Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Frederick Richard Lees


by Jerome

A recent post referred to early readers of George Storrs in the British Isles. One such reader was Frederick Richard Lees, editor of a British paper called The Truth Seeker.

Storrs received a copy of the paper and republished an article signed PATHFINDER in the January and February 1848 issues of Bible Examiner. He sent copies of BE to Britain to reach the editor. Lees wrote back and his response was published in BE for July 1848.


Lees’ periodical ran for several years. It was sometimes called The (Manx) Truth Seeker in a reference to the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. Due to a loophole in British Law mail from the Isle of Man was exempted from paying postal fees at this time, so a number of enterprising publications took advantage of this.

A couple of issues later (BE September 1848), Lees wrote a long letter about the state of conditionalist teaching in the British Isles. This shows that Storrs was already well known in some quarters in Britain. After detailing his own preaching on the subject. Lees wrote:

“In 1846 I began to find that other and influential persons in Britain, had also their thoughts turned to this topic. My friend, JOSEPH BARKER, (now of Wortley, near Leeds,) formerly a celebrated Methodist Minister, but expelled for ‘heresy,’ had republished your ‘Six Sermons’ in a cheap form, and circulated them amongst his friends - ‘The Christian Reformers’ - throughout the North of England.”

The circulation of Six Sermons in Britain obviously created concern in more orthodox circles because John Howard Hinton M.A. wrote the book Athanasia (published London 1849) to combat conditionalist views. Out of its 540 pages, Hinton reportedly devoted 50 of them in an attempted rebuttal of Storrs’ Six Sermons. (According to Hinton's book Six Sermons was published in Newcastle-on-Tyne in the UK in 1844.) Lees sent Storrs a copy of Athanasia and for a number of months over 1849, Storrs’ Bible Examiner dealt point by point with Hinton’s objections, before finally drawing a line under the subject.


Frederick Richard Lees (1815-1897) does not appear to have taken much part in subsequent theological developments. According to census returns, he spent his life as an author, publisher and lecturer, but his specific field was the temperance movement. He died as a “gentleman” leaving an estate of over four and a half thousand GBP.

10 comments:

jerome said...

For any who wish to read Hinton's attack on Storrs' Six Sermons, Athanasia is available at:
http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433068246101;view=1up;seq=355

Hal.9000 said...

Many thanks to the authors of these extraordinary articles!
You are doing an extraordinary job, thank you!

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Do we have any evidence that even one British reader of Bible Examiner or Six Sermons later adopted Watch Tower belief?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

You're welcome, Hal.9000.

jerome said...

Do we have any evidence that any British readers of George Storrs adopted Watch Tower belief? I suspect the answer is No. You would probably need personal papers, or a British letter writer in Bible Examiner turning up in ZWT - and I don't think we will find that. But the "undercurrent" for want of a better word of conditionalism in the UK might have made some respond to CTR's early writings when they appeared on the British scene, rather than automatically rejecting them. The one British movement that might just make a connection would be the Christadelphians. Their magazines certainly mentioned Storrs. And some Christadelphians probably switched to ZWT-ism. But that is theory and guesswork.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

There is one (1895) example of British Christadelphians converting. They were later adherents, not familiar with Storrs.

roberto said...

Hi Hal.9000, I hope you'll visit again this blog. Ciao!

roberto said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
roberto said...

Translation for the Italian readers

Frederick Richard Lees, (by Jerome)

Un post recente faceva riferimento ai primi lettori di George Storrs nelle isole britanniche. Uno di questi lettori era Frederick Richard Lees editore di un giornale britannico intitolato The Truth Seeker (Il cercatore della Verità)
Storrs ricevette una copia del giornale e ristampò un articolo firmato a firma di “Pathfinder” (L’Esploratore) nei numeri di gennaio e febbraio 1848 del Bible Examiner. Storrs invio copie del Bible Examiner nel Regno Unito all’editore. La risposta di Lees fu pubblicata nel BE di luglio 1848.
Il periodico di Lees continuò a essere stampato per diversi anni. Qualche volta era chiamato The (Manx) Truth Seeker in riferimento all’Isola di Man nel mare d’Irlanda. Grazie a una scappatoia nella legge, a quel tempo la posta dell’isola di Man era esentata dal pagamento delle tasse postali, e così un certo numero di pubblicazioni intraprendenti si poterono avvantaggiare di questa lacuna nella legge inglese.
Un paio di numeri dopo (BE settembre 1848), Lees scrisse una lunga lettera circa lo stato dell’insegnamento condizionalista (cioè la dottrina che l’anima può morire) nelle isole britanniche. Questo rivela che Storrs era già ben conosciuto in certi luoghi della Gran Bretagna. Dopo aver dettagliato riguardo alla sua predicazione sull’argomento, Lees scrisse:
“Nel 1846 ho iniziato a scoprire che altre autorevoli persone in Gran Bretagna, hanno rivolto la loro attenzione a questo argomento. Il mio amico Joseph Baker, (ora a Wortley, vicino a Leeds) in precedenza un illustre ministro metodista, espulso per “eresia”, ha ripubblicato i vostri “Sei Sermoni” in una versione economica, e li ha distribuiti fra i suoi amici, i “Christian Reformers” (Riformatori Cristiani), da un capo all’altro del nord dell’Inghilterra.
La circolazione del Sei Sermoni in Gran Bretagna ovviamente suscitò preoccupazione fra i circoli delle chiese conevenzionali. John Howard Hinton M. A. scrisse il libro “Athanasia” (pubblicato a Londra nel 1849) per controbattere l’idea condizionalista. Nelle sue 540 pagine, Hinton ne riservò 50 al tentativo di confutare il Sei Sermoni di Storrs. Nel suo libro Hinton scrive che il Sei Sermoni era stato pubblicato per la prima volta nel Regno Unito nel 1844 a Newcastle-on-Tyne. Lees inviò a Storrs una copia del suo Athanasia e per alcuni numeri del Bible Examiner del 1849 Storrs ribatté punto per punto le obiezioni di Hinton, finché infine smisero la discussione.
Frederick Richard Lees (1815-1897) sembra non aver avuto molta parte negli sviluppi teologici successivi. Secondo le registrazioni del censo, impiegò la sua vita come autore, editore e predicatore, ma il suo interesse specifico era il movimento della temperanza anti-alcool. Morì come “gentiluomo” lasciando in eredità una tenuta e oltre 4.500 sterline di allora.

Hal.9000 said...

Grazie anche a te Roberto, la tua traduzione è ottima e benvenuta!