To Hon. G. W. Washburn

29 December 1863


[MS in Finney Papers 2/2/1. It is a copy of a letter from Finney to Hon. G. W. Washburn in the handwriting of Angelina Atkinson Finney with an addition in Finney's own handwriting (in italics).]


Oberlin 29. Dec. 1863.

Hon. G. W. Washburn.

Dear Sir

Yours of the 24th is recd. I suppose I under

stand the nature of the business in which you and my son are

engaged. I see no objection to it in either a legal or moral point of

view. Dr Wright of your city, owes me in the neighborhood of $1000,

including the unpaid interest. I understand he is ready to pay it.

I believe you hold the note. I have been endeavoring to lay by enough

to render me comfortable should I live to be old. I am now in

my 72d year. I wish to so invest the little I have as to make it pay

me ten percent punctually and annually and in such a way

that by giving one or two years notice I or my heirs, can, if necessary

withdraw the Capital from the concern. I wish to do this without

assuming any risk or responsibility in regard to the management

or the debts of the concern. My son tells me, as you do in this letter,

that this can be done and that you and he will be amply paid for

your labor and expense in managing the business. If you will draw

up and execute an instrument that will put it in the right shape

and send it to me, if it suits my views, I will forward it to my son

for his hand and seal. When this is accomplished I will give

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you authority to use the money to be paid by Dr Wright.

I have virtually accepted an offer for some real estate in N.Y. City.

If I get the cash for that I shall probably wish to invest it in your

business. I want the instrument so drawn that I can invest more from

time to time as the Lord may give me the ability. It is hardly

to be expected that I shall get all the money down for my

property in New York. From that and from other sources I

may be receiving sums that I may wish to invest in that concern.

If you can afford it, I should like to draw five per cent semi-

annually, i.e., ten per cent in half yearly instalments. If this

is inconvenient you may pay me the ten per cent annually.

I will send a copy of this letter to my son and likewise

a copy of yours to me and request him to write to you upon the


Yours truly

C. G. Finney.


P.S. Of course, in framing the instrument you will name the

day on which the ten per cent is to be paid. I believe the in-

strument will need a stamp. I mean or wish to be in such a sense a part-

ner in the concern that it shall have no appearance of an attempt to evade the law establish-

ing the rate of interest. As you get 25 per cent on the money in your business it seems no

more than fair that what capital I embark in the concern should pay me ten percent

without labor or risk on my part; and that not in the sense of interest on a loan, but in the


of return of capital invested. You will I trust understand me. As I C .G . Finney. have no



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in the management of the funds of the concern, it seems just that the manager of the business


be responsible to me for my portion of the capital invested

& This should be stated in the instrument to be drawn.

C. G. Finney.



1 This letter is not in the Finney Papers in Oberlin College.

Finney used an old letter book to make entries under the title: "Directions to my executors or rather facts which they will need to know". This gives details of notes and bonds kept in a tin chest. Under the date 20 May 1864 is the following entry:

Charles, My son, holds Dr. Wright's note given to me & Charles acts as my Agent in reference to it.

See "Journal and Letter Book, 1836", p. 35, in Finney Papers, 2/2/2, Box 11.

Below the entry about Dr. Wright's note in Finney's "Directions" to his executors, he wrote: "Sept. 15. 1864. Recd. payment of the above note"; and under the same date he recorded a purchase of a U.S. Bond for $1000.

Finney owned No. 52 Catherine Street in New York. It was rented out to a Mr. Rosendorff for an annual rent of $700. The agent who managed it on Finney's behalf was Alfred Smith of Fulton Bank, New York. See the letters from Alfred Smith in the Finney Papers, Oberlin College.

An entry in Finney's "Directions" to his executors under the date Feb. 1865 reads: "Have sold the Catherine St. property for $9000. & vested it in 7-30. U.S. Bonds."

An entry, under the date, 20 May 1864, in Finney's "Directions" to his executors, indicates one of the documents from Charles in the tin chest: "The receipt for money to be used in his business will speak for itself."