To James Barlow

13 February 1863


[MS in Finney Papers 2/2/2]


Oberlin Ohio, U.S. 13. Feb. 1863.

My Beloved Br. Barlow.

How are you & your Dear family.

We recd duly Mrs. B's dear letter to which

Mrs. F. will reply. I think I wrote you last

but that makes no difference. I want to hear

direct from you & hence I write direct to you

at this time. I suppose you are greatly

tried with your business on account of

our horrid war. I greatly pity the ma

nufacturers of cotton in Europe as in

this country. But after all what are

their sufferings compared with those of

the 4000 000 of slaves on the product of

& you

whose miseries we ^ have lived & fatened.

The governments of France & England have

talked of arresting this war for humanitys

sake. i.e. for the sake of the suffering cotton

manufacturers. But what of the sufferings

of the 4000 000 of slaves to be still left in

bondage if those governments interfere &

prevent our carrying into effect the emanci

pation proclamation of our President.

Humanitys sake indeed! And are not

the slaves human? I abhor the hypocrisy

that would, under the plea of humanity,

interfere with our struggle to give freedom

to the slaves, & grasp after coutton & revit the

[page 2]

the [sic] chains of 4000 000 slaves now existing

& of thousands of millions in all probability

yet unborn. I am delighted to hear of

the stand taken by the Lancashire

Cotton Manufactories. They seem to

truly comprehend the question &

to understand that we are contending

for universal Christian liberty & that

their true interests are identical with

ours at the north. I admire your noble

John Bright. Our struggle is with a

slave holding Oligarchy against labor.

The tories both in this country & in

Europe are against us. But God is

for us. I have felt for the dear people

of Lancashire so much that I would

gladly have divided what I have with

them. They have taken a noble stand.

God bless them. And he will. Only

hold on a little: You suffer in your

business. We are pouring out like water

both our treasure & our blood. Not only


do ^ expect to have our purses drained

perhaps for centuries, but the blood

& bones of our sons, & brothers, & husbands

fatten the cotton fields that have

hitherto been moistened by the blood

& sweat of the poor slave. We should

think but little of money could we

[page 3]

save our children. But for humanitys

sake we cheerfully though tearfully make

the sacrifice. In this collision the

cause of the slave is that of humanity,

of liberty, of civilization, of christianity

It is the cause of God against Satan.

& woe to the power that attempts to longer

crush labor under the heel of capital.

Just think of the infamous & blasphemous

Axiom on which this rebellion &

this southern confederacy is founded

To wit, that "Capital should own labor."

This is a maxim worthy of beelzebub.

But that French Fox will not be able

to make a cats paw of Old England

to pull his chestnuts out of the fire.

The good sense & good feeling of the

mas[s]es or of the middle class in

Europe will revolt more & more at

the hypocritical pretense of interfering

with our affairs for humanitys sake.

The ways of God, in this whole matter, are

wonderful. For many years our sham demo

cratic party have done all they could

to strengthen & perpetuate slavery as

a political power. But God has for

many years turned all their supposed

triumphs against them & worked on to

bring about emancipation. Now the

[page 4]

democrats are endeavouring to defeat

the execution of the proclamation of

emancipation. But observe how it is

working. If the North were united & the

democrats, as a body, would take hold

to subdue the rebellion we could easily

subdue it without making free & emp

loying the slaves as soldiers. But this

rising up & dividing the north renders

the freedom & the employment of the

slave a military necessity. Thus the

democrats in attempting to conserve

slavery have render[ed] emancipation

inevitable. "The wrath of man shall

praise him." He taketh the wise in

their own craftiness. Politicians are

blind after all, & God will over

rule their policy. But all this

about our war. We listen for every word

of intelligence from Dear Bolton &

from Lancashire generally.

My own health is still improving. Wife

will write of her own health. We are

enjoying a refreshing from the spirit

of the Lord. Do tell us all about your

family - our dear friends - the cause of

God - the state of things about you

&c &c. God bless you & yours forever

my Dear Brother. C. G. Finney.


This letter was answered by James Barlow as follows:


Edgworth Mar 12th 1863

My Dear Friends

Your welcome letter was duly

received, & I can assure you was

highly prized - by us all - We are

always delighted to hear anything

of your welfare, & are more

pleased to hear that you are

still well enough to labour

in the cause of God. I will

now proceed to answer your letter

but first of all I must Confess my

fault in not writing you sooner

I am sorry. & I know when I

say that you will forgive me.

You say you suppose I am justly

tried with my Business on account

of your horrid War - True I am

indeed. we have been very much

tried - almost since the time you left

[page 2]

we have been working short time

at the mill for nearly two years

& we seem to get worse & worse

weekly & from all human

appearances we can see no end

altho after all I would be very

sorry & so I am persuaded would

be the bulk of our Lancashire people

to see you patch up a peace

with the South upon the basis

of protection to Slavery. I

am sure the mass of our people

sympathise with the Northern interest

especially since the Emancipation

Policy has been adopted.

I cannot tell you how glad

I felt & how I shouted Hurrah

for Lincoln when news reached

here that he had confirmed

that proclamation on the 1st Jany

& I do sincerely hope & pray that it

may be the speedy means of bringing

[page 3]

an end to the War & that sum of all

villanies. which John Wesley 100 yrs ago

proclaimed Slavery to be. The reason

why many of our people did not sooner

sympathise with the North was a feeling

that they were not fighting for the destruc

tion of Slavery. but merely for the Union, with

or without Slavery. & many felt that the North

were willing to grant them every guarantee

for the continuation of Slavery if they would

only submit to remain in the Union.

But it does seem that Providence has

overruled - everything - for the bringing about

the deliverance of the oppressed. & to show

the North that there can be no peace

while Slavery is recognised, The distress in

Lancashire is & has been very great. but

it has been Nobly met by a generous

Public in this & every civilised Country

& not the least by the Americans,

altho you must be suffering severely

yourselves. You will doubtless have seen

from the Public Papers the public receptions

given to the Captain Chaplain & Crew of the

Geo Griswold. The Chaplain Rev Mr Denison

we hope to have in Bolton at the Temperance

Hall on the 24th inst - & if he does come

I am sure he will have a warm reception.

We have had two Public Meetings to Sympathise

with the North I took the Chair on one &

a splendid meeting we had - we passed

[page 4]

unanimously (with about 4 exceptions) a

resolution Sympathising with President

Lincoln & had it engossed &

it is forwarded to him through

Mr Adams the American Minister

I sent you a Paper containing report

of the meeting. I believe that great

good will ultimately come out of this

great distress Many who in the days

of prosperity never recognised God at all

only to Blaspheme have been brought to

see themselves as sinners & fled to Jesus

& are now Praising God for the Cotton famine

but there is yet a great deal to do. & we

have scarcely taken hold yet as we ought

of the masses who have nothing to do.

All who are disposed to work seem to have

their hands full with relief Committees Sewing

Schools for Females, & reading & Writing for

Men & being of a mixed character

it is difficult & in many cases impos-

sible to get any religious element intro-

duced amongst them. & what with all

this extra work there seems little chance

of doing much - in addition to the

regular Religious Services. In Bolton we

have been better off than almost any other

[page 5]

Town in Lancashire & yet we have some

16000 People dependent on the general

relief & the Poor rates. Mr Davison is

General Secy of the relief & is fully engaged

daily - His New Church is nearly completed

it is to be Opened on Good Friday, Our

New Chapel on Chorley Road. is just Opened

Mrs B & myself were there on Thursday Evg to hear

the Rev Wm Arthur. Our own New Chapel at Edgworth

is getting nearly finished we expect to Open

it begginning [sic] of June. I trust it will

be the Birthplace of many Souls. Our Congrega-

tions have continued to increase & we have

also had a steady increase of Church Members

we number now over 100. When we

came here they were about 36 to God be

all the praise. Many of the Friends

continue stedfast. Thornley Smith is

at Lincoln & doing well Mr

Bishop went to Lynn in Norfolk

& has been made very useful I

had a very nice encouraging letter

from him a few weeks ago.

Mr Clapham went to Hull you will

reccolect [sic] his 2 Sons being Converted

at our House & how active they were

[page 6]

especially Charles, well they both continue

stedfast & active Christians, & Charles is

pledged with the consent of his Parents to devote

himself as a Missionary to China. The

Eldest Son who was at College & preparing

for a Barrister has since been Converted

& is now one of the most humble, devoted

Young men I know. he has given up his

idea of the Law & is now actively engaged

as a Local Preacher. Preaching in the Streets

on Board Ships or anywhere - & is expecting to go

into the regular Ministry next Conference.

I spent a few days there last Summer & it was

a treat the whole Family living to God & actively

engaged in his Service I am thankful to say

We are all tolerably well in health. Tom

& Johnny are at School at Southport they

have just been home for 3 days on account

of the general rejoicings for the Prince of Wales

Wedding. Tom is preparing for College

for Midsummer - he has decided to prepare

for the Medical Profession. He still

retains his piety & I trust his proffession [sic]

will give him facilities for usefulness

John Robert is a very fine intelligent Boy

but his leanings are decidedly for Business

he is anxious to leave School & come

to help me even now but he is only

11 yrs of age so he must stay awhile yet.

[page 7]

I cannot speak so confidently of Johnnys

piety as Tom but he is still serious

& very thoughtful Maria is a very fine

intelligent Girl & I believe will be a

Comfort to us. she is now nearly 7-

James Henry is as fresh & more lively

than ever. he will if spared make himself

felt in the world for either good or evil.

I Pray God grant us grace & Wisdom

to guide him aright. he seems to

require more than any two of the others

We have then another to introduce you

too, "Alice" after her Mother she is nearly

two years old & is now getting very interesting

she is Papa's Pet. she is very stout

& healthy - full of life & activity &

a very great favorite in the Family

& especially with Grandfather & Grandmother

who live at the Old House where

you visited us - Mary Ann is

pretty well & very happily Married

to a very Pious Man but unfortun

ately his health is not good.

Well now what more shall I say.

I am glad to hear your health continues

to improve & Pray that your life may

[page 8]

yet be preserved many Years for the

benefit of the Church at large. I wish

you would write Your Autobiography

containing your experience in Revivals &c

I do think it would be made a great Blessing

As regards my own experience I regret

to say it is very low & unsatisfactory

I seem to have let the World & its cares

get too firm a hold & I have lost

that High Christian enjoyment which

I felt when you were with us - &

for some time after I have not the

same earnest desire for the Conversion

of Souls. & sometimes Doubt whether I have

not even lost all. I have had a great

deal to go through in Business & other public

matters - & I have allowed them to engross

my thoughts too much I know this need

not be the case that there is Grace according

to our day but it is one thing to know

it & another to realise & appropriate it

I do earnestly wish to be right & to be

guided & directed by God in all things

I feel I need quickening & reviving. may

I beg an interest in Your Prayers that

God would again Bless me. & lift upon me the light

of his reconciled Countenance. Mrs Barlow joins me

in very kind love to Dear Mrs Finney & all yr Dr Family

& yourself. from Yours affectionately James Barlow


[Written across page 1]

James & Sissy were very much pleased at Mrs Finney naming them & they each

send her & you a kiss on the Paper. Mr & Mrs Bell & family are very well

we spent the Evening with them last Thursday & talked about you.

they are about to remove about 6 Miles on the opposite side

of Bolton from us



Quotation marks have been inserted here, and after "policy" on page 4, line 18, enclosing a section which was published in The Bolton Chronicle, 7 March 1863, p. 6, under the heading:


Mr. James Barlow yesterday favoured us with the follow[ing] extract of a letter he has just received from Mr. Finney, containing his views on the present state and prospects of emancipation:-

The extract contains some minor spelling and punctuation changes.

A slash mark in the left-hand margin opposite the start of this sentence may have been inserted by James Barlow to suggest to the publisher of The Bolton Chronicle where he might start the extract to be published.

Finney probably intended to write cotton & rivet here. It is so transcribed in the extract in The Bolton Chronicle.

In the published version of the letter this word appears as tones.

At this point a quotation mark has been inserted, probably by the editor of The Bolton Chronicle, to indicate the end of the section to be published.

In Finney Papers.

The George Griswold was one of a number of relief ships from America. She had sailed from New York on January 10, loaded with barrels of flour, bread, pork, corn, beef, bacon and other provisions, to the value of £16,000, given by the people of New York for the relief of the distressed cotton-mill operatives of Lancashire. It had arrived in Liverpool on February 9. (See The Bolton Chronicle [14 February 1863], p. 2.)

Rev. W. C. Denison did not visit Bolton until Sunday, March 29th, when he preached in the afternoon and evening in the Temperance Hall. His lecture there on the subject of "American Slavery" was given on Tuesday evening, March 31st. The report entitled "The Rev. W. C. Denison on American Slavery" was published in The Bolton Chronicle (4 April 1863), p. 7. See also The Bolton Chronicle (28 March 1863), p. 1.

The first was on February 9, 1863, when the chair was taken by Robert Smalley. A report of it entitled "The American War.-- Public Meeting in Bolton" was published in the Bolton Chronicle (14 February 1863), p. 7. The second meeting, at which James Barlow presided, was on the evening of Tuesday, February 24th.

i.e. engrossed.

This will have been the report: "Anti-slavery Meeting at the Temperance Hall" published in the Bolton Chronicle (28 February 1863), p. 7. Over 2,000 people crowded into the Hall to hear the case for the North presented by James Barlow and others, including Andrew Jackson, "the coloured ex-coachman" to Jefferson Davis. When a speaker sympathetic to the South attempted to address the meeting, there was an uproar which Barlow was unable to control. The resolution which was eventually passed "with only about four dissentients" read:

That this meeting, being convinced that slavery is the cause of the tremendous struggle now going on in the American States and that the object of the leaders of the rebellion is the perpetuation of the unchristian and inhuman system of chattel slavery, earnestly prays that the rebellion may be crushed and its wicked object defeated, and that the Federal government may be strengthened to pursue the emancipation policy till not a slave be left on the American soil; and that a copy of this resolution be sent to his Excellency the President of the United States.

The new Church was opened on April 3, 1863. See "Dedication of the Congregational New Church, Bolton" in The Bolton Chronicle, (4 April 1863), p. [5].

The report of the opening of the new chapel in Park Street, Chorley Road which was dedicated on 4 March, was published in the Bolton Chronicle (7 March 1863), p. 7.

James Clapham was the minister of Wesley Chapel, Bolton when Finney was there. He went to the George Yard Methodist Church in Hull in 1860. See William Hill, An Alphabetic Arrangement of all the Wesleyan-Methodist Ministers, and Preachers on Trial, in connection with the British and Irish Conference (London: Wesleyan Conference Office, 1869), p. 27.

Under the date, January 2, 1860, Mrs Finney wrote in her Journal: "Three young lads came to see Thomas two of them went home hoping the other resisted the truth - the two Claphams."

James Ernest Clapham (1843-1897), became a Wesleyan Methodist minister in 1865, and achieved some distinction, both in evangelistic work and in the administration of Connexional finance. In particular he became a prominent advocate for the cause of local preachers within Methodism. See Minutes of the Methodist Conference (London: 1897), pp. 32-34; Local Preacher's Magazine (April 1897), p. 102; and Jabez Broadbent, "Rev. Chas. G. Finney. The Apostle of Modern Evangelism." No. III, Local Preacher's Magazine (London), Vol. 40 (April 1890), p. 105.

The Prince of Wales was married to Princess Alexandra of Denmark on Tuesday, March 10, 1863.