a repetition of my 1910 breakdown, but the Lord will sustain me to finish the work that he has given me to do.
"I send the family, the associate managers, your wife and yourself, much Christian love. The Lord bless and keep thee.
"Your brother and servant,
SUIT INSTITUTED WITHOUT AUTHORITY
When Brother Johnson was unable to influence the Commissioners he remained quiet for a day or two, and then suddenly it occurred to him to deny that I had been elected President of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. He began to cable Brother Ritchie; and write him letters, and then proceeded to forcibly take possession of the mails and money in the London office, and employed a lawyer and instituted a suit in the High Court of London in the name of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY and against Brothers Crawford, Hemery and Shearn, and the bank where the Society's money is kept, and tied up all the funds of the Society. Brother Hemery thereupon cabled me as follows:
I immediately cabled Brother Hemery to oppose injunction and in reply received from him the following cablegram:
Thereupon I cabled Mr. Greenop, London solicitor for the Society, as follows:
On March 24th Brother Hemery cabled me:
On the same day Brother Hemery wrote me in detail a letter, of which the following is a copy:
LETTER FROM OUR LONDON MANAGER
"MY DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD. —
"At last i am able to write to you with some measure of satisfaction with reference to this sad business which has been the subject of so many cablegrams exchanged between yourself and us in London.....
"The immediate situation is this, as my telegram would indicate. Johnson's rebellion, and his attempt to sieze the whole of the British work, and its funds in bank deposits, has failed, though the matter of the injunction is not yet out of the High Court because of the question of costs. Judge Peterson adjourned the hearing of the Motion until next Friday. But the case will not again come into the Court. On receipt of your cablegram of the 10th, in which you instructed me to take full possession, I, knowing something of Johnson's mind, immediately got in touch with the bank to safeguard the deposit of ?800. I was none too soon: he was there immediately after me, endeavouring to use his letters from head office to gain control of the money. We fought for it. At last he issued an injunction through the High Court for a claim on the money, and against the bank for withholding it. The writ was returnable yesterday. However, when the case came before the judge yesterday, Johnson's counsel said, after reading my affidavit, that he did not propose to proceed with his motion; but we here, trying to protect ourselves, had made a little slip, and thus gave them a chance to haggle over the costs for the action, and this is all that remains to be settled as far as the motion is concerned. This will mean that the bank account here stands in the names of Brothers Shearn, Crawford and my own, and this
arrangement will suit very well until any further readjustment needs to be made according to whatever you may decide to do.
"Now I must tell you how the immediate events developed After your telegram giving cancellation of all Johnson's activities, he was quiet for twenty-four hours or so, then suddenly blossomed out with the statement that the election of the President of the Society was absolutely out of order. He asserted his right to sit at the head of the table in the Bethel family, and in order to make sure of his right he went and sat in the Chair before the family assembled I refused to acknowledge him as having the right to represent you, and said to the family that this was open rebellion. I called upon them to give no adherence to the rebellion against your authority as representing the Society. To my surprise most of the brethren stayed with Johnson, and they continued to handle the work. That morning Johnson raved at me for a couple of hours and dismissed me half a dozen times or more. His insistence, and his mouthing, made some of the brethren think that he was the person in authority, and they had, unfortunately, listened to his claim of being the antitype of many Scripture characters and, as they now say — for they have repented — they seemed to have lost their reasoning faculties. It was about the middle of the week when I began to discern the true inwardness of the situation, that Johnson was not merely intending to take control of the office in the meantime, but that he had an ulterior purpose in mind: gaining control of the British field, of its resources, and running a separate WATCH TOWER. Looking back I can see many things which show the working of his mind, but which he carefully hid. I tried to rally the family, but three brothers stayed by him, enabling him to carry on the execution of the orders, while Brother Cormack preferred, as he said, to be neutral, though his neutrality gave him a good deal of intercourses with Johnson and none with me. I demanded of them a statement of the monies received and expended, but was refused this. In the meantime I was in constant communication with our solicitors, Messrs. Greenop, doing everything to safeguard the financial side of our work, and felt quite assured that, though we might have some present difficulties, the sum could never be handled by Johnson. Brothers Shearn and Crawford as members of the Council of I. B. S. A. and as associates in the work, were called in. ...
"Last Saturday I called together in the city a few of the Elders and Deacons of the London Church, and told them the situation. They immediately began to take steps to relieve the situation, and from Sunday night last, we have had someone in the house all the time. A plan we had for the beginning of the seizing of the mails on Monday morning, failed through an act of treachery, but we began on Tuesday morning, and since then every letter delivered has come through my care. Johnson was furious. He, and Brother Housden with him, spent much time in meditating over the situation. I asked again for the money and statement, believing that the money was safe in the safe. As refusal was made, it seemed necessary to take some more stringent measures, for we had found it impossible to do anything in the way of arresting Johnson for lunacy.
SOCIETY'S FUNDS TAKEN FROM SAFE
"So on Wednesday both Brothers Johnson and Housden having gone to bed rather early, Johnson's was held while Brother Cronk, one of our Elders, and I went up to Housden's room and demanded the keys. Two helpers were nearby and on Housden's refusal to hand them over, they were taken out of his pocket, though without any violence, for he made no resistance. On going down to the safe, I found the money gone. They had scooped a deposit of £50 in gold which we had by us, about £40 which had been given to the relief of the Military situation, and which was neither the Society's, nor the Church's money, and a good sum of about £150 besides, the takings during the days when they held the mail. Besides this sum there was a cheque of £350, a donation, and which I believe we shall yet save to ourselves, though at the moment there is a little doubt. Housden refused to say where the money was, and we had to talk to him pretty plainly. He promised however, that he would not aid Johnson any more. We had spoken to him about the possibility of the police coming in. I should here tell you that the day before, Brother Dingel, who had his head twisted with Johnson's talk, saw the folly of the situation, and apologized and repudiated Johnson's position. He, feeling some responsibility, had gone up to Brother Housden's room to plead with him. The window-blind was up. Brother Dingle switched on the electric light, and got so busy talking with Housden, that neither of them noticed that they were breaking the lighting regulations. About 11.30 p. m. the door bell rang, and I went down to see what was the matter. A constable was at the door wanting an explanation of this violation of the very stringent London lighting regulations. He insisted upon seeing those who were responsible, and I had to take him upstairs. You can imagine the situation! Here was a constable appearing at the bedroom door immediately after our talk about the constable coming. However, that matter was soon over, and the constable went away, knowing nothing, of course, of our conversation.
LEAVES BETHEL THROUGH UPPER WINDOW
"About 6 o'clock in the morning Brother Johnson's foot began pounding on the door, and he had not a great difficulty in driving away the bit of wood that had been wedged against it to keep him within bounds. It had been his habit of late to go wandering about the house between two and four in the morning, evidently seeing if his possessions were safe, for he is a very suspicious character. Brother Cronk, who was sleeping in along with another brother, spoke to Johnson, told him he could go into the bathroom if he wanted, but he must remember that he could not have things his own way, and that a constable had been up to see Brother Housden the night before. Of course this was a bit of bluff to help to keep Johnson within bounds. He went up to Housden's room, and when he found that Brother Housden would not come out to him, he began to think there was something wrong with 34, Craven Terrace. Instead of going into the bathroom, he hastily dressed himself, left his baggage open, got out on the balcony, and then the milk deliverers saw the ludicrous sight of a man in a tall hat and frock coat and, as they said, with goloshes only, letting himself down from the balcony into the street. If the matter were not so serious, the ludicrous side comes on this, because it was only the fear for his skin, impelled by an evil conscience, that made him do this foolish thing. The front door was loose, he could have walked down and walked out We wondered what had become of him, but one or two strange telephone messages through the day assured us that he was standing by the speaker endeavoring to get some knowledge of his friend, Brother Housden. He turned up at the Court yesterday, and saw his failure written large across the happenings at the Court. Afterwards he said he was willing to go back to America, and Brother Housden expressed his readiness to go also, putting it as if he thought he should go to take care of Johnson, but, as I believe, with the fear in his heart that this embezzlement of the money might bring serious consequences to him.
"During the day Brother Housden delivered to Brother Gentle, who had had some talk with him, a package of money containing about L220 in gold, treasury notes and other paper, but here seemed a little trickery, because he has said he was willing to deliver up the money to me, for Brother Gentle 'phoned to say that the money had been placed in his care, but he was to hold it until he had a note from Johnson's solicitors giving him liberty to hand it over. I immediately reminded Brother Gentle of has danger in handling what was practically stolen property, and of what he himself has said to Brother
Housden on this matter. He had no difficulty in coming to a decision, and I got the money, £217, last night. They have paid out £40 to their solicitor to meet preliminary expenses, but we are asking for a full statement of receipts and expenditures, but whether we shall get it or not. we do not know. The cheque for £340, which Brother Housden had said was in the package, was not there — I had the money counted over in Brother Gentle's presence. I am at the moment waiting for news respecting this cheque, and may be able to report something before this letter is despatched.
(Later. — Cheque was returned to drawer, and is safe from Brother Johnson's hands.)
The costs in this case must be heavy, for Johnson had to employ not only Solicitors, but Counsel. The writ was served on the Bank as well as us, and they employed their Solicitor and Counsel, and it was necessary that we should do the same. The law is that a solicitor who enters into an action of this kind becomes personally responsible for costs if this case fails. I should judge from the look of the Solicitor which they employed, that he has not much money, hence his desire to get L40 to go on with. It may be that they have paid him more, but I know of no payment beyond this. Our Solicitors, Messrs. Greenop, are intending to push this matter somewhat as a lesson to Brother Johnson's solicitor, and, of course, in our own interests. Johnson has made an awful mess of this business, for the Bank's position is that the account is really not the WATCH TOWER account, but was under the control of the original signatories. The question of the validity of his letters of accreditation did not arise, for the simple reason that my affidavit killed the business. Had this question of validity been raised at all, probably they would have been rejected because not notarily signed before the British Consul in New York. It is not at all likely that we shall have any further trouble with these letters, but for safety's sake it is to be hoped that the cancellation papers have the British Consul's signature on them, and you might note this for any future use of such papers.
"Johnson speaks of being willing to return to America, but what his movements will be remain to be seen. He is foiled in all his efforts, and there is nothing more ludicrous in the whole business, and which may be said to be a proper ending to all his abnormal claims, that this Plenipotentiary — a word which he has used a hundred times of late — charged with full powers of authority, who for fear of his skin and with a coward's heart and an uneasy conscience getting over the rails outside his bedroom window with his tall hat escaping from no danger but that which was created by his imagination.
A CASE FULL OF LESSONS
"We received him as a good brother, accepting him at his own estimation of himself, and now have to admit that we were imposed upon, and to say that he has been here as an imposter. But in saying this, I would not at all have you think that his life and work here have been that of a hypocrite. The whole case is a strange one. and has been full of lessons to us — the ways of working of Divine Providence. From the moment that Brother Johnson got off the steamer St. Louis at Liverpool, he ceased not to talk about himself. It was not easy to measure him, for, being an unusual man, and the circumstances being unusual, it seemed better to wait until we could know more of him. For a while he seemed to act very cautiously and wisely, but meeting a little opposition, as he thought, and which perhaps was actually present, he developed a severe side of character. From a time when he thought he found some opposition in Brother Shearn and Crawford, and he had asserted authority, he visibly swelled in importance. As I have previously told you, I believe that the work he did here, though done in so rough a fashion, was according to the Lord's providence, and I say this after much time for reflection, and even though I am so nearly related to the affairs. But the unusual situation in which Brother Johnson found himself, allowed his mind to develop very rapidly some things which had been there for six or seven years. From time to time he had told me of thoughts in his mind, and of some of the happenings during his nervous breakdown in 1910. (You will perhaps remember that when I was with you in the United States in 1910 Brother Johnson was then sick, and I did not see him.) From what he has said, I have no doubt that he has seen himself in his imagination as successor to Brother Russell The voices which he heard in 1910 have left their impression upon him. Coming over here he seems to have thought that his work was antityped by Ezra's commission to help the spiritual work of Jerusalem. His smashing blow against Brothers Shearn and Crawford at once made apparent a reconstructive work. It was easy then for him to think of Nehemiah and rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. He seems to have spent almost every moment of available time in watching his work, and before he left us the other day, he had found twenty-five to thirty instances where, from point to point in what had been done or said to a brother until something else was said, fifty-two days had elapsed. It is surely true, as I told him, that there was some sort of connection between Nehemiah and himself, not only that both of them were Jews, but Nehemiah's way of tearing the hair of his opponents, and in telling the Lord that he should be remembered in all the work he had done. After seeing himself in Ezra and Nehemiah as, first his Pilgrim work, secondly his commissioners work, he began to hint that he had seen a possible further work, and that this was typified in Esther. He did not say what it was, but at last hinted that be thought may be he would be Steward.
CLAIMED TO BE 'STEWARD'
"Going down to Liverpool, he lost such reserve as a Plenipotentiary ought to have, and be proclaimed himself openly as the "Steward of the Parable." I heard of his cable to you, and of what he had said, and I immediately, as I informed you, took a stand in opposition to his claims. From that time his hidden scheme got a shock, for he saw that he would have little hope of making great progress here as a leader if I were not with him. He tried to coax, cajole, and to some extent by flattery, but on my refusal to compromise one little bit, he came in open opposition. I cannot say that Brother Johnson is insane, but there is a sort of madness of pride that is in his heart. That he lacks balance is clear, for he would not have sent such telegrams had his mind been in proper balance. He has played for high stakes, and there seemed to his mind two weeks ago, a chance of winning his game. Now he is a pricked bubble. I regret to have to say that I have no confidence in him whatever. He has such cunning which is not insanity, and he is so capable of attending to his affairs, that I see no other conclusion but to say that he has been attempting a great imposture upon those whom he hoped would be with him, and by whom he hoped to continue his scheme.
"There has been no greater surprise to me in all this strange business that certain members of our family should cast in their lot with him. I mentioned the name of Brother Cormack in my cablegram to you. He has, to my mind, taken an ignoble part in this sad business. Instead of taking the only stand that could be taken by one who was loyal to the work, for some reason or other as between himself and the Lord he said he preferred to wait until Brother Johnson's cancellation papers should be here. In other words he ignored your telegrams and the telegrams which were sent over the signature of the WATCH TOWER SOCIETY. Brothers Dingle and Guiver
who gave me great disappointment by their action, have come to see the foolishness of their way in aiding Brother Johnson, and have expressed deep and, as I believe, sincere apologies. Brother and Sister Cormack are the only ones in the house who are waiting for the cancellation of Johnson's papers, for Johnson is, of course. out of the house, and Brother Housden has gone home. I believe that if Brother Cormack, whose long association with the work should have given him a more decisive character, had taken the only stand that could properly be taken, that neither Brothers Dingle nor Guiver would have been so led astray by Johnson's words, and — I rather think — promises. I do not know what to say about Brother Cormack. The situation here under the National Service Scheme is that no one can take on a new employee unless by special permission. I do not feel it right that Brother Cormack should stay longer in the home, and I am doubtful about his staying on in the Pilgrim service. I do not feel that I can commend him to your favorable consideration, but I am glad to think that you know him, and know of his long service in the cause of the Truth, and also to believe that the Lord will guide you as to what you may decide in his case. In respect to Brothers Dingle and Guiver, I feel that their repentance is so sincere that I would suggest they be allowed to continue in the work in such way as may seem good here. Brother Guiver so far has been saved from the operation of the Military Service Act, because of an endeavor we made to save some of our helpers. If his work here is discontinued, he immediately comes under the claims of the Military. Brother Dingle is beyond age, and we would be thrown under the National Service scheme aforementioned. But I believe their hearts are now right, though their standing in the Church will surely be affected. As for Brother Housden, I do not know yet where he stands. He has returned the money, but I believe it is more for fear of what he has done than belief in the fallacy of Brother Johnson's claims. I want to keep in touch with him to save him, if this is possible. In the meantime we are now quite capable of going on with our work as in normal times. Brother Kirkwood can do the general office work — the execution of orders, etc, and he is a very useful brother. We have good stenographic help, and indeed, have no difficulties in the work.
"As I wish that you should have the foregoing as soon as possible, this portion of my letter is now mailed. The second portion shall be sent shortly. In it I shall hope to give you my thought of the relation of this matter to the general work in the country, and an account of the Church in London, and, I hope, information of Brother Johnson's return.
"In the meantime, with warm love in the Lord, and prayers that the Lord will guide you in all your way, I am, dear Brother Rutherford,
"Your brother and servant in Him,
BROTHER JOHNSON LEAVES ENGLAND
Brother Johnson, as seen from the above, left the London Bethel and his whereabouts were unknown, until on April 4th when the following cablegram was received from Brother Hemery, dated London:
Learning thus that Brother Johnson was on his way to America, it was arranged that brethren should meet him at the dock and bring him to Bethel. I had been personally requested by his wife to keep him here until he recovered. When he appeared in the Bethel Home, to all intents and purposes he was sane upon every point except himself. He asked me if he might have a hearing before the Board. I called the members of the Board to the Study, and several other brethren, and we listened to Brother Johnson for two hours. I presented to him a copy of the cablegram which he had sent me wherein he claimed to be the "Steward" of Matt. 20:8, and asked him if he sent it. After much effort he finally acknowledged that he did.
On another occasion the Board and other brethren sat and listened to Brother Johnson for two hours describing how the Scriptures foreshadowed his experience in England, and his activities there. It was the unanimous consent of all present that Brother Johnson was of unsound mind. I then stated to him, in the presence of the others, in substance: Brother Johnson, for the purpose of this matter we will concede that you thought you had authority to do what you did in Great Britain, and that you were acting honestly. Let us drop the matter now and not think of it any more. We all shook hands kindly, and he went to his room. He continued in the Bethel home uninterrupted for two months, except on one occasion he announced at the table that he is the "Steward" mentioned in Matt 20:8, but in a few days thereafter withdrew the statement. Our hope was that he was recovering, and we rejoiced.
THE BEGINNING OF TROUBLE IN AMERICA
"However, some time near the latter part of June he approached me in the dining room and said, "I feel able now to go back to England and take up my work there." I replied. "Brother Johnson, you are not going back to England; you have no work there." He insisted that he should go, but I told him that he could not go. He left me then, with the statement that he would appeal to the Board. (On July 25, 1917, Brother Johnson admitted to me that his appealing to the Board is at the bottom of the trouble with Brothers Ritchie, Hirsh. Wright and Hoskins.) In about two days he came back and insisted that I call a meeting of the Board of Directors; that he might appear before them. I declined to do so, saying to him that the matter was entirely closed; the Society would not send him back to England, and the best thing for him to do would be to remain quiet. When I firmly refused to call the Board he became agitated and said: "You are a usurper and I will appeal to the Board and I will see that I have a hearing"; or words to that effect. The next morning he approached me in the dining room and handed me a paper, of which the following is a copy:
"DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD: —
"We, the undersigned members of the Board of the W. T. B. & T. S. herewith kindly request that you call a meeting of this Board to hear Brother Johnson on his activities in Great Britain and to examine the facts of the case. We will be glad to have you call this meeting at as early a date as possible.
"Praying the Lord's blessing on our deliberations on this matter to the end that it may be to the Lord's glory and the good of the cause we all love, we remain with much love,
"Your Brethren and Servants in the Lord,
"A, I. RITCHIE,
"R. H. HIRSH,
"J. D. WRIGHT "
This paper had been written by Brother Johnson himself, and he had taken it to Brothers Hoskins, Ritchie, Hirsh and Wright, and had them to sign it, asking me to call a meeting of the Board, when two of these brethren sat at the same table with me at every meal, and one just immediately to my left, and all four of them in the dining room regularly and could easily have spoken to me direct about the meeting. They had not mentioned this matter of a meeting to Brother Van Amburgh, who is also a member of the Board. It seemed rather a strange thing that they should take this procedure, so I called them into the drawing room for a conversation about the matter. These four brethren insisted that I should call a meeting of the Board of Directors to hear Brother Johnson. I finally told them that the matter had already been closed; that it was not a matter for the Board now to take up; it was folly to think about sending Brother Johnson back to England; that he should not go; and that I would not permit him to force a meeting of the
Board in the way that he was proceeding; but I asked the four brethren named to have an interview with him and go over the facts if they desired and report the same at a meeting of the Board. I thereupon delivered to them the commissioners report, and my findings upon the report, and other documents bearing upon the case.
COMMISSIONERS EXPRESS VIEWS
The following letters from Brothers MacKenzie, McCloy and Warden, three of the Commissioners who examined into the London affair, also letters from other representative British brethren, show how Brother Johnson would be received in Great Britain now:
"MY DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD: —
"Greetings! In my little note to you on your appointment to be President of the Society I indicated that I hoped to write you more fully soon, and let you know how we are getting on at Glasgow. Since then, however, much has transpired and somehow I delayed writing until now.
"You are often in my thoughts, and am constantly remembering you at the throne of Heavenly Grace, realizing more than ever your need of help and strength in the arduous duties that devolve upon you.
"I would like to express to you my appreciation of your confidence in me in selecting me as one of the Commissioners in connection with the London difficulties, and my willingness to do anything that I could in the matter; and I would like to tell you how much I appreciated your calm, charitable judgment, and your firm but loving recommendations to those concerned, and my regret that they did not fall in with them at once. I enclose copy of letter that I wrote to Brother Crawford (after your judgment had been communicated to him) in reply to some letters I had from him; this letter will indicate to you my view of the whole matter.
"Brother P. S. L. Johnson was evidently used of the Lord in bringing to light much of the discord and lack of harmony that existed in the London Tabernacle and Office, but he surely did not go about the matter in the right way. He came to us with great messages of love and comfort and to encourage us, but am afraid he did not by any means succeed in his mission; he rather caused a great trial to come upon the brethren.
"He began his work well, and we were all impressed with his earnestness and zeal, and it may be we took too much out of him, and so helped to bring about his breakdown.
"Some of the statements he made, such as who he was and what he was, and that only himself and Brother Russell got the truth apart from the SCRIPTURE STUDIES, or could get it, made us wonder what he wanted to be at, and then when we heard of his doings and sayings at London we concluded the poor brother had gone off his head, and suspended arrangements to have him with us in St Andrew's Hall Then when I went to London and saw and heard of his actings there I had no further doubt but that his mind was unhinged. Of course, we do not blame our dear Brother Johnson; he was not responsible, but really what took place after that and before his departure to the United States was the most undignified conduct of any brother I have ever heard tell of. It was a great relief to know he had ultimately returned to Brooklyn, and I sincerely hope he is getting restored to health and strength of body and mind, and that his heart is right.
"Some one has said that he (Brother Johnson) feels that there is more work for him to do in Britain. Well I feel sure that if he comes over again having the same great ideas of himself, and such small ideas of mostly everybody else, he would neither be welcome nor a help here, but if he is fully restored and has now the mind of Christ Jesus (the humble mind) we would all be delighted to have him again. But dear Brother Rutherford, is it not within the limits of possibility for you to come over yourself. You know how we would welcome you, and what a comfort and help you would bring us. The Lord would take care of you crossing over if he wants us to get a verbal message through you.
"Now I have said nothing about how we are getting on at Glasgow, and will not wait to write much now, only to tell you that there is a good deal of harmony in our midst, and we are endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The number of those who are appreciating the Berean Studies so especially commended by our dear Brother Russell and so warmly recommended by you, is increasing, and those of us who have learned to appreciate these fully are waiting on the Lord, greatly desiring that the blessings obtained through these Studies may extend to all.
"With much love to you and to all,
"Yours in the one great Hope,
"Birkenhead, June 29, 1917.
"MY DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD: —
"Have just seen our Brother R. G. Smith and glad to get your love. I am very pleased to hear that Brother Paul Johnson is improving in health and hope the rest may do all that is required for him. He tells me that it is Brother Johnson's wish to return to this country to correct the wrong impressions he made here. His desire is good, but I think it would be a very unwise procedure indeed, and I feel sure with your sounder judgment you will not permit him to come over here again for a good long time, until his visit has died a natural death. If his interpretation of the Scripture is as when he was here, it would only result in disturbance instead of a comfort to the brethren. I am sure Brother Johnson would see the wisdom of your reasoning, if he is now well in mind and body.
"I am sure, dear brother, your hands must be full just now, but we all pray for you and feel sure the Lord will give you all you need. Faith can firmly trust Him, come what may. Is Brother Johnson in communication with Brother Housden and influencing him in his views? I am inclined to think so. I don't think he should do that now.
"Now my beloved brother in the Lord accept our united love.
"Yours in the same hope,
"DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD: —
"I have heard that Brother Johnson has the desire to return to Great Britain to finish what he considers his work here.
"Previous to Brother Johnson's dismissing Brother Shearn and Brother Crawford from the office in London I received a letter from him which I read to the Elders of the Glasgow Class, who were all unanimous in the opinion that Brother Johnson's mind had lost its balance, and we accordingly communicated with London and cancelled a meeting arranged for him in the St. Andrews Grand Hall, Glasgow. The incidents that happened from then up to the time of Brother Johnson's departure from Great Britain further confirmed us in the decision that we had come to, and personally think it would be to the advantage of the brethren here if Brother Johnson did not return at present.
"We at Glasgow, with many of the other classes, have little difficulties of our own at present, and it is only with special care and the spirit of the Lord being manifested amongst us that these difficulties can be adjusted to the benefit of the brethren, and unless Brother Johnson has improved in his health I do not think he would be of any help to us. This does not mean that Brother Johnson was of no assistance to the brethren when he
first came to Britain: in fact, I am of the opinion he helped us over here in many ways, but meantime we do not see any reason to agree with his interpretation of the Scriptures regarding "the steward."
"We daily remember you, dear brother, before the Throne of Grace, having some idea of the many difficulties that you have to contend with, and how much you will need to use that wisdom which cometh from above. May our loving Father continue to guide and direct you in all your labors of love for his dear children.
"Yours in One Hope,
NOT WANTED AGAIN IN ENGLAND
"MY DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD: —
"Greetings in our dear Lord.
"The purpose of my writing at present is just to give you some idea of the influence our Brother Paul Johnson exercised when on his Pilgrim trip in Great Britain.
"The first time I came in contact with him was at the Manchester Convention last New Year. While I could see he was a brother of great ability, yet I was not fully satisfied with his presentations, particularly his interpretation and application of the Parable of the Penny. He evidenced great loyalty to our dear Brother Russell, which pleased me much. Yet there was as I have proved since, an over statement of just what were our dear Pastor's views. I met him later at Glasgow and Aberdeen, and then finally spent two days with him here in Manchester. These two days proved to be very saddening and just went to prove some of my earlier suspicions regarding his mental condition. You are of course conversant with the fact of his several claims which it is not necessary for me to further detail, but my purpose is to write and say that instead of his presence being a comfort to the brethren it proved rather the reverse. Had he been allowed to continue his tour further the result must have been serious trouble in many of the Churches. I can assure you that if it were proposed for his return to Great Britain most of the classes would request that he be not received. If Brother Johnson feels he has a work to do in this country it is certainly not the Lord's work unless he has altered his many strange interpretations and personal applications. He told us in Manchester here that it was his sure belief that Brother Russell had been exalted to the Lord's right hand and that the left had been reserved for ANOTHER.
"You must understand the spirit in which I am writing you this note and trust it may be helpful for you at this time.
"Your brother by His grace.
A letter from Brother Hemery, dated London, June 29, 1917, says:
"Brother Johnson came to us as if charged with a special mission to comfort the British brethren. It was quite apparent that he had a considerable idea of his privilege, and also of his ability to do this work. It was strange to me that his public ministry was so unproductive, and that from almost every point of view. He neither comforted the public, nor, except in the earliest part of his ministry, the brethren amongst whom he ministered. His later claims put him out of the means of being a help to the brethren, for they want to be faithful to the channel which the Lord has given, and they could not understand anyone attempting to set themselves up as the Lord's channel, and yet in opposition to the main spokesman for that channel. Brother Johnson might think that I am speaking my own feelings when I say thus, but I am putting these out of account, and looking at the matter from the point of view of the Lord's work as I see it. I am very sure that if I were to ask the representative brethren of the country, they would, with a unanimous voice say, 'Do not on any account send us Brother Johnson.' His talents were esteemed; he himself was also esteemd until he put forward his strange claims, and showed so clearly that he had a desire for place and power. A return visit now, even if he were quite right in his attitude, would be too near his former mistakes in point of time, and such a ministry would inevitably be received with suspicion, and would fail of its desired effect"
OTHERS DISCOVERED IN CONSPIRACY
Early in the Spring of 1917 Brother Ritchie made a pilgrim trip to the Northern States and portions of Canada. Reports began to come in that he was stating to some of the friends that a division was taking place at the Bethel Home, and that had he been elected as an officer of THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY he would have considered himself a member of the Great Company Class. These reports came from numerous sources and were calculated to disturb. I had a personal talk with Brother Ritchie about the matter, in the presence of Brothers Van Amburgh and Pierson. He acknowledged that he had made such statements, but promised to do so no more. But within a week he violated that promise by making a similar statement to Brother Hazlett. A short time before that, Brother Sturgeon had made a statement to me that it was generally understood in the Bethel Home that I had used political methods to secure my election as President of the Society. Pressed for names of some who said so, he gave the name of Brother Ritchie. On a certain morning at breakfast, while Brother Pierson was present I mentioned the matter publicly to the family, and thereupon Brothers Pierson, Van Amburgh and Macmillan, who had cast most of the votes at the convention, each in turn made a statement that I had never so much as spoken to them about the election prior thereto.
I take this occasion to say that there is no person on earth who can truthfully say that I ever asked them directly or indirectly to vote for me. I thoroughly believed that whomsoever was selected to that position would be selected by the Lord, and I would not permit anyone to be influenced by anything I should say.
Brother Sturgeon further called in question the fact that some of the classes had elected me as counselor, saying that I was creating an office in the Church in order to gain prestige and power. I tried in kindness to point out to the brother that I had no desire or intention along the lines he mentioned; that I am a counselor by profession, and have been for more than 25 years; that I was counselor for several years for Brother Russell, and the Society; as well as serving many of the friends throughout the country in this same capacity.
For more than thirty years, the President of THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY managed its affairs exclusively, and the Board of Directors, so-called, had little to do. This is not said in criticism, but for the reason that the work of the Society peculiarly requires the direction of one mind. There are so many small details that if several persons had to direct them, more than half the time would be used in consultation. This was clearly demonstrated by the Executive Committee, and it was found that it took three men two hours a day what one could do in a third of that time, because of the time consumed in consultation about details, and these brethren on the committee worked in exact harmony at the same time.
In harmony with the expressed wishes of the Shareholders voiced by unanimous vote at the election in Pittsburgh, January 8,1917, as the President of THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY I have attempted to manage the affairs thereof. How well I have succeeded it is not necessary for me to say. On the 17th of July, 1917, I made a report to the full Board of Directors as to what had been accomplished. and amongst other things pointed out how I had been enabled, by the Lord's grace, to save the Society since the death of Brother Russell more than $50,000. It will be readily understood that this is not due to mismanagement on any one's part; but after Brother Russell's death, he having peculiar knowledge of the affairs, necessarily it was with difficulty that anyone would attempt to take them up. We found some arrangements made with outside parties concerning certain work, which parties attempted to repudiate contracts or to
claim damages; and out of two of these cases $40,000 in actual cash was saved. Out of another matter which required quick action, $11,000 was saved, and had it been necessary to stop and consult the Board of Directors it would probably have been too late to have saved any of it. In addition to the above we obtained a favorable decision in the Supreme Court with reference to taxes, which will probably save the Society more than $20,000 additional. Within the time mentioned I also was permitted to recover, in a contested case, more than $5,000 for the Society. It was also my privilege to handle a lawsuit in Los Angeles in behalf of some of the brethren that has resulted in a great witness to the Truth. In addition to this I had been giving attention to the arrangement of the foreign work, and was enabled to make better progress therein because of my personal acquaintance with the managers in these countries, having visited each European branch more than once. It would have taken me much longer to acquaint others with the facts than to attend to the business myself.
Shortly prior to Brother Russell's death be removed Brother Ritchie from the management of the office and placed him at some work at the Bethel Home, and placed Brother Martin as office manager.
BROTHER RUSSELL'S ARRANGEMENT CONTINUED
The following extract from the minutes of November 7, 1916. will be of interest:
"The following resolution was presented to the Board by Brother Isaac Hoskins, to wit:
"WHEREAS, Pastor C T. Russell, the President of this Corporation, on the 16th day of October, 1915, reorganized the working force of the office at 17 Hicks St. and also the work at the Bethel Home on Columbia Heights, and designated certain persons to be in charge of the respective departments of the work, to wit:
"Brother A. I. Ritchie to have the oversight of the Library Office; the Parlor, and all visitors on important business at the Bethel Home, etc.; to handle such mail as may be addressed to Brother Russell; and to receive telegrams;
"Brother R. J. Martin to have supervision over the office force and the work at the Tabernacle at 17 Hicks St;
"Brother J. L. Cooke as Superintendent of the Angelophone Company and the work in connection therewith;
"Brother Emerson to have charge of the seating of the Bethel Family at the tables, and the care of the baking for the Family, under the supervision of Brother Macmillan;
"Brother Baker, under the supervision of Brother Macmillan, to have the care of all the food supplies for Bethel, including coal, butter, etc.; also of the laundry, kitchen, cellar, and such other work as may be directed by Brother Macmillan:
"Sister Roberts to have supervision of the Bethel affairs as Matron, and to take supervision of the sisters and the work in the dining room and the house work in general, except the parlor; under the supervision of Brother Macmillan:
"AND WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Board to continue said departments in the same manner as was left by Brother Russell;
"THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the persons above named be, and they are hereby requested to continue to hold their respective positions and perform the duties required thereunder, and to make report to the Executive Committee, through its representative, until further order of the Board of Directors.
"Brother Hoskins moved the adoption of the resolution, which being seconded by Brother Pierson, was unanimously adopted by the Board.
"Motion was made by Brother Van Amburgh, and seconded by Brother Wright, that Brother A. H. Macmillan be appointed to the position of Representative of the Executive Committee, to perform such duties as said Executive Committee shall direct, and to report to said committee from time to time upon request. Unanimously carried."
Among other changes, Brother Russell took Brother Hoskins out of the Colporteur Department, and assigned him to other work. He brought Brother Macmillan in off a Pilgrim journey and asked him to take charge of the office work as General Supervisor and as the President's representative in all things about the work of the Society at headquarters. We here produce his letter to Brother Macmillan as well as a fac-simile of his autograph letter to the Tabernacle and Bethel force, also a letter of instruction to Brother Martin, who succeeded Brother Ritchie as Office Manager.
"MR. A. H. MACMILLAN,
Brandonville, W. Va.
"DEAR BROTHER MACMILLAN: —
"Yours of the 2nd inst. is at hand. Having mentioned the matter to you, I asked the Lord to direct you as respects either accepting or declining the suggestion. I accordingly accept your reply as being an indication of the Lord's will in the matter, and bid you a hearty welcome.
"When may we expect you? "With much Christian love to yourself and family and all the friends in the Truth in those parts, as ever.
Your brother and servant in the Lord,
"DEAR BROTHER MARTIN : —
"While as you know Brother Macmillan in filling the office of Assistant to the President has a general supervision of all of the work, yet in Brother Ritchie's absence there ought to be some person there at the Tabernacle who would have a special supervision of the affairs (co-operating with Brother Macmillan). It is my request dear brother, that you accept this position, which I am sure, in connection with a certain portion of the mail, will keep you very busy.
"With Christian love,
"Your brother and servant in the Lord,
THE LORD'S BLESSING HAS FOLLOWED
Brother Macmillan accepted this position as Assistant to the President and has performed his duties well, and through the efficiency of himself and Brother Martin in carrying out instructions which Brother Russell gave a short time before his departure, the office to-day is on a strict efficiency basis and is managed better than it has ever heretofore been, to my knowledge. The whole office is happy and harmonious and doing splendid work. After my election as President I deemed it the Lord's will that I should keep everyone in the position where Brother Russell had placed him, if possible. Hence Brother Macmillan was appointed to the same position he held with Brother Russell, and he has proven faithful and loyal. Brothers Hoskins and Hirsh brought to me complaints against Brother Macmillan. When I went into the office as President I made the rule to receive no accusations against a brother or sister unless the one accused was present to defend himself or herself. I so announced this rule to Brother Hirsh, and said to him. "If you desire to
bring any accusations against Brother Macmillan let us three go now and talk the matter over." He declined to do this. On three different occasions he attempted to talk to me against Brother Macmillan and I declined to listen unless Brother Macmillan be present, as that seemed to me the Lord's appointed way. The brother became quite incensed against Brother Macmillan.
For more than three months after my election everything with the Board of Directors was running smoothly. We have met more frequently than the Board ever met in Brother Russell's day, as is indicated from the following few extracts from the Minutes:
At a meeting of the Board of Directors held November 7, 1916. Present: Brothers A, I. Ritchie. A. N. Pierson, J. D. Wright, W. E. Van Amburgh. H. C. Rockwell. I. F. Hoskins and J. F. Rutherford.
Again, November 17, 1918, there was a Board meeting to pass on some formal matter.
A meeting held December 13, 19l6« — all the members being present. Minutes show that Brother Hoskins made the following motion and seconded by Brother Wright, which was duly carried, "that the Executive Board be directed to report to the Board of Directors at any meeting of the Board upon any matter which the Board might request the Committee to report.
On January 4, 1917, meeting of the Board of Directors. All the members present, except Brother Hoskins, who was sick. At that time the matter of disposing of the Drama to Brother John G. Kuehn was discussed and a motion to sell the same was unanimously carried — all present voting for it.
The contract for the sale of the Drama, was signed by Brother Ritchie, as Vice President, and Brother Van Amburgh, as Secretary and Treasurer.
On January 19, 1917, there was a joint meeting of the Board of Directors of both THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY and the PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION, at which meeting the resolutions and by-laws passed at the annual meeting held at Pittsburgh were adopted and spread upon the record by the Board of Directors, and was unanimously carried.
January 31, 1917, a meeting of the Board of Directors was held, at which certain matters of the Society was passed upon.
On February 3, 1917. a meeting of the Board of Directors was held, at which meeting Brother Ritchie made a report concerning the Angelophone Co., of which he was in charge. There was then in the bank to the credit of the Angelophone Co. approximately $18,000 of the Society's money. Brother Ritchie proposed that this be turned over to him and he would assume the obligations of the Angelophone Co. and attempt to have the parties who made the contracts with the I. B. S. A. substitute him for the Society and the I. B. S. A., and he would conduct the business in his own name. Brothers Ritchie and Wright voted for such a proposition, but it was rejected.
Subsequently, the Angelico Co. was turned over to Brother Cooke, the Society reserving the records and all rights thereto, Brother Cooke taking only the right to manufacture and sell our machines, which the Association or the Society has no right to do. Brother Cooke stated that this was the original idea of Brother Russell.
On February 8, 1917, the Board met — all present — at which time the resignation of Brother Rockwell was offered. It was filed and no action taken. At that meeting the motion was unanimously carried not to complete the sale of the Drama to the Mena Film Co.. but to take it back.
February 16, 1917, the Board met again.
March 29, 1917, there was another meeting of the Board of Directors.
The record shows that at this meeting Brother Rutherford reported the condition of the work in England and the situation in reference to Brother Johnson and what he had done.
April 16, 1917, was the next meeting.
SEEDS BEGIN TO BRING FORTH
Some time about the latter part of April Brother Hirsh began to show a desire to exercise authority upon the Board and to transact the duties of the Executive Officer. I gently called his attention to the fact that the matter mentioned was entirely within the province of the Executive and not a matter for the Board to attend to. This displeased him. Later he brought to me a letter he had written to a brother, in which he stated in substance that the Board of Directors were the managers and the President was subject to their control. I kindly remarked to Brother Hirsh that it was hardly in harmony with the facts and that I did not see the necessity of sending out such a letter. That displeased him. Similar objections were made by Brother Hoskins and on several occasions he stated that "We, the Board, are the managers and we will give the orders."
Notwithstanding the shareholders at Pittsburgh passed a by-law declaring that the President shall always be the Executive Officer of the corporation and General Manager, which by-law was later passed by the Board of Directors, these brethren disregarded the same and insisted that the Board should manage the Society's affairs. I tried to reason with them, but in vain. On the 20th of June a meeting of the Board was called for the purpose of hearing the report of the Committee on Brother Johnson's visit to England. After this business was disposed of satisfactorily to all persons, Brother Hirsh drew from his pocket a resolution which he had prepared in advance and offered the same, which resolution provided that the management of the corporation should be taken out of the hands of the President, and that the Board should take charge and give directions as to what should be done. Brother Hoskins said, "We have been consulting lawyers and we know what we can do." I tried to point out to them that such a resolution would be overriding the wishes of the shareholders at large. To this they replied, "The Board of Directors are not answerable to the shareholders." Brother Pierson then kindly remonstrated, saying: "Brethren, I think we had better not try to disturb what the shareholders have done." After considerable discussion it was agreed among all persons that the Board should adjourn for one month, at which time the question would be taken up and settled, Brother Pierson announcing that it would be inconvenient for him to return before a month.
When in conversation with Brother Johnson he stated to me that he could take a Pilgrim trip. I asked the office to make out a route for him, which was done, and the friends notified along the way. On the same day a pilgrim route was made out for Brother Hoskins for two weeks. He was doing practically nothing, and the opportunities for service being good, we thought it well that he go out on a trip, I was taking a trip for the same two weeks. We asked Brother Hoskins to go. The next morning I received a note from Brother Hoskins, declining to make this pilgrim trip. The same morning I met Brother Johnson in the dining room and he approached me, saying, "I do not feel able to go on this pilgrim trip." I suggested that he have only one meeting a day, and that he go as far as Columbus, his home, as he had not seen his wife since last November. Then he said. "No, I decline to go." I said, "Brother Johnson, some of the friends in the house believe that you are fomenting trouble, and that you are engineering a conspiracy to try to break up the work here as you did in Great Britain. Now I ask you. in the interest of peace and harmony, that you go away from Bethel." He replied, "I decline to do it: the Lord is displeased with you; you are a usurper; I will not go." Then I said. "Brother Johnson, I demand that you leave the Bethel Home." He retorted. "I appeal to the Board of Directors," and left me. The next morning Brother Johnson came to me and said. "Why can't we talk this matter over?" I said, "Very good, but I have not time now," He began to say a few words about my being a usurper and the Lord being displeased with me. and I replied. "Brother Johnson, the Lord is my judge and not you." Then in a heated manner he said, shaking his finger at me, "We are consulting lawyers and we know what we can do with you." Brother Martin and Brother Eshleman were near by and I called them to witness what he said, but he left in anger and refused to repeat it.
WOULD FORCE HIS RETURN TO GREAT BRITAIN
The very same day, to wit, June 21, 1917, I received the following letter:
"DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD: —
"In view of matters which require early attention, we, the undersigned, request that you call a meeting of the Board of Directors of THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY to convene not later than Wednesday, June 27th. This will allow ample time to notify all the members of the Board.
"J. D. WRIGHT.
"R. H. HIRSH,
"I. F HOSKINS."
In reply to this letter I spoke to the brethren personally, saying it would not be convenient to have a meeting be-
cause Brother Pierson could not come. They came next day and insisted that I should call the meeting anyhow. I told them I would write Brother Pierson and see if he could come. His reply was that he could not because he had made arrangements with his son to remain at his place of business until the middle of July. Later, I received from said brethren the following letter:
"DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD: —
"Whereas the former petition did not meet with the President's approval, we, the undersigned, members of the Board of Directors of THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, hereby repeat our request for a meeting of the Board, on the following grounds: That we, members of the Board of Directors, desire information regarding the "Temple," also in respect to the financial condition of the Society, and other matters of importance — Conventions, etc.; and for the transaction of such other business of the Society as might properly come before the Board.
"It is not, however, our thought at this meeting to attempt to pass on the unfinished business of the previous meeting of the Board.
"While Brother Ritchie was in favor of leaving the unfinished business of the last meeting, until a later meeting of the Board, in July, still he insisted that according to our request, you should be respectful of our petition and call a meeting of the Board of Directors to-day.
"J. D. WRIGHT,
"ISAAC F. HOSKINS,
"R. H. HIRSH."
To this I replied as follows:
"MESSRS. A. I. RITCHIE, R. H. HIRSH,
I. F. HOSKINS AND J. D. WRIGHT,
"DEAR BRETHREN: —
"Your note of this date, handed to me after the noon meal by Brother Hirsh, is before me, in which you request a meeting of the Board to-day on the ground stated therein.
"As to the financial condition of the Society, no one could give that information in detail except Brother Van Amburgh, and he is out of the city. I have no information of any consequence that I could give you.
"As to the Conventions, etc, all the information that I have I furnished to the Editorial Committee, and it is now in print, except the programs, which the Pilgrim Department with Brother Macmillan, is now making up. I will request them to submit to you a copy of the Program, or anything in connection with the Conventions.
"I believe this covers everything that you have asked, and I have answered at fully as I can.
"Your brother and servant by His Grace,
Brother Van Amburgh, the Secretary, was then away and it was impossible to give them the information desired. I went away for two weeks. During the major portion of the time of my absence Brother Van Amburgh, the Secretary and Treasurer was at home. Brother Macmillan who is Vice President of the PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION, which owns all the property in New York and controls the office and home, and who is also the Representative of the President, was in charge.
From time to time some of the four brethren above mentioned intimated to various members of the office force that they would soon be in charge, and that the work would be conducted in a different manner. This created a disturbance in the office, because the office force were not willing to work under the direction of the brethren above mentioned, because they seriously doubted their ability to manage the work, as well as their authority to do so.
OPENLY DEFIED RULES ALL HAD SOLEMNLY AGREED TO
The office has a set of rules which are printed, and each one of the force and all in the Bethel Home have copies. These rules were read both at the Bethel Home and Tabernacle, after being approved by the Board of Directors, and everyone, with uplifted hand, agreed to abide by them, including Brothers Hirsh, Hoskins, Wright and Ritchie. One of the rules of the office is as follows:
"It is understood that no member of the Board of Directors has any authority to give orders or directions about the work individually; that the Board acts in an official capacity when in session as a board, and while any member of the Board is engaged in office work he will be subject to these rules the same as though he were not a member of the Board."
"The office is private during office hours, and only those who are employed in the office shall be admitted there during such hours, except officers of the Society or their secretary or representative, or members of an official committee may be admitted at any time."
The four brethren above named were neither officers nor representatives of officers nor members of any official committee.
These four brethren, covering a period of three or four weeks, held conferences several times during the day at the Bethel Home, in various rooms, disregarding and neglecting the work of the Society. On the 5th day of July, while having one of these conferences, one of the members was overheard to say; "Let us go to the office right now and demand" so and so. The hearer understood them to mean that they should command control. Communicating this fact to the office, within a few minutes thereafter the four arrived is a body and approaching the manager of the office, Brother Martin, demanded to know why he had given certain orders about admittance to the office. He produced the rules and showed it to them. While this conversation was in progress Brother Macmillan, the Vice President and General Manager, in the absence of the President, approached the four and said, "Brethren you are disturbing the office force, contrary to the rules." To this Brother Ritchie replied, "You go and sit down; that is none of your business." Brother Hirsh, waiving his fist at Brother Macmillan, said, "You are a big bluffer; you can't bluff us." Brother Hoskins said, "We, the Board of Directors, put you where you are and we will give you orders." This unusual language and conduct in the office disturbed the office force. Brother Macmillan three times invited them outside the office to talk the matter over, and three times they declined.
REMEMBERS SEIZURE OF LONDON OFFICE
Brother Macmillan having a few minutes before received a telephone message from the Bethel from the one who had overheard a conversation by these four brethren that they were going to the office to take charge; and having knowledge of what Brother Johnson had done in England in forcibly taking charge of the office, the safe, and the mail, and tying up the money in the bank by litigation; and having been instructed by myself to guard well the Treasurer's office and the safes, and to see that no one took forcible charge, and, fearing these brethren went there under Brother Johnson's direction to forcibly take charge, he called a policeman, to put these brethren out. In the meantime they approached the office of the Secretary, Brother Van Amburgh, and demanded that he join them in a meeting of the Board. The Secretary refused, saying that the President was absent and he declined to have anything to do with any of their meetings.
This information being communicated to me by wire to Duluth, Minnesota, where I then was, and being also informed that they were consulting a lawyer whom I knew, I wired him, "Please let the matter stand until I return."
On the 10th and 11th of July I was in Chicago, engaged in the trial of a lawsuit for one of the friends. On the night of the 10th of July, Brother Wisdom arrived at the hotel where I stopped and informed me that he had made an extra long journey in order to see me on a matter of great importance. He then told me that while at Bethel a few days before he had had a talk with some of the above brethren and found them in very bad spirits. Among other things he said, "Evil speaking is being freely indulged in by these poor deluded brethren. I pity them from the bottom of my heart." He then informed me that he had traveled on train on Saturday night for more than five hours with Brother Hirsh, and that they had discussed the matter of the Society's affairs. I quote Brother Wisdom's language. "They
(referring to the above four) are set, therefore, upon breaking you, and say emphatically that nothing will break their purpose save the death of one of their members of the Board." Brother Wisdom further said, "I tried to reason with this poor brother, but reason seems to have gone from him altogether." Further Brother Wisdom said to me: "I learned from them that they are determined to oust Brother Macmillan and permit you to continue as President without power and that they are to run things, you to give your approval, your consent is not to be asked for." Brother Wisdom further said that Brother Hirsh stated to him that if they could not get control by peaceful methods then their purpose is to invoke the law of man, tie up the money of the Society in the Bank so no one could draw it except themselves. He further said, "Then if you will not bow before them it will prove that you are rebellious." They further said to Brother Wisdom "If ruin follows in the wake, it will be the 'Judge' (referring to myself) who will be responsible altogether."
BROTHER WISDOM'S LETTER
A few days later, Brother Wisdom wrote me the following letter:
"DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD: —
"In view of the trying experiences through which you and your associates are passing it seems proper that I should give you in writing a brief summary of what I said to you in person while in Chicago.
The essence of the charges made against you by the 'Board Member' who apparently assumed to speak for the other three with whom he is in league, might be comprehended in one sentence: You are a usurper of authority. But to particularize briefly: You have over-ridden the Charter of the Society, set aside its By-laws and ignored the Will of the Founder. In short that you are running everywhere with a high hand, without regard to the law of God or man.
"The 'sore spot' seems to be that you have not 'consulted' what some one has dubbed the 'Big Four' in every little detail pertaining to the management of affairs — in other and plainer words that they would and should be the Real directors of things.
"It is openly charged — and this was repeatedly stated to me, that you are set upon ruining the Society if you cannot run things your own way, in other words, you are actuated altogether by a 'Rule or Ruin Spirit. Quoting the words of our victorious Pastor, 'They seem to be guilty of the very things they charge against you.' (This from a letter written just a short time before his death, a copy of which is in my possession.) They say they are regarded as but 'Dummies,' and apparently they would make of you a 'Figurehead.' This seems to be their real purpose — to take all power out of your hands save what they are willing that you should exercise.
"It is freely charged that you have set aside Brother Russell's arrangements in the conduct of affairs at headquarters. They specialize in this the contract of sale of the Drama, the 'throwing out,' as they expressed it, of the Anglophone, and changing the methods of conducting the Pastoral Work. Then you have set Brother Macmillan over everybody and everything, one whom they brand as a Czar and scoundrel. They seem to think no more of 'evil speaking' than of the anticipated pleasure of sitting down and eating a good dinner I could not repeat the awful things they said to me about dear brother Mac — not merely the case of a wrong head but wrong heart, that in effect he is a disgrace to the Lords cause, I listened to all this without remonstrance for I wanted to see how far they would go and how much of the Spirit of the Adversary they would manifest, besides I well knew that reproofs would be worse than useless, a waste of energy. I feel sure that this was but the work of the Devil. From certain other information that came to me, I believe I would be warranted in surmising that this 'evil speaking' is being freely indulged in by these poor deluded Brethren. I pity them from the bottom of my heart, for I love them all.
"So this is the kind of a man you have chosen for your Lieutenant and they are resolved that 'this man shall not rule over them.' They are set therefore upon 'breaking you,' and say emphatically that nothing will change their purpose, save the death of one of their members of the Board — the officers are not considered as members — THEY are THE Board of Directors.
"For some reason the Lord seems to have purposed that I should have become possessed of these facts, for I really tried to evade what came to me. (The manner I have already explained to you.) I tried to reason with this poor Brother but reason seems to have gone from him altogether. I then warned him of what the results would be if they pursued the course outlined to me — that it would surely wreck the work of the Society. He freely admitted that he too saw this, but there is a GREAT Principle at stake which to forsake would mean the loss of his crown, the Prize. Therefore to my warning he was immune. I then pleaded with him to let Brotherly Love continue, to control. He professed deep Love for you, but protested that he must be faithful to his stewardship or lose the Crown promised to the faithful stewards. He just had to do what he did not like to do, etc. So all my efforts were in vain. I made no impression whatever, though we continued this talk from a little after eight o'clock till a quarter of one A. M.
"The gist of their purpose being to oust Brother Mac and permit you to continue as President without power — what they call 'The Board,' the 'Big Four,' are to run things, you to give your approval, your consent is not to be asked for. If they cannot get control by peaceful methods then their purpose is to invoke the law of man, tie up the money in the Bank, so no one but these of their designation can draw. They protest however that this would not be appealing to Caesar, but I would like to know what else it in reality is, as I said to the brother. Then if you will not 'bow to them,' it would 'prove that you are rebellious,' etc. What next they would do was not explained, but if ruin follows in the wake of such course it would be the 'Judge' who would be responsible altogether. You are not spoken of as Brother by these, it seems.
"There may be other points I touched upon in my talk with you which I have omitted; if so, it is merely because they have slipped from my mind for the moment. However, if you recall any points which in your opinion would be of service to you, then refresh my mind please.
"In closing. I think I should say that if I did not firmly believe you and your co-laborers to be in the absolute right in this controversy, I would say so just as freely as I made the statements herein. I am not thinking or considering man's approval. I stand for what I believe to be the Lord's arrangement The Lord put you Brethren where you are, not man. It is hard therefore for me to believe that man should put you out. But His will be done.
"In sincerest love and sympathy,
"Your brother by His Grace,
Learning that it was the determination of these brothers to take charge of the Society and run it or wreck it (which in my opinion would be the sure result if they did take charge) and knowing that they had no legal right to do so, I considered seriously what my steps should be. I consulted some prominent and wise brethren as to my course. I asked, "Shall I resign as President and let these opposing ones take charge?" Each one of the brethren replied, "Brother, the Lord put you where you are, and to resign or quit would be disloyal to the Lord."
SOCIETY'S ONLY POSSIBLE COURSE
I left Chicago on the night of the 11th and went to Pittsburgh, and there took legal action to have a proper and legal Board constituted as hereinafter explained. I did this as a last resort. On Friday, the 13th, I arrived at Brooklyn, and that day I had a conversation with Brother Ritchie and stated to him that I probably would have to be away the latter part of the week and suggested that we meet as a Board on Tuesday, the 17th of July. He replied, "I think that will suit us better." I thereupon sent notice to Brother Pierson, and served notice on each of the brethren above named, calling the meeting for Tuesday, July 17th. The next
day the four brothers addressed a letter to Brother Pierson saying that the meeting would not be held on the 17th. Receiving this information Brother Pierson telegraphed me to know why. I wired him that I had no notice that the meeting could not be held; that the four brethren were at the Bethel Home and the meeting would be held, and for him to come. On the afternoon of Monday. July 16th, the following letter was handed to me by Brother Hirsh:
"J. F. RUTHERFORD,
"DEAR BROTHER: —
"Your note is received advising us that a meeting of the Board of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY is called for Tuesday morning, July 17. Thanks.
"In reply we would say that your course has been such in respect to the matter in question as to complicate it to such an extent that we will not now be ready to have a meeting of the Board before the 20th.
"We have recently handed you three or four requests for a meeting, at which we hoped that our affairs might have been settled amicably and in short order; but we were refused. Additionally, untrue and false talk has been spread abroad about us, and threats of violence have been issued by your 'special representative' — violence being attempted, and that against four of the legally constituted managers and officers of our Society. We have only to repeat what we say above: there will be no Board meeting before the 20th instant, if then.
"We will advise you when we shall be in a position for a Board meeting.
"J. D. WRIGHT,
"A. I. RITCHIE,
"L F. HOSKINS."
WHO CONSTITUTE THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS?
Having in mind the experiences of the meeting of the Board held on the 20th day of June, and seeing that these brethren were showing a bad spirit, I saw it was necessary for me to disclose what I had known since January, 1909, but which no one else except Brother Russell knew, so far as my knowledge goes or had occasion to find out. In order that you may understand why I took the action hereinafter mentioned, I briefly describe the legal status of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY and the PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION.
The WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY is a Pennsylvania corporation, and its operations from a legal standpoints are confined to that State. The law, as well as its charter, requires that the Board of Directors and officers must be chosen at meetings held in the State of Pennsylvania, and no where else. The provision of the Charter is that where vacancies occur in the Board of Directors these vacancies shall be filled by the remaining members thereof within twenty days after the vacancy occurs, and failing to fill such vacancy or vacancies within thirty days the President is then authorized to fill such vacancy or vacancies, and the person so selected by either method shall hold office as Director until the next annual election to be held by the shareholders.
The Charter also provides that the Board of Directors shall hold office for life, but this part of the Charter is contrary to the statute of Pennsylvania which provides that he shall hold for one year. The facts show that Brother J. D. Wright was elected in 1904 by the Board of Directors, and his term of office therefore expired in January, 1905. I. F. Hoskins was elected by the Board in 1908 and not re-elected since. A. I. Ritchie was elected in 1911 and afterwards elected to office as Vice President, his term expiring January 6th, 1917, when Brother A. N, Pierson was elected as his successors. Brother R. H. Hirsh was elected by action of the Board, so-called, at Brooklyn in March, 1917. Neither of these brethren have resided in the State of Pennsylvania for more than five years. Neither of these brethren were legal members of the Board of Directors, as would appear from the legal opinion by Mr. H. M. McCaughey, a well known corporation lawyer of Philadelphia. We quote from his written opinion as follows: —
"With respect to the first question: Is there a legal Board of Directors? If so, who are members of the Board? Section 17 of the statute expressly provides that the Board shall be chosen annually by the shareholders or members. This provision of the Act is mandatory, because it is well settled by judicial authority that the charter of the corporation cannot grant powers or privileges contrary to or inconsistent with the statute; in which case all acts done in pursuance of such legal power embraced in articles of incorporation would be invalid. (10 Cyc, Law & Procedure 822-223, Albright vs. Lafayette Assn. 102 Pa. St 411.)
"Again 'where the statute authorizes the election of the Board of Directors, any scheme or organisation which dispenses with the statute may be regarded as a fraud upon the corporation.' (10 Cyc L. & P. 318.)
"Therefore, it is obvious that the directors who were not elected by the vote of the shareholders cannot serve the corporation in that capacity, nor exercise any of the rights and privileges attaching to said office. Otherwise, the Board would be exercising greater authority than that granted by the Act of Assembly, giving corporate existence to the Society itself. In a word, the directors of the Society can possess or exercise no greater authority than expressed by the Act of Assembly. The Society is the creature of the Act of Assembly, and all rights and liabilities of the officers and directors must be controlled, governed and regulated by the provision of the Act.
"Further, any provision of the charter which is contrary to the statute will be disregarded and that part of the charter which is in harmony with the statute will be upheld. Hence, that part of the charter providing that the Board shall hold office for life, is obviously of no legal effect, because expressly repugnant to the Act of Assembly which states that the directors shall hold office for one year.
"Paragraph 8th of the charter will be construed to mean what it says; namely, that where a vacancy occurs in the Board of Directors, then the remaining members of the Board may within twenty days meet and fill such vacancy, and if the vacancy be not filled within thirty days, then the President may appoint some one to fill the vacancy, but the person so selected by either method could hold office only until the next annual election held by the members or shareholders. This is the only construction in harmony with the statute. In fact. it is a rule of Law that where the subject matter contains no ambiguity and is free from difficulty, it will be construed to mean exactly what the words imply. Therefore, the conclusion is irresistible that Messrs. Wright, Hoskins, and Ritchie are in no sense of the word legally members of the Board of Directors and any acts performed by them in that capacity would be void and of no legal effect and they would be answerable individually to any persons dealing with them.
"With respect to Mr. Hirsh, the facts show that he was elected by the Board of directors after H. C. Rockwell, whom he succeeded, had resigned. Rockwell himself under the facts, was never legally a member of the Board.
"But grant, however, that a legal vacancy did exist, for argument sake, the charter expressly provided that if the Board neglects to fill the vacancy within thirty days, thereupon and in that event, the President has exclusive authority to supply the vacancy. Rockwell's resignation was accepted February 8th, 1917, and Hirsh was elected by the Board of Directors March 29th, 1917, more than thirty days after Rockwell's resignation. The right to fill the vacancy at that time rested with the President and the act of the Board, so called, was a usurpation of the authority of the President, and in direct conflict with the charter, and for that reason, of no avail. An additional reason why that the election of Hirsh was wholly illegal, is that the meeting was held in the State of New York, while the charter provides that the meetings shall be held in the City of Allegheny, Pennsylvania. His election to the Board was wholly extra-territorial and for that additional reason, absolutely and indisputably illegal and void. Under no circumstances then can it be held that Hirsh is a legal member of the Board and any acts done or performed by him in that capacity would be void and of no legal effect.
OFFICERS ARE ALWAYS MEMBERS OF BOARD
"As to who are the legal representatives of the Society, it is apparent that Messrs. Rutherford, Pierson, and Van Amburgh are the only persons who are qualified to act as such. They were elected to office at the annual meeting of the So-
ciety's members or shareholders on the 6th day of January 1917, in pursuance to a vote of the shareholders legally present and represented in Allegheny, Penna. The shareholders exclusively possess the elective franchise and they alone can exercise constituent powers, and they alone have the right to elect officers. This meeting was held in strict compliance with the provisions of the charter itself. It follows that these men alone, possess the authority to act for and in behalf of the corporation. The fact that the full Board of Directors was not elected is wholly immaterial. The shareholders did elect three officers, who by virtue of their election to office, and the terms of the charter naming the first Board of Directors, possess all the rights and privileges of Directors. In short, it being admitted that there was a meeting of the members held at the principal office of the corporation in pursuance to the provisions of the charter, at which Messrs. Rutherford, Pierson and Van Amburgh were elected, they are charged with the responsibility of the administration of the affairs of the Society and cannot be held responsible to any one but the Society. They can be held responsible and are responsible to the shareholders who elected them at the regular annual meeting. There being a vacancy in the Board of Directors and the shareholders neglecting to supply that vacancy, and no Board of Directors having supplied it within thirty days, the President could appoint members to make up the full Board, provided that the minimum number of directors required are residents of Pennsylvania when so appointed.
THE PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION
In 1909 Brother Russell desired to move the work of the Society to Brooklyn. I was at Pittsburgh at the time, at his request, looking into some legal matters for the Society. Brother Russell asked me to see if the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY could be registered as a corporation in the State of New York. After a thorough examination of the matter I told him it could not be done, because it is a nonstock corporation organized under the laws of Pennsylvania and there is no provision in the law of the State of New York for registering such a foreign corporation. Asked, then, what could be done, I told Brother Russell that a new corporation could be organized in the State of New York, to do the Society's work there; and he requested me to prepare a charter and organize such a corporation, which I did.
In the Spring of 1909 the PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION was organized under the membership corporation law of New York State. Just about that time, as many will remember, a conspiracy arose against Brother Russell, in which the conspirators were attempting to oust him as Pastor of the congregation at Pittsburgh, and also to wreck the Society Brother Russell asked if some provision could be made as a protection against such rebellions, in the organization of the new corporation. I remember replying to Brother Russell to the effect that I would draw such a charter as would make it impossible for any of the rebels to get him out during his life time. I wrote the Charter of the PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION, which charter gives the President thereof the absolute power and control of everything in the State of New York, pertaining to the Society's affairs. A Provision of that Charter reads:
"The said corporation shall have as officers the following: A President who shall be elected by the Board of Directors at the first meeting thereof, and shall hold his office for life, and whose duty shall be to preside at the meetings of the corporation or of the Board of Directors and have the general supervision and control and management of the business and affairs of said corporation."
The work thereafter was moved to the State of New York and all the property purchased in the name of the New York corporation, and all the legal affairs of the Society were done in its name.
THE LEGAL STATUS
The question then arose between Brother Russell and myself as to what would be the privileges of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY from a legal standpoint in the State of New York. I advised him that it had no legal standing in New York. Then he replied, "I would like to preserve the name and have the correspondence done in its name as the friends are better acquainted with THE WATCH TOWER SOCIETY." I replied that this could be done so long as no one raised any legal question, and the Society would be maintained with all of its original powers provided the annual elections are held in Pittsburgh.
The statute of Pennsylvania under which the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY is organized expressely provides that at least three members of the Board shall be residents of the State of Pennsylvania, and that the members of the Board of Directors shall be elected by a meeting held in the State of Pennsylvania by the shareholders, and vacancies filled by the Board or the President acting in the State of Pennsylvania.
After the outbreak by Messrs. Hirsh, Hoskins and others at the Bethel Home, I saw some action would be necessary. I tried to tell them something about the legal status of the two Societies, but did not succeed. I saw it would be necessary to submit some legal proof. Brother Ritchie remarked that "if you can show me by the law that the President is entitled to be the manager, then I will submit: I want to do the right thing." As I considered the matter I thought it best to procure a legal opinion from some lawyer who had no interest in the matter, and consequently I called upon a well known corporation lawyer in Philadelphia, who is thoroughly familiar with the laws of that State, and submitting to him a copy of the official records and the charter, he prepared a written opinion, and he held, as seen by the opinion foregoing, that neither Wright, Ritchie, Hirsh nor Hoskins were legal members of the Board of Directors and that the President had the right to appoint four members. The directors of the corporation should have been elected at Pittsburgh at the annual election in January.
Naturally, you will ask, Why, then, did you not give such advice at this election? My reply is that I had known this condition since 1909; but had I so stated at Pittsburgh in January, I would have laid myself open to the criticism that I was at once beginning to upset the course taken by Brother Russell, and subsequent criticism by certain brethren proves that my conclusion in that respect was right. I reasoned that we would let it stand as long as everything went harmoniously, as Brother Russell and myself had once agreed; then there would be no occasion to disturb that course.
MOVING CAUSE FOR APPOINTING FOUR MEMBERS OF THE BOARD
When I went to Pittsburgh to appoint four members of the Board, the following facts were in my mind:
The four brothers mentioned had expressed their determination to take the management of the affairs of the Society out of my hands where it was legally placed, both by the shareholders and the Board of Directors, and put it in their hands.
The Bethel Family was in a high nervous state because of the course of conduct the four had been pursuing for some weeks.
The office force was disturbed, and threatened to leave the moment these four took charge.
Several of the pilgrims had expressed their determination to quit the work if these four took charge.
Some of the four had stated that they were consulting lawyers to see what they could do with me.
One of their number had made a covert threat to me in the presence of others that the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY could take away the funds, so that the PEOples PULPIT ASSOCIATION could not operate in New York.
The statement made to Brother Wisdom by Brother Hirsh, one of the four, to the effect that they were set upon "breaking me" and nothing could change their purpose save the death of one of their members, and if they could not get possession by peaceful methods they would invoke the law, and tie up the money in the bank so no one could draw it but them; and that if I would not bow before them it would prove that I was rebellious and if the ruin of the Society should follow I would be to blame and responsible altogether.
This threat, coupled with the action that Brother Johnson had taken in England in actually going into the courts and tying up the money of the Society, and taking money out of the safe and forcibly taking possession of the office, and knowing that he was advising these four brethren and directing their course led me to believe that they fully intended to attempt the carrying out their threat.
The question with me, then, was: Shall I stand by and see the work of the Society wrecked and disrupted, or shall I use the legal power which the Lord has put in my hands by reason of putting me in the office of president, to prevent this wrongful act being perpetrated upon you and all the shareholders throughout the world?
I meditated and prayed over the matter very much, be-
sides consulting other brethren as above indicated. I came to the conclusion that it was my duty to use the power which the Lord had put into my hands to support the interests of the shareholders and all others interested in the Truth throughout the world who are looking to me to perform my duties in a faithful manner; and to be unfaithful to them would be unfaithful to the Lord. I resolved to take action.
Knowing that the law required three members of the Board to be residents of the State of Pennsylvania, and that the appointment should be made in Pennsylvania, I went to Pittsburgh, and on the 12th day of July, 1917, there appointed Dr. W. E. Spill and Brother J. A. Bohnet, of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and Brother George H. Fisher, of Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Brother A. H. Macmillan, of New York, as members of the Board of Directors.
Each of the above named brethren signed a written acceptance of such appointment. We then had a full and complete Board of seven members, to-wit: Brothers Van Amburgh, Pierson, Spill, Bohnet, Macmillan, Fisher, and Rutherford. All of these brethren signed a statement consenting to a meeting of the Board of Directors, agreeing that meeting of the Board of Directors should be held July 17, 1917. I had given notice of this meeting to the above aforesaid brethren, Wright, Ritchie, Hirsh and Hoskins, as will be seen by the correspondence hereinbefore set out, and had their acknowledgment of receipt of such notice and a declination to attend the meeting that time because they were not yet ready. On the morning of the 17th of July I again announced at the Bethel table the meeting of the Board of Directors, and one of the above four approached me and in a very insolent manner said, "There will be no meeting of the Board of Directors to-day; you understand that!" I merely replied, "Very well, brother."
At the hour designated, the duly and legally constituted Board of Directors of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY met, as per notice and consent in writing, and transacted business in proper form. At that meeting I made a written report of the activities and work of the Society since the death of Brother Russell, and after hearing the report, the Board of Directors prepared and signed and passed a resolution, an exact copy of which appears on front page.
The actions of at least two of the four brethren above named taken subsequently to their threats shows their intentions of carrying into effect their threat Their scheme was to get up excitement amongst the friends on the score that I was overriding the will and ignoring the Board of Directors in the management of the Society, and after creating considerable sentiment against me, then to pass a resolution taking out of my hands the management of the Society's affairs. They expected a meeting of the Board of Directors to be held on the 20th of July. On Sunday night, the 15th of July, and before they had any intimation that I had taken action to appoint members of the Board, Brother Hoskins cancelled his appointment at Bridgeton, N. J., and met Brother Hirsh at Philadelphia, neither of them having an appointment there, but they both appeared, and at a meeting of the Ecclesia made accusations against Brother Van Amburgh and myself and had the friends very much stirred up. The day before, I had called a meeting of the Brooklyn congregation for another purpose to be held on Wednesday night, July 18th. Their purpose was to prevent a meeting of the Board until after the Brooklyn congregation had met, at which time they expected to start another row and then on the 20th meet as the Board of Directors to tie my hands and, if I protested, they would tie up the funds of the bank. To be discredited before two congregations would have appeared as some justification to deprive me of the management of the Society.
All of this they were doing, because they had not been honored as much as they thought they were entitled to be.
The Philadelphia Class invited me to come there on the night of the 20th and make a statement of the facts. In the afternoon before I started to Philadelphia Brother Hirsh came to me and said: "Brother Rutherford, can't we fix this thing up?" I replied: "I am always willing to fix up anything if it can be done right" He said: "Can't you put us back as we were before?" I said: "No, Brother Hirsh, I cannot, and there is no use to discuss this point" He then said: "If you will put me back on the Board, I will go out to Philadelphia to-night and make it more than right with them and satisfy everybody." This I promptly declined, saying: "No, Brother Hirsh. I shall offer you nothing to take that stand; go to Philadelphia and tell the truth. You did very wrong in going there the other night and saying what you did. Now, if you want to do the right thing, go and tell them the truth, if you think the Lord would have you do that, but I shall make no agreement with you to induce you to do it"
NO REAL FAULT FOUND
At no time have the above named four brethren or any other person shown or made any charge that the President has in any manner misconducted or mismanaged the corporation. They seem to have suddenly taken on an unfortunate desire to receive honor as members of the Board of Directors and to insist on exercising authority in giving orders about how the work should be done. I cannot so well express it myself as it is expressed in a letter written me by one of the pilgrim brothers, which I hereto attach:
"DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD:
"My heart rejoices, after my stay at Bethel, to note the loyalty, moderation, and wisdom from above displayed by the brethren, specially on the part of those left in charge to represent the Society's Management. With both sorrow and chagrin I observed the fallacious reasoning of some who think it is a serious blunder that they are not made more prominent. From my observation at home and in the field, I fear that these same brethren, instead of stirring up the pure minds of the friends, are sowing disloyalty to the Truth and to the service.
"Instead of this procedure meeting with sympathy it is revealing how great a disadvantage to the work it would be were such granted greater power. It is also observable that the wrong spirit is leading to misapplications of Scripture and the very Scriptures which read rightly would reveal the wrongness of their course, misread, prove to them that they are right How sad to see dear brethren approaching the 'outer darkness.'
"It would not be your fault, dear Brother Rutherford, if a brother's over appreciation of his selfish interests, and his under appreciation of the interests of the Lord's people, limited his usefulness and consequently his prominence in the service. How evident it is that loving service toward the brethren is given second place or completely lost sight of when such seek to stir up human sympathy on their side. What can this be but the arm of flesh? The grievance is not that the Lord's people are not served, nor that the service is hindered, but the entire grievance is: they are not honored. These seem willing that the cause shall suffer in order that their precious end may be attained.
"What power is there in Christ except that given by the Head? The Church is not a democracy, as these seem to think. When men seek by influence, majorities, sympathies to gain power and prominence not given by the Lord they surely overlook the Divine authority in the Church. On the other hand, dear brother, you so carefully seek the mind and will of the Lord that it gives the brethren confidence in you. Because of this the love and esteem they give you is more to be valued than that based on human favoritism.
"We can well tremble to think of the possible consequence of rebellion against our covenant of obedience to the will of Christ in favor of our human will.
"Be assured that if some make evident that they no longer 'hold the Head' in proper esteem, others of us are drawn yet nearer to our Head, nearer to each other, and closer to yourself and in loyalty to the service which it is our meat and drink to accomplish.
"Praying that every test may find us loyal to His will and our covenant of sacrifice, I remain,
"Yours in the love and service of Christ,
THEIR GRIEVANCES AND INTENTIONS
The four brethren who have taken a position in opposition to the affairs of the Society and refusing to attend the meeting of the Board of Directors, and the Bethel family being so disturbed about the conditions prevailing, it became necessary for me to make a statement publicly in the Dining Room, which was done Tuesday, the 17th of July, at the conclusion of which the attorney for Messrs. Hirsh, Hoskins and others made a lengthy statement, followed by impas-
sioned speeches on the part of Brothers Hirsh and Hoskins. In the course of his remarks, Brother Hirsh stated that the intention of the four was to put Brother Macmillan out of the position where Brother Russell had placed him; that they thought he should be punished. Finding nothing serious that he could charge me with, Brother Hirsh there, for the first time, charged that I had gotten my articles in THE WATCH TOWER instead of articles written by Brother Russell. To show that his statement was unfair, I asked him publicly who was in possession of the manuscript that Brother Russell left, and he answered that he was, which was true. It was placed in his possession shortly after he became a member of the Editorial Committee, and I have never at any time interfered with the publication of any of it. On the contrary, I prepared three articles on faith, hope and love, and it was at the urgent request of Brother Hirsh that two of these have been published and that the other may be published. I have not asked that these be published. In fact, there has never been a disagreement between the Editorial Committee as to what shall go in, and no one member has attempted to dictate, but the committee has left it largely to Brother Hirsh to select the copy and submit it to the others for approval. He made a similar charge with reference to THE BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY — "Why Do the Nations War?" I desire here to state what I stated before the family, that it was at the urgent request of Brother Hirsh, supplemented by the requests of Brothers Van Amburgh and Sturgeon, that I consented that this volunteer issue be gotten out. I in no wise requested it myself.
ABOUT 1917 VOLUNTEER MATTER
In support of this I append hereto an affidavit of Brother Hudgings, who has charge of all the printing for the Society, and which he prepared wholly without my knowledge or request:
"I, William F. Hudgings, hereby certify under oath to the following facts known to me personally to be correct and true:
"(1) That all matter appearing in the current volunteer issue of THE BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY, Vol. 9, No. 5, was selected and arranged for publication by Brother Robert H. Hirsh; that he very earnestly urged the publication of two of Brother J. F. Rutherford's sermons therein, entitled 'Why Do the Nations War?' and 'Why the Clergy Attack Pastor Russell?'; that Brother Rutherford took little or no personal interest in the issuance of this volunteer number, that no instructions, written or oral, were given by him to the Society's Printing Department relative thereto, and that he was away on a lecture trip at the time the matter was set up and arranged into pages; that Brother R, H. Hirsh attended to such arrangement of pages, captions, halftones, etc, on his own initiative, and that Brother Rutherford did not see proofs of the final composition until after the plates had been made and put on press and a quantity had been printed; that the said R. H, Hirsh voluntarily declared to me personally that he believed said volunteer issue to be the best number ever published by our Society, and that he would not suggest any different matter or arrangement of the matter whatsoever.
"(2) That Brother R, H. Hirsh suggested and composed the article, and caption thereof, appearing on the rear pages of the Second Edition of the Memorial Number of THE WATCH TOWER, entitled 'Pastor Russell's Successor, Judge Joseph F. Rutherford' ; that he insistently urged the publication thereof under the direct protest of both Brothers Rutherford and Van Amburgh; that the printing of this Second Edition of said Memorial Number was delayed for more than two weeks at Brother R. H. Hirsh's request, he explaining to the undersigned that he desired time to communicate again with Brother Rutherford (who was then out of the city) to see if he could not ultimately persuade him to consent to the insertion of this said article which Brother Hirsh had written with his own hand; that the portraits and sub-titles thereto, in the aforementioned article, were suggested and arranged by R. H. Hirsh.
"(3) That the foregoing facts were freely discussed by Brother R. H. Hirsh and the undersigned, in full faith and confidence prior to the time the former's attitude towards Brother Rutherford underwent a change; that any assertions or insinuations contrary to this deposition are opposed to the facts as I personally know them to exist.
"(4) That this affidavit is made wholly of my own will and volition, without even a suggestion or the knowledge of anybody else, and entirely from a personal desire for truth and justice concerning matters which have been improperly construed.
"Subscribed and sworn to before me this 24th day of July, 1917.
"Notary Public, Kings Co., N. Y.
"(My commission expires Mch. 30, 1918.)"
BETHEL FAMILY LOYAL
To show that the office force and members of the family are in accord with me, I append hereto a statement, prepared and signed by them without my knowledge, and, of course, without my request:
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
"We the workers of the Tabernacle wish to express our appreciation of our President as the Manager of the work as directed in the office of which we are servants, to the effect that not once was an unkind word uttered to any of us during office hours, or at any other time. We have observed improvements and efficiency in the Office which has been gratifying. Never has the President (Brother Rutherford) ever showed any desire to domineer or boss the work. Very few times has he visited the Tabernacle, or in any way put himself forward. We wish to openly state that it is our desire to faithfully serve the Lord and His people under the direction of the present management, as we believe the Lord is blessing this arrangement We have not one fault to find, but can truthfully say that it is a pleasure to work in the Office as it has been directed since the Election of Brother Rutherford.
|"W. T. HOOPER||"N. GUZZETTA|
|"S. LEVINE||"HARRIET BARBER|
|"J. A. BAEUERLEIN||"FLORENCE PACK|
|"MARY U. WOODARD||"ABNER J. ESHLEMAN|
|"GERTRUDE E. PENNY||"HELEN MAY COHEN|
|"J. A. MEGGISON||"A. S. ESHLEMAN|
|"HERMANN H. BOERNER.||"PIERCE R. ARNOLD|
|"GORDON STURGEON||"W. H. BAEUERLEIN|
|"LUIE T. VAN AMBURGH||"J. W. FERGUSON|
|"W. BELLA LUSK||"W. E. VAN AMBURGH|
|"MARY T. HARRIMAN||"M. L. ROBERTS|
|"IDA WILSON||"WM. F. HUDGINGS|
|"SISTER MILLER||"A. S. ZAKIAN|
|"PEARL ELLIS||"SR. M. E. WOODLEY|
|"M. E. WOODLEY||"F. G. MASON|
|"J. DE CECCA||"FRED L. MASON|
|"A. H. MACMILLAN||"THEO. BOERNER|
|"MABEL A. RUSSELL||"A. DONALD|
|"J. L MAYER||"R. J. MARTIN"|
|"G. S. MILLER|
A similar statement was handed me by the workers in the Bethel:
"DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD:
"Realizing that you are under a great strain at the present time as a result of the false accusations that nave been made against you, — we the undersigned desire to express our love and appreciation to you for your faithfulness in the Lord's service, and by the Lord's grace and help we will stand by you through thick and thin unto the end.
|"BRO. MAYBERRY||"HILMA NYLIN|
|"SR. MAYBERRY||"SR. HUDGINGS|
|"LEWIS T. COHEN||"SR. J. DECECCA|
|"GEORGE JONES||"MARY BARBER|
|"A. C. ANDERSON||"FLORENCE ROBERTS|
|"W. T. BAKER||"C. TOMLINS|
|"FRED G. WHELPTON||"V. FRANCE|
|"C. E. FROST||"EUGENE KELLENBERGER."|
|"MRS. JENNIE M. BARBER|
The brethren living at the New York Temple sent the following:
"DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD:
"We wish at this time to assure you of our fervent Christian love and to express our appreciation of your loyalty to the Lord and faithfulness to the Cause of the Truth and the Brethren.
"Daily we pray the Lord's continued blessing upon your service,
"L, M. KILGOUR
"H. E. HAZLETT
"R. E. PAINE
"G. E. STOFFLET
"R. H. LORD
"J. A. MACMANN."
Additional to the foregoing, several individual comforting assurances have been handed me by various members of the Bethel Family, of which the following are samples:
"We cannot tell you how sorry we are that this present cloud is resting upon the home. We have prayed earnestly for every one of the dear brethren involved in this difficulty, hoping that matters could be adjusted, and that brotherly love might continue.
"This evening, we are praying that the Lord's overruling providence will enable all to see eye to eye, not only for their own sakes, but for the good of the Church at large.
"If there is anything that we could do to assist, we would be most happy to be used of the Lord in any way, not feeling that we have special ability, but knowing that the Lord can make use of weak and imperfect instruments — the praise belonging to Him.
"We want to assure you, dear brother, of our love, sympathy and prayers in this severe trial.
"Your sisters in the Lord,
"JESSIE G. HERR."
"July Twenty-fourth, 1917.
"DEAR BROTHER RUTHERFORD:
"Even our Master, who was perfect, craved the human sympathy of His friends. We know of no way to tell you of our love for you, dear Brother, except in words. We believe by far the majority of the dear Bethel family feel toward you as these words express. Our association yesterday in mailing the Memorial Tower with your biography brought to our hearts tender feelings toward you. It is our earnest desire that this expression of our love may be a measure of strength and comfort in the peculiar trial of the hour. You are always a strength and comfort to the loyal faithful brethren, who discern in you the spirit of our dear Lord and Head. He who has placed you to represent Himself as the head of the family of God at Bethel will surely give you His wisdom, His courage, His unfailing power. We have time this morning for the signatures only of the little group mentioned, but we represent the sentiments, dear Brother, of every loyal heart in Bethel and of every faithful member of Christ on earth, united to Him in the spirit of our begetting as New Creatures.
"Your brethren in His love, in the esteem born of loyalty and faithfulness, and in fellow-service in Christ.
"ABNER H. ESHLEMAN
"STELLA M. WILSON
"IDA C. WILSON
"OUR BELOVED BROTHER RUTHERFORD:—
"The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord cause His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you peace!
"Although I have diligently refrained from discussions as requested, I was drawn into one last night against my will and purpose, and I see clearly that it does no good. Henceforth, counting the Lord Jesus as my sufficiency, I will refrain absolutely, asking your pardon for seeming over warm, though I was but speaking in defence of your position.
"With malice toward none and judging none, but trusting in the Precious Blood and in the promise of grace sufficient.
"Your sister in the Christian faith, hope, love and joy,
ALL CHARGES WHOLLY WITHOUT WARRANT
The four brethren accuse me of disregarding Brother Russell's will. Such a statement is wholly without foundation. Brother Russell's will was written in 1907. In 1908 Judge Carpenter, who was leading counsel for Brother Russell in some litigation in Pittsburgh involving his voting shares, to my personal knowledge told him that these voting shares could not be transferred by will or in any other manner. The same question came up at the trial against us in the case of the "Brooklyn Eagle," and I discussed this matter with him again. Brother Russell never changed his will in this regard; In fact, it was sealed up in 1910 and never opened thereafter prior to his death. Within a short time after his death I informed the Board of the facts above stated and suggested that by voting these shares they were wrong. We would set a precedent, so that if someone else died whose relatives were against the Truth they might vote their shares to the disadvantage of the Society; and with the knowledge and consent of the Board we procured the opinion of a firm of lawyers in writing which was read to the five sisters by Brother Van Amburgh, and they fully agreed that it was not wise to vote those shares. They would have voted for me, and it surely cannot be said that I disregarded the will for any ulterior motive.
Brother Russell did not by his will appoint the Board of Directors. The laws of Penna. and the Charter alone can provide for such. There is not a single instance where it can be pointed out that I have disregarded Brother Russell's will, except when I voted for Brother Sturgeon for the Editorial Committee. It was Brothers Ritchie and Van Amburgh who signed the contract to sell the Photo-Drama, and in that they were supported by the other four brethren. It was Brother Ritchie who first proposed before the Board that the Angelophone be sold to him and that the Society turn over to him the $13,000.00 that was then in the bank to the credit of the Angelophone Company and which belonged to the Society, and that he would assume the contracts outstanding. I prevented this from being done.
In harmony with the laws of New York and to protect the PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION, and in harmony with Brother Russell's wish, as previously expressed to Brother Cooke, the manufacturing part of the Angelico Company was sold to Brother Cooke and the Society reserved the right to make and furnish the records which it still has.
The Second Edition of the Memorial issue of the WATCH TOWER, which contained a brief biography of myself, was sent out over my repeated protest. Brother Hirsh insisted that it should be done in the interest of the work. The other members of the Committee eventually supported him and finally I said: "Brethren, you may do as you please, but you must take the responsibility."
Thus it will be seen that the opposition arising has not been caused by any alleged mismanagement or misconduct of affairs. The whole trouble has arisen because of the desire of the brethren named to put Brother Macmillan out of the position in which he was placed by Brother Russell and put themselves in control and so tie my hands that I could practically do nothing. I submit these facts, therefore, to the brethren everywhere in explanation of what I have done, and leave it to your judgment to determine whether or not I acted in the proper manner.
SEVENTH VOLUME BORN IN TRAVAIL
We are reminded of a coincidence that we here mention. This has indeed been a great trial upon the family and upon others of the dear friends throughout the country who have heard of it. Brother Russell once said that the Seventh Volume would be given to the Church in the hour of its direst need, to encourage and comfort them, and the Scriptures point out that there would be murmurers, complainers, etc. The Seventh Volume, as you know, is now published. The first copies were in the Bethel Dining Room at the noon hour
on Tuesday, June 17th, and at the conclusion of my statement to the family of what led up to the conditions, I stated that the Seventh Volume was there to be distributed to any who desired it; and immediately thereafter the attacks began upon me by Brothers Hirsh and Hoskins.
We believe that a careful and prayerful reading of the Seventh Volume, which is now in your hands, will enable all the dear friends everywhere to be comforted and helped, and to determine what your course should be in the present crisis.
The compilation of the Seventh Volume had been in progress since shortly after the death of Brother Russell. The manuscript was all ready for publication about the time the opposition above mentioned began. I was about to submit the printer's proofs to these and other brethren at the time this trouble arose, but seeing their violent opposition I knew that the publication would be long delayed if they insisted on reading the manuscript and giving the objections first. I consulted Brothers Van Amburgh, Macmillan, Martin and Hudgings, and it was concluded that in view of the fact that the best opportunity to publish it was now, because of the rush that comes to the printers in a short time, that the publication should proceed. It was remarked that probably these brethren would raise the question that we had misappropriated funds for the publication of this volume. The Lord seemed to provide at once to meet any such objection. Some time after Brother Russell's death a very dear brother in the Truth wrote to me, saying that he had some money that he would like to use in some special work if I would let him know that it could be done at any time. Seeing that the publication of the volume was approaching, I wrote this brother that the Seventh Volume was about to be published, and, having in mind his previous kind offer, I merely reminded him of it. The next mail brought to me a draft in a sufficient amount for its publication, and I used this money for the purpose of paying the printers instead of asking the Treasurer to pay for the same, and used it with the full knowledge, consent and direction of the brother who furnished it.
Desiring that the brethren throughout the land should have this book as quickly as possible, because of being the last heritage of our beloved Pastor to the dear Israel of God, we arranged to send it forth by mail so that each one would receive it practically at the same time; and the money from the above mentioned dear brother paid the postage likewise.
SUMMARY BY BROTHER HEMERY, LONDON BRANCH MANAGER
REVIEWING THE BRITISH SITUATION
The following summary of the situation in England was given by Brother Hemery, the Manager of the Society's London office, before the London congregation on Sunday, April 1, 1917:
"Last Sunday Brother Thackway said something should he stated by me relative to Brother Johnson and his position. I am glad in one way to have the privilege of speaking about this matter to relieve some anxiety that you must have, but at the same time I am sorry that it is necessary to have to say it. You gathered from what Brother Thackway said a fortnight ago that the situation then was a serious one. It is serious, and it is a very sad one. To my understanding it is one of the saddest things that will have to be chronicled in all the matters relating to the Harvest Work; I cannot help but feel that it is tragedy, for we have been running pretty close to the most serious of all matters that we have to do with, in Brother Johnson. Brother Thackway's statement to you a fortnight ago was, it may be said, complete in itself, but there have been some developments since, and it may probably be considered necessary to say something more to you. There is a right that you have in this matter being so intimately associated with the W. T. B. & T. Soc. whom Brother Johnson represented. Brother Thackway spoke of rebellion, a strong word, but a true word, for Brother Johnson was not merely disloyal to his superior in the work, but in active opposition in the face of direct instruction. He took another course and denied all authority that should be given under the circumstances. I will very briefly recapitulate the circumstance, without going into details however, for a good many of these are familiar to your mind.
"You know that soon after Brother Johnson came here he found, as he believed, opposition to his course, and that which he considered to be against the best interests of the work, in my two colleagues, Brothers Shearn and Crawford, and you know how he dismissed them from the office. They accepted their dismissal; then, since our Church election was due, he took opposition to their names being put forward for election because of the matter that they, and some other elders were involved in. That matter you partly decided, but so far as Brothers Shearn and Crawford were concerned, their nomination still stands good before you, and we are waiting for a report from Brother Rutherford of his decision after he has read all the facts of the case from the Commission which he himself appointed.
"Brother Johnson in his claim asserted that he had the full right to control the office, and full right to control the British work. I wondered at it at the time, but he assured us that he had discussed his credentials with the Executive Committee in Brooklyn, and we had no other way of acting than by viewing him as a good brother, as we received him at his own estimation, except that there was some doubt or limitation in our mind. However, he acted thus, and we agreed, but when Brother Rutherford knew of what Brother Johnson was doing, he repudiated his action, and he wired to him that it was not authoritative. Later Brother Johnson, seeming to grow by the power that he was exerting, and finding the others submissive, put himself in a higher position than apparently he had the authority to do, and began to think rather highly of himself, and began to see, to his own satisfaction, that he was fulfilling Scriptural types, and types which were leading him on to higher and bigger things, and he began to see himself as a rather important personage. Cables were exchanged between him and Brother Rutherford, and communication, having gone over from this side to Brother Rutherford, Brother Rutherford sent a telegram, which was read here on Sunday, March 4th, by Brother McCloy, addressed to four of us, Brothers Johnson, Shearn, Crawford and myself, saying that Brothers Shearn and Crawford were to be reinstated in the office, and that Brother Johnson's action was absolutely without authority. That week Brother Johnson went to Liverpool. There in Liverpool he openly declared to the brethren there that he was the "Steward" of the Parable (Matt. 20:8). That was a bold claim to make; that meant he was Brother Russell's successor, and while a number of votes might put a President as the head of THE WATCH TOWER SOCIETY, that the Lord Himself had made Brother Johnson "Steward" of all His goods, and to distribute the opportunities of service which might be. Brother Johnson hinted something of this to me in a vague sort of way, but when he publicly declared it in Liverpool, I immediately wrote to tell him that I was in opposition to him, not personally, but I disbelieved in his claim, disavowed it altogether, and that if he persisted in it, it meant that his work in Great Britain was finished, for I said that it was impossible that the "Steward" should be in Great Britain, and the President of the only channel of blessing to the Lord's people which I know or acknowledge, in America. I urged him to go to America at once, and if he felt he had a real claim, to put it to headquarters. I did not say he was not, it was the Lord's business, but I did not believe it. I urged him to go to America, and lodge his claim there. While in Liverpool he sent a long cablegram to Brother Rutherford who was then away in California — he sent it direct to California — telling him of certain things he had done. I won't repeat it, but in the telegram he said that since he had done certain things in the Tabernacle on Jan. 28th, he had been appointed by the Lord "Steward" of the Parable (Matt.
20:8), and had left the Tabernacle clothed as Mordecai was clothed when he left the presence of the King (see Esther 8:15). He asked Brother Rutherford to be his right-hand man — nice of him to ask that — and that he could not keep his hands off the work here. Brother Rutherford wired back that his work in London, that is his representative work, was finished, and that he was to return to America immediately. He wired to us in the office that Brother Johnson's work here was finished, and that he had no further authority to represent the Society in any way, and that we should ship him back to America immediately. Easier said than done. Brother Rutherford's position was this, that a man who would send such a cablegram as he sent was not in a fit condition of mind to represent the Society, so he asked him to return, and bid us cancel any work and return him.
"Brother Johnson came back from Liverpool, and was quiet for some days, accepting this. He called it a setback, but believed it could not last very long, for Brother Rutherford could see his, Brother Johnson's, position. He came back to London the weekend the Commission sat. All that weekend he was comparatively quiet, but he came to the conclusion on the Saturday night that he would not attend the Commission because he said it had no authority, and he being the "Steward," was superior to it, and he repudiated it and denied its authority. Then he said he would require the same kind of cancellation of his papers — that is, sealed papers such as had been given him when he received his commission as the Society's accredited representative.
"A little later he denied that Brother Rutherford had any authority, and that his election to office was illegal. He was continually going step by step denying every cablegram, and every authority. In the home he reasserted his claim, and it fell to me, as representing the President, to tell him that while he stayed in the house awaiting his return to America, be could stay as an honored guest for his work's sake, but that he must keep his hands off the management. He had said he would not, and furthermore declared in that week, the Wednesday after the Commission had gone home, that his purpose was to come back in this Church the following Sunday, and, to use his own words, hang those elders which he had slain some weeks before, to take out of office again the brethren whom you had elected to office, whose names had been on the letter which brought so much trouble to the Church. Now I told him I should resist him in this, and I told him too that he would find no favor with you in what he did, but he said the type clearly showed that it had to be done, but when he saw I was determined he should not do it, he went back to look at the type and said it showed something different, and he would be content for the time being. However, the following weekend he came out in full rebellion against Brother Rutherford, declaring there was no President of THE WATCH TOWER, that his election was illegal, and that he intended to take full control of the British work. This was nothing less than rebellion, as I told him. We received another telegram, signed not only by Brother Rutherford, but by THE WATCH TOWER SOCIETY saying that all Brother Johnson's activities of every kind in this country were cancelled. There could be no clearer authority. Here was Brother Johnson sending cablegrams and getting no reply whatever, whereas my cablegrams were being answered regularly and quickly. That put division in our house, for he went to extremes. He did not like my opposition. I had no other course but to oppose him. There was no reason for thinking that THE WATCH TOWER, which is the official journal of the Society, was in league with some conspiracy in America, or that there was something wrong there; there was no reason to believe that THE WATCH TOWER told lies, or that the authorities had been careless in their work when they elected Brother Rutherford President. He disobeyed all instructions. Then he took his last step that he could take in this way, and I have to tell you that a fortnight ago on Monday he dismissed me from the office. He dismissed me quite a dozen times, and when he found I would not go, he suspended me. It did not make much difference personally, only the unfortunate part of the matter was that there were some in the house and office who were seeing things from Brother Johnson's point of view, and Brother Housden and three other brethren in the office were co-operating with him. They said they believed Brother Johnson was right; another brother took no sides whatever he said, but he certainly showed some sympathy with Brother Johnson. Do you know that the whole of the week before last they kept from me every letter that came in, with the exception of those few which happened to come in my own name. I was not allowed to see a letter, and they handled business they did not know about. They kept me from the telephone, and when I wanted to telephone they would neither let me, nor my secretary use it, and also would not allow messages to come through to my office. Meantime, Brother Johnson was trying to get the money we had at the Bank. He was persuaded in his own mind he said, and certainly he seemed to have persuaded those with him, that it was in the very best interests of the British work that he should control the money, and of vital interest to the work that I should be gotten out of the way. How he found that out I don't know; I expect it was by some type he saw. He persuaded the brethren with him that this was the right thing, and they acted on it. A sorry thing indeed. Well, I am very glad to tell you that three of the brethren who acted with him, one after another came to see their mistake, and they came very humbly expressing their sorrow to me for the treatment they measured out to me, and for their attitude towards the work.
"We are beginning to get the work into shape again now, but there has been a real set back to it which has caused some fluttering about the country wondering what is happening. Meantime Brother Johnson put an action in the High Court to restrain me and those associated with me, from handling THE WATCH TOWER money. Why he wanted this for himself he best knows, I don't, but he tried hard to get at what money there was, a matter of about £1500. Owing to the formalities of the law there are already costs amounting to about £150. That was to get me out of the work particularly, and to get himself installed in care of the British branch in face of all the evidence against him.
"Now Brother Johnson's action is repudiated by Brother Rutherford for two reasons. First, that he was never charged with such work as he took upon himself. Brother Rutherford tells me in a letter I received a day or two ago, that it was well understood when they wrote out those credentials, with the gold seal which you saw on them, that it was in order for him to get a better passport into this country, and Brother Johnson fully understood this, and not at all to interfere with the British work. Brother Rutherford said that Brother Johnson knew this, and I would rather believe Brother Rutherford than Brother Johnson. Besides, Brother Rutherford's repudiation of Brother Johnson is since he sent the foolish cablegram, and because it showed that he was not in a fit mental condition to represent the Society, or indeed, anybody else.
"Well now, brethren, this is why Brother Johnson has not appeared before you. He will not appear here, or anywhere else as representing the Society, it cannot be under such conditions. It is one of the most awful things we have had in the whole of the Harvest work, and I see no other explanation of it than this. Brother Rutherford suggested that Brother Johnson has lost his balance of mind, and coupled with this an inordinate value of himself in the British work. He has had thoughts in his mind for a long time before he came to Britain which enabled these things to act quickly upon him, but in charity to him we will say that it was owing to a weak state of mind because of a strain he had. To say we are sorry is a poor thing. The chief trouble is, so far as we are concerned, that there has been work done in the hearts and minds of the brethren which is bound to hurt them for some time to come.
"Brother Rutherford, in his letter to me, sends a message to the congregation. He says how sorry he is that Brother Johnson took the course he had to, and yet how he feels that all these things have been allowed of the Lord in order to do any work that the Lord may have. The Commission made their report to America about the work, and when that report has been considered and we have heard, then there will be something more to say relative to the relationship of Brothers Shearn and Craw-ford in the office. In the meantime Brother Rutherford says, after sending his love to the Congregation: 'I have
received numerous letters from the congregation at London. I have not time now to answer them all. I therefore ask you in my behalf, to please state to the London Congregation that as President of the Society I heartily disapprove of Brother Johnson's action either in making charges against the brethren or dismissing them, and that I attribute his action not to a wrongful condition of heart, but to a disturbed mental condition; that you will please ask the congregation to suspend judgment against all persons and to calmly and serenely await the direction of the Lord, knowing that in due time He will cause even this great trial to work out for good to all who have had the experience and who love Him and have been called according to His purpose.'
"Of course we have done that: we have left the election of the two brethren in abeyance. The office matter does not specially concern us as a Church, except as we said some while ago, that it might prejudice the minds of the brethren in dealing with the election. However, we have left that, and we do leave it until we hear from the brethren on the other side. It is a very loving letter that Brother Rutherford sends, and I don't know what more to say. It is another instance of what our dear Pastor so often reminded us of, that when approaching the time of the Memorial there are hard times for the Church. It seems that the Lord allowed Satan to come near to the Church and the Lord's people at this time. But, as we have so often said, nothing can harm us while we continue to wait upon Him. Let us do that, brethren, so that when we come back this next week on Thursday evening, we may come with clean hands and pure hearts, and if there has been anything of bitterness, malice, or evil surmisings, that we may take this to the Lord and cleanse ourselves. For my own mind I feel sure that the Lord's hand has been in all this for good in the Harvest Field, and to ourselves. There was certainly something here in London that was causing a strain — I believe the Lord will have it removed. I believe we shall enter into fairer waters; we shall sail on to sweeter prosperity. I believe the Lord is preparing us that the work may go on in the country more sweetly, that it may gather in the last grains of wheat. Let nothing disturb you, brethren. Whatever strange reports you may hear, and there have been strange doings in all this matter, take it to the Lord. Don't talk about it; don't ask everybody you meet if they have heard the latest news. Take it to the Lord, and if there are matters relative to the office to bring before you, we will bring them before you in due time. Since the office is wedded to the Church, the relationship has to be taken into account. Keep your souls in patience, and remember that the Lord is our strength."
OUR SUMMARY OF THE FOREGOING EVIDENCE
The course pursued in Great Britain, which almost disrupted the work there, has likewise been followed here. Brother Johnson, the ablest brother in all the land, has been the chief instrument in this sad affair.
Brother Johnson set about in Great Britain to take complete charge of all the work there, announcing himself as the Steward with all the powers possessed by Brother Russell, and declared his intention of establishing a new WATCH TOWER in that country.
To accomplish this purpose he made charges against a number of the brethren, that they were disloyal to Brother Russell and the Society, and that they were disregarding his expressed wishes. Without right or authority, he discharged two of the managers of the London office, who are members of the council of the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION, drove them from the London Bethel, and attempted to drive out the third and only remaining one of the Managers. He went about the country telling all the class of the terrible condition of affairs that he had found and poisoning their minds against these brethren.
When his European tour was cancelled and he was recalled to America and a commission of five brethren appointed to ascertain the facts and report, he then repudiated the election of the Society's President and appealed to the Board through Brother Ritchie; ignored the commission, and refused to appear before it.
In his winning manner, and by the wrongful application of much of the Old Testament, he induced some of the members of the London Bethel to support him. He did not wait for instructions from America, but with an accomplice he obtained possession of the office keys, forcibly took possession of all the mail, the office and everything in it, and took a large amount of money out of the safe and carried it away.
Failing to influence the commissioners before they met, and seeing that his designs were failing, he took all the money he could lay his hands on, some of it belonging to the Society and some a special fund that had been raised to help the poor brethren in their defense against the Military Act. Then he employed a lawyer, paid him $200 of the Society's money, and instituted a lawsuit in the name of the Society and himself as Special Representative, against the London managers and against the bank, and tied up the Society's funds and stopping the work there until the suit could be finally determined.
Seeing the Court had decided this cause adversely to him, and that his last desperate attempt had failed, he left the London Bethel by letting himself down from the roof and concealing himself about London until he sailed for America.
At Brooklyn, Brother Johnson had two hearings before the Board and other brethren, occupying four hours, at the conclusion of which all present agreed that Brother Johnson was laboring under some mental delusion.
We refrained from telling even the Bethel family about these things, desiring to protect him. He remained quiet in the Bethel for about two months. Then he came to me and said he was ready to return to Great Britain. When told that he could not return, that there was nothing there for him to do, and that the British brethren did not want him, he became excited and declared he would appeal to the Board of Directors. He demanded that I call a meeting of the Board, which I declined to do. Why did he want a meeting of the Board? We answer — He hoped that the Board would overrule the President and send Brother Johnson back to Great Britain. Notwithstanding the fact that Brothers Hirsh, Hoskins, Wright and Ritchie had knowledge of his exploits in Great Britain, they listened to him and at his request signed a demand upon me to call a meeting of the Board of Directors to hear him. Why should they listen to his appeal in this behalf?
Brother Russell had appointed Brother Macmillan to the position of Representative of and Assistant to the President, with full powers as overseer of the entire work and had removed Brother Ritchie as Manager of the office and Brother Hoskins from the Colporteur department. The Executive Committee appointed Brother Macmillan to the same place. When I became President I continued Brother Macmillan in that position. Brother Hoskins, Hirsh and Ritchie were displeased with Brother Macmillan's appointment by Brother Russell, and with what he had done and said to them. They wanted to deprive him of his position and his power. Each one of them had spoken to me against Brother Macmillan and I had declined in his absence to heed their speech. Brother Ritchie had not felt kindly about the management of the Society since he failed of election at Pittsburgh.
Brother Johnson, in his persuasive manner, induced these brethren to believe that I as President was usurping power which they should exercise. "Usurpation of power" is a favorite charge of Brother Johnson's against his brethren. See his letters hereinbefore set out (page 4). If he could induce the Board to take charge of the management, then his hope was that he would be exonerated in his course in Great Britain and sent back to that country. It was easy to see that if these four brethren could take
charge of the management, they could oust Brother Macmillan and have the honor of running the Society. A conspiracy is an agreement to accomplish a wrongful purpose. Was there an agreement between these brethren? The circumstances show there was. Circumstantial evidence is often stronger than direct. It was to the advantage of all these brethren, as they reasoned, to deprive me of the management. At once they joined forces. Brother Johnson's superior ability dictated the course.
Why should Brother Wright join with them? Poor Brother Wright — the others induced him to believe that he was being ignored as a member of the Board and that it was his duty to stand by them to maintain the dignity of the Board. Brother Wright has said several times since the trouble began that he had been dragged into this affair and induced to believe that if he did not stand by the other three he would be unfaithful; that he wished he was out of it. I feel deep compassion for the dear brother.
Notwithstanding these four brethren were in the dining room three times each day, and saw me and had never requested a meeting of the Board, and I had never declined to call one. and they had no reason to believe that I would decline if they asked me, at the instance of Brother Johnson, and upon his advice, they signed a paper which Brother Johnson had written, asking that a meeting of the Board be called for Brother Johnson's benefit and Brother Johnson brought the paper to me. They did this although they knew that he had had two hearings and knew that I had told Brother Johnson he could not go back to England.
I was surprised at this action. I at once scented that a conspiracy was developing to disrupt the work here and to get Brother Johnson back to England for more trouble there. I immediately called Brothers Wright, Ritchie, Hirsh and Hoskins and Brother Van Amburgh to a conference in the drawing room. This was not a meeting of the Board. I asked these brethren why they had sent me this paper through Brother Johnson. I told them why I would not call a meeting of the Board at his instance; that he was trying to force my hand and force himself back into Great Britain. To show that he had been consulting with these brethren with reference to depriving me of the management. Brothers Hirsh and Hoskins came to this conference, thinking, doubtless, it was a meeting of the Board, armed with papers which they produced and read in an attempt to show that it was the wish of Brother Russell that the Board should manage the affairs of the Society, and not the President. I was astonished at their attitude. Brother Hirsh then drew from his pocket a copy of a letter which I had written to Brother Johnson in England, before the election, in which he attempted to show that I had agreed that the Board was in control He could not have obtained this letter from anybody else except Brother Johnson. Brother Hirsh then tried to force a motion for a hearing of Brother Johnson, but was told that the Board was not in session. I then said. "Brethren, this English affair is strictly a matter for the Executive to handle, and I have handled it without objection from anyone up to this hour, but I do not care to keep any facts from you." I thereupon submitted to these four brethren the commissioner's report and my findings upon that report, and asked them to examine it and confer with Brother Johnson and report to a meeting of the Board which 1 would call a week later.
At this meeting, and after these brethren had conferred with Brother Johnson for a week, they appeared with a report which exonerated Brother Johnson in all he had done in England, and recommended that the Society pay $500 to Brother Johnson's solicitor, notwithstanding the judge of the High Court had compelled the solicitor to pay this money as a penalty for wrongfully prosecuting a suit without authority and after having notice from the President of the Society that such suit was improper. Brother Hirsh introduced a resolution to carry this into effect, and moved its adoption, and I ruled it out of order and prevented the Society from being deprived of $500.
As further evidence that there was a conspiracy between the parties, Brother Hirsh immediately drew from his pocket a resolution which had been prepared, and offered it, which resolution attempted to repeal the by-law passed by the Shareholders and by the Board of Directors, and to take the management of the Society out of the President's hands and put it into the hands of these four. What followed I have heretofore stated.
Again Brother Johnson and his allies were frustrated in their move. Following the same tactics which he had adopted in Great Britain, Brother Johnson and these other brethren set about to stir up the minds of the friends against the management here. Both Brothers Johnson and Hoskins had declined to take a Pilgrim trip, even for a short period. Their time was being occupied in consultation between themselves and with lawyers, and doing absolutely nothing in the Harvest work, although living at the expense of the Society. But now they began to go about and visit the friends and pour into their ears accusations against the management of the Society, exactly as Brother Johnson had done in Great Britain.
Following his example, Brother Hoskins cancelled his meeting for Sunday evening, July 15th, and by previous arrangement met Brother Hirsh at Philadelphia. Both of these brethren had been held in high esteem by the Philadelphia ecclesia. They hoped now to get the influence of this class behind them. At that Sunday night meeting they belched forth their accusations against Brother Van Amburgh and myself and others. For the safety of the interests of the friends, I am compelled to refrain from publishing some of the things that they stated at that time. These brethren, together with some others, at a meeting of the Brooklyn congregation held while I was at Chicago, attempted to get a motion before the congregation to oust me from the Chairmanship of the congregation. In this they failed. When I returned I called a meeting of the congregation for Wednesday night, July 18th. These brethren and their allies were there, loaded and ready for the fight intending to accomplish their purpose. Their leader failed them and became faint-hearted, they did not attempt to carry out their design. The result was, the Lord's blessing was upon the meeting, and it was turned into a Love Feast, and these opposers went away disappointed.
Their purpose was to discredit me before as many friends at possible, and then pass a resolution depriving me of the management of the Society. They had told me they were consulting lawyers. Brother Johnson had said, "We are consulting lawyers and we know what we can do with you." Again they were thwarted in their purposes. Following the same course pursued in Great Britain, be attempted to ingratiate himself with the Bethel family here. He had not seen his wife since November last, and although knowing she was not well and the Society had offered him transportation to Columbus, he declined to go; but he found both ability and time to go about the country to stir up strife. He had been living at Bethel for several weeks, in open defiances of my order to go away. Seeing now that their well laid plans were failing, Brother Johnson came to me in a different guise.
About the 20th of July he came to me in the capacity of a mediator or peace-maker, expressing a desire to establish peace. I let him pursue his course. He did not deceive me at all. He said, "Now, brother, this matter should be adjusted, because if it goes before the Church you will be discredited." This seemed never to have occurred to him when he was taking it before various members of the Church, both in a public and private way, and when Brothers Hirsh and Hoskins were doing likewise. He suddenly became very solicitous for my welfare. I replied. "Brother Johnson, I am not seeking public approval; I am here to do my duty, regardless of who is for or against me. I am seeking only to protect the interests of the Society and to please the Lord. You, Brother Johnson, have been the cause of this trouble here. You desired to go back to England and because I declined to send you, this trouble was begun." He admitted that the trouble was the result of my refusal to give him another hearing before the Board with a view to sending him back to England.
And now, dear brethren, I submit that it can hardly be said that I have acted from any selfish or ulterior motive. I was advised by one of the best corporation lawyers in Philadelphia that these four men were not legal members of the Board, and that I had the legal authority to appoint a new board. I appointed this Board not for a selfish purpose, but to protect the interests of the Society.
The Board is now composed of Brothers (Doctor) Spill; J. A. Bohnet, George H. Fisher, A. H. Macmillan, A. N. Pierson, W. E. Van Amburgh and myself, all of whom Brother Russell fully trusted and in whom he had the fullest confidence. I believe the friends throughout the country have confidence in these brethren, that they will safeguard the interests of the Society. This Board has agreed to meet once each month for the purpose of looking after the interests of the Society. The PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION is the legal corporation in New York, with full power of management, and I have asked that Board to create an Executive Committee to act together with me
to manage and safeguard the interests of the Lord's work here.
Brother Hirsh offered to withdraw his wrongful statements made at Philadelphia if he and the others were placed back on the Board. Why should these brethren insist now on being on the Board, which would result in immediate disruption of the work at Bethel and the Tabernacle, because the majority of the workers would decline to work under their management? Will the interests of the Society be safer in their hands, or do they seek honor and preferment?
When I declined Brother Hirsh's proposition to place himself and his colleagues on the Board, upon the condition that he go to Philadelphia and "make it more than right," he at once took the opposite course; went to Philadelphia and made his statement before the congregation even worse than he had made it at first, and when I told that congregation of his offer to go and make it right with them upon the condition that he and the others be put on the Board, he did not deny it. Were these five brethren then seeking the welfare of the Society and its work, or did they have some other motive?
The opposers have never pointed out a single instance wherein I have mismanaged the affairs of the Society. They have not suggested a single improvement in the management. Their policy clearly is a desire for honor and "rule or ruin."
As conclusive proof that these conspirators, following the example set by Brother Johnson in England, intended to carry out the threat made by one of them to Brother Wisdom, namely, to resort to the civil courts in their attempt to get control of the Society and to tie up the money of the Society so that the work would be hindered, we append the following notice served upon Brothers Van Amburgh, Pierson and myself:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE. That the undersigned, being a majority of the Board of Directors of THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, hereby call a special meeting of the Board of Directors of the said Society, to be held at the St. George Hotel, Brooklyn. New York City, on Saturday, July 28, 1917, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon of said day, for the purpose of transacting the following business:
1. To take such action as may be necessary to prevent, prohibit and restrain the persons now styling themselves a Board of Directors of this Society from undertaking to interfere in or control the management of its affairs as Directors.
2. To prevent, prohibit and restrain the officers of this Society from paying out funds except by the consent and under the direction of this Board.
3. To take such action as may be necessary to restrain any officer of this Society from acting in excess of the powers conferred upon him by the Charter and bylaws of this Society and by law.
4. To take such action as may be necessary to prevent, prohibit and restrain any officer of this Society from disposing of its records, books and papers except with the consent and under the direction of this Board.
5. To take such action as may be necessary to prevent, prohibit and restrain any officer of this Society from paying out funds of this Society to the Peoples Pulpit Association except upon the consent and under the direction of this Board.
The reason why a special meeting of this Board is being called by the undersigned is that the President of the Society has undertaken, without any warrant, to consider that the affairs of the Society are under the exclusive control of himself and of certain other gentlemen who do not compose the Board of Directors.
I. F. HOSKINS
A. I. RITCHIE
R. H. HIRSH.
Brother Ritchie said "Had I been elected to any office at Pittsburgh I would have considered myself a member of the Great Company class." Since he is striving now to get the management of the Society in his hands, is he seeking to get into the Great Company class?
This whole affair has been a sad one. It has been a great trial upon the Bethel family. It has greatly interrupted the work here. We have wondered why the Lord permitted it to come. He knows. This is the time of fiery trial. In this connection we strongly recommend a rereading of the article, "THE HOUR OF TEMPTATION," written and published by Brother Russell just before his death. His expressions there seem to be prophetic, and are now having fulfillment. Beloved in the Lord, let us keep our hearts, watching diligently and seeing that no root of bitterness springs up against any one. Let us keep ourselves in the love of God, and while the fire burns fierce, know that His everlasting arms are beneath us and He will sustain us and He will bring through this fiery trial everyone who is properly exercised thereby, purified and made more fit for the Master's use.
My heart bleeds for these brethren. I would that I might help them. But they are in the hands of the Lord, and I pray He may deal mercifully with them and that they may be fully recovered if that be His holy will.
And now, dear brethren, I have placed before you the facts. I am conscious of the fact that I have done right Others may disagree with me. I am reminded that it is only five months until my term of office expires. I pledge you, by the grace of God, that I will strive to hold the affairs of the Society together and see that no ambitious person wrecks it within that five months. At that time I feel sure that the Lord will direct his dear people what course to take. I have no ambition except to please the Lord. I have had the blessed privilege of a little part in placing before the Church Brother Russell's last work, the Seventh volume of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. I have tried to be faithful. The Lord is my judge. Earthly reputation counts nothing and this life is not dear unto me. This has been a season of extremely fiery trial, but I count it a privilege to suffer with my Master in doing what I believe to be the right thing.
Let us judge mercifully, seeing that no bitterness is in our hearts. Let us be of sober mind and watch unto prayer. The end is at hand. Above all things, let us put on love which is the bond of completeness.
Praying the Lord's blessings upon every one of you, and asking your prayers in my behalf, that I may be given wisdom and grace from on High and more of the Lord's spirit to perform the duties that He has placed in my hands, in a faithful manner, until finished, and with much love, I beg to remain,
Your brother and servant by His grace,