To J. P. Williston

9 July 1869


[Manuscript in Finney Papers, microfilm, roll 6, #3030a.]


The Reverend A. Ritchie, the corresponding secretary of the Western Tract and Book Society in Cincinnati which had just published Finney's book on Freemasonry, wrote to Finney on June 24th about promoting the book: "Perhaps a line from you to J. P. Williston Northampton Mass. might result in something."


Oberlin Ohio 9th July 1869.

J. P. Williston Esqr.

My Dear Brother,

I thank you for your letter of

the 5th with the enclosed check

of $20. to enable me to give

away more copies of my book

on freemasonry. I am glad

that you think so well of its

adaptedness to do good that

you are disposed to help in

its circulation. The press is

very generally afraid to commend,

or even to notice it. It is, however,

working its way. You speak of

having employed a young

man to sell it. That is a

good idea. Will it too much

interfere with duty, to tell

me how he succeeds-for what

price he sells, & how extensive

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his sales are likely to be.

Prepas that is the best way

to promote their circulation.

You speak of having heard

me preach in New York city &c

I think I never knew you personally.

Was it your adopted son that went

to Germany & made such shipwreck

of his faith? Poor fellow, I saw &

conversed with him in Boston

in 1858. He seemed to come

into the light. I have since

heard that he did not

abide in the light. Where

& how is he? But I am

asking too many questions

& taking up too much of your

time. Again I thank you

for your letter & check. I shall

send for more books to give

to certain parties immediately

My health is good at present.

I preach twice on each sabbath

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& perform my duties to my

theological class. These

labors with the care of

a very large church &

congregation keep me

busy. God bless you

my very dear Brother

C. C. Finney



The Character, Claims, and Practical Workings of Freemasonry (Cincinnati: Western Tract and Book Society, 1869).

Rev. A. Ritchie wrote to Finney on June 9th, that he had sent copies "to the Independent Congregationalist Advance and a few other papers but have seen no notice of it in these papers." And on June 24th he wrote to say that about 1300 copies had been sold. "I think they are just coming into notice. I sent copies to all the papers but several have not noticed it. And some of them from whom I expected better things."

This word is probably meant to be "Perhaps".