To James and Alice Barlow

2 January 1862


[MS in Finney Papers, 2/2/2]


Oberlin, Ohio, U.S. 2d Jan. 1862.

My Dear Br. & Sister Barlow.

Dear Sister Barlows precious letter

is just recd. It is just the thing we desired

only not enough of it. It tells us about Br.

Barlow. About all the children & about sundry

others in whom we have the deepest interest.

When wife read about the meeting to be held

at the congregational Chapel & that Br. Davison

& Br. & Sister Bell were to be there, she exclaimed,

"O I must go." We are so happy to hear from

you & through you about many others. I should

have written again ere this, but have been very

ill since the first of sept. confined to my

bed most of the time. Until within a few

days I have not been able to write. My disea

se has been what is vulgarly called shingles

a most distressing eruption of the skin atten

ded with great inward pain & soreness. I am

gradually improving. I was aware before

I left England that I must soon be ill &

be laid up at least for a season. I tried

to brace up my system & when in Manchester

tried the power of Quinine to give strength but

to no permanent effect. I had never tried

a drug until I experimented upon Quinine.

Br. Bell bought some for me but it would not

do. I have not taken but little of it & none

[page 2]

at all since I found that it did me no

good. I am a no medicine man in theory

& in practice. My advisers think I shall soon

be better than for many years past. I do not

feel very confident but expect to abide the will

of God in the matter. We do so rejoice to hear

so good an account of Thomas & all the

children. Also of Br. & Sister Bell, of young Mr

Clapham, Of Dear Mary Ann & of Brother

Barlow's labors for xt. & that Br. Davison

is building his chapel. Sister Barlow is at

her old tricks again writing bitter things

against herself. I seldom find a person so char

itable to others who has so little charity for

herself. I can easily understand how the


fitting up of your White ^ thorne home

should much occupy your mind my Dr

sister & lead to self-accusation of

worldlimindedness. When the matter is

completed & the novelty gone you will

I trust be more spiritually minded

than ever. You are destined, while Br. B.

has his health & a heart for the work to

have but little of his company. Which

do you prefer, the loss of his health. Of his

piety - or of his evenings at home? But

I will not ask the question. What has

become of the Dear Alice that "accompanied

[page 3]

us to the ship." I forget her other name

she was converted at your house. I want

to ask after hundreds of the converts. Miss

Dawson & every one. Do give abundant

love to as many as you see. Dear Mr & Mrs

Best how are they. And how is our


dear Brother Melancton ^ Smith & his

precious wife. Give a world of love to

them all. All our sympathi[e]s & our whole

hearts are with you at Bolton & Edg

worth. The bitter press on both sides of the

atlantic is diffusing a war spirit

among the ungodly on both sides but

I trust in God to overrule it. Our governm

ent did not hessitate to give up Mason

& Slidell. Cotton is the great question

with England. I do hope & pray that

England will let us alone until

we can get our army in a position

to make the slaves free. This we shall

surely do if not diverted by foreign inter

ference. We are rapidly approaching

the point of inviting the slaves to

come within our lines as our army

advances. The English people do not

well understand us. But they will

& I trust that the want of cotton &

free trade will not influence them

[page 4]

to take part with the piratical south

Christians on both sides ought to take

a decided stand against a war

between us. O horrible! I can not

bear the thought of a war with England.

Our government will avoid it if they

can. We are afraid that secretly,

the governments, (not the people) of France

& England wish to see our Republick

broken up. & that they will take

advantage of this great rebellion

to try to secure our overthrow.

But "the Kings heart is in the hand

of the Lord'. We trust in God to help

us. I earnestly believe that this rebellion

would have ceased ere this but for

the hope of the rebels that England

& France will take their part. As we

were wholly unprepared it has taken

us of course some time to get prepared

with a great Army to make such ag-

gressive & decided movements as we

intend. May the Lord keep England

from interfering. We greatly love our

English friends & can not bear the

thought of war with this country.

Wife will speak for herself. Do let us

hear from you often. God bless you all forever

C. G. Finney



i.e. Christ.

i.e. Thornley Smith.

James Murray Mason and John Slidell were Confederate agents who managed to make their way as diplomats to Europe on the English ship, Trent. But they were arrested on the high seas and taken back to Boston. The Trent Affair caused an outrage, and the demand for war spread throughout the British Isles until they were released by Seward on December 26.

Proverbs 21:1