|Painting of J B Braithwaite|
At home the Braithwaite family came under the influence of their cousin Isaac Crewdson, who took an extreme position, resigned from the Society of Friends and underwent a rite of baptism. Most of Bevan's brothers and sisters agreed with Crewdson and, when Bevan himself went to London to complete his legal training, they encouraged him to join them. He wavered and got as far as booking an appointment for a baptism but then, urged by a letter from his father, he attended the Yearly Meeting of 1840 and changed his mind. As he wrote to his cousin, George Gillett, 'I went to the Yearly Meeting expecting it to be the last I should ever attend; but as it proceeded, one sitting after another convinced me that I had not duly appreciated the views of the great body of Friends, that there was much that was excellent and much that was sound among them.' He believed it his duty to remain and could not see where else he would go, but the rift in his family and among his friends was intensely painful to him. In the end only Bevan and his brother Charles Lloyd Braithwaite remained Quakers. Having made up his mind Bevan in time became a pillar of the Society of Friends, firm and decided in his views and wary of innovation.
|Martha Gillett with her father|
|J B Braithwaite with cravat|
In 1887 Bevan attended the Richmond Conference in America and played a major role in composing the Richmond Declaration, a statement of Evangelical Quaker doctrine which the delegates hoped would be acceptable to 'all the Yearly Meetings in the world.' This was not to be the case and London Yearly Meeting refused to ratify it in 1888. Younger Friends saw it as the statement of a 'creed' which they felt had no place in Quakerism.
Bevan was disappointed and hurt by this rejection. Even though in 1898 London Yearly Meeting agreed to uphold their refusal to recognise Hicksite Quakers, a decision which Bevan called in his journal 'a very great relief to me', the tide was turning. Bevan viewed with dismay developments such as the Manchester Conference in 1895 which marked the beginning of Liberal Quakerism. He battled on but privately revealed, 'I often feel my solitariness.'
|William Charles Braithwaite|
Joseph Bevan Braithwaite continued to engage in Quaker work and to enjoy his extensive family. He wrote many letters and kept up the journal that he had written throughout his life. Old age crept upon him gradually but he retained his clarity of mind and gentleness of disposition to the last. He died on 15th November 1905 aged eighty seven, having remained unquestioning in his devotion to the vision of Quakerism he had loved and defended since his decision at Yearly Meeting 1840, sixty five years before.