Letter from Henry Travis to Robert Owen

Scope and Content

This manuscript letter opens with Travis lamenting he knows not how to manage [the affairs of the Central Board of the Universal Community Society of Rational Religionists]. Several colleagues have left the Board, leaving just himself and [Richard] Bewley, who is also due to leave and start a new business. Travis explains that If Owen's future in London was more assured, then he would move the Central Board [from Birmingham] and work alongside him. Meanwhile, branches across the country are asking for lectures or Missionaries but the Board finds itself unable to comply with their wishes due to lack of funds.

Discussion turns to the strained relationship between those who advocate Owen's ideas and men of religion, with Travis explaining he has drafted instructions to the "advocates" of their cause informing them to cease from making attacks on religious matters which could be deemed "blasphemy". Meanwhile, in the community at Tytherley the impudence of [John] Finch has left Travis "much grieved"; he hopes Finch adopts the course laid out by Owen in July.

The future for the 'cause' as propagated by Owen and Travis is discussed at length, with Travis believing Owen must be "judicious" with his actions. He remarks it was fortunate Owen's proposed trip to America the previous autumn did not materialise with the "last struggle between truth and error" approaching. Travis hopes that the instructions Owen gave to his Missionaries will have a "good effect". It has long been Travis' belief they should "advocate our views with deference to prevailing venerations rigidly abstaining from all coarse attempts at ridicule or sarcasm".

Note

Stamped number: 1234