To Lewis Tappan

8 December 1841


[MS in American Missionary Association Archives #F1-5275]


Boston 8th Dec. 1841.

Beloved Br. Tappan.

I have just recd your favor

of yesterday & thank you for. I read yesterday P. M.

with tears the account in the N.Y. Evangelist of the

last meetings & departure of the Mendians. What a wonderful

Company that! What a Providence that placed them

here. What a wonder that placed them under just

such an influence here & sent them back in such

circumstances. O what a complication of wonders.

I never heard its equal. Taken all together its

exceeds any romance. Why My Brother this

reality exceeds in the marvellous, all fiction &

really beggars all description. As I pursued the

report in the Evangelist. & the circumstances arose

before my mind, my soul became so overwhelmed

that I found myself breaking all to pieces in view

of the goodness of God & I involuntarily exclaimed

"Why absolutely this is enough to kill one." It does seem

to me that in nothing have I ever seen so much of God

at every step. A providence so marked & wonderful.

Bless the Lord O my soul! Certainly hereunto hangs

a series of wonders. I can not understand how

Br. Steel came to go. or how it could be brought

about so quick. Br. Steel is a practical man.

very much of an Engineer. The Lord has been wonderfu

lly preparing him for this work. Brother Raymond


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is a devoted soul. My heart cries out the Lord

go with, & bless them! & Bless them, & Bless them! & Bless them!

That, natures nobleman, Sinque. I hope he has not been

injured by flatery, I was and am afraid of that.

I understand that J. Leavitt is comming to Boston

to edit an abolition paper. You say & probably have

had little time to think about a new paper. The fact

is Br. Tappan that we must have one. When & how

can it be established. You are a good deal of an

engineer. will you give a plan. I do not believe

that you can do more good in any way. I like the idea

of its being a laymans paper. I think the grasping

of the clergy after power calls for such a movement.

The very establishment of such a paper with the

avowed design to counteract the ambitious designs

of the clergy would do good. Such a paper at the

present time would do good & if kindly, wisely,

firmly & ably conducted, it would prove an antidote

just in time to save the church much harm.

Why would not Chester former Editor of a paper that was

merged in the New York Evangelist make a good Editor.

The paper should be reformatory as opposed to conservative

Democratic as opposed to Aristocratic. It should be anti

slavery, anti-sin, & anti devil in every thing.

My Br. will you see that such a paper is set on foot

immediately. Its prospectus should go out before the

first of Jan, so that subscribers might drop other

papers at the close of the present year.

I do not believe that you could do so much good in any


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other way just now as to set such a paper on foot.

The work of the Lord increases here a good deal

I can not see my way clear to leave here at present.

Most christian salutations to your dear family.

& accept for your self my most cordial & fraternal love.

Your Brother in haste

C. G. Finney.



Finney appears to have forgotten to finish this sentence. The letter is not in the Finney Papers.

"Farewell Meetings and Embarkation of the Missionaries" in the New-York Evangelist, Volume 12, Number 49 (4 December 1841), page 193.

This word is written thus.

James Steele was one of the Lane Rebels See his obituary in The Oberlin Evangelist, 27 April 1859, p. 70.

He is named Cinque in the report.

How Tappan responded to this is not known. A year later there was talk of moving the Oberlin Evangelist to New York, but nothing came of it. See Tappan to Finney, 9 December 1842, and to Horace Taylor, 23 December 1842. Plans were on foot for a radical paper a few years later. William Cochran, who had gone to New York in May 1846 at the instigation of Lewis Tappan to take charge of the Union Missionary Association, was also taking preparatory steps towards another enterprise. He wrote to Edmund Hall from New York on 29 May 1846:

It is to edit a weekly religious news-paper of the same size of the N.Y. Observer. I have made Mr. L. Tappan one of the best business men in the city my counsellor in this matter - in fact the moving agent - He thinks the project feasable & has offered his name influence &c to carry it into effect. This paper is designed to be a counterpart or rather antipart to the Observer & its conservatism & iniquitous compromizing radical & rational in reform &c

(William C. Cochran Papers, Oberlin College Archives)

Unfortunately Cochran died shortly after this, but the next year the American Missionary came into being. It was to be 1848 that the New York Independent was commenced.