|Kendal Quaker Meeting House|
Isaac became convinced that the evangelical position was right and he was not alone in this. However his views gradually became more extreme. Joseph John Gurney, an influential Evangelical, says that around 1832 he remembered 'telling my friend Isaac Crewdson...that he and I had started our race from opposite points, had met, and crossed on the road.'
In 1835 Isaac published a pamphlet, A Beacon to the Society of Friends. This book was a systematic refutation of writings by Elias Hicks, couched in extreme terms which only served to polarise positions. In Isaac's view scriptural authority and authority derived from the Inward Light could not co-exist and he characterised the latter, upon which most of early Quakerism was based, as 'a delusive notion'.
|Manchester Mount Street meeting house|
The next step was inevitable. In Manchester in1836 Isaac Crewdson and his wife, along with some fifty others, many of them members of his family, resigned from the Society of Friends. Families were painfully divided by the controversy and people were forced to take sides. There were other resignations, amounting to around 400 in all, in meetings throughout the country which included about 100 Friends in Kendal (one third of the meeting).
|Isaac Crewdson in 1840|
|Map of the Dissenters Cemetery|
Perhaps if Isaac had not gone to such extremes in his views and expressed them so uncompromisingly or if the reaction to what he said had not degenerated into personal attack then a separation might not have taken place. After all at this time Evangelicalism was on its way to becoming the new orthodoxy for British Quakers. However it was perhaps the shattering effect of this comparatively small separation that held British Quakers back from fragmenting in the way that American Quakers did at this time.