Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 114, 1886

Butler, G. I.

London, England

October 12, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in 3Bio 353-355.

Elder Butler

Dear Brother:

I was made sad to learn of your sickness, and I hope it is now passed away. I am now scarcely able to write. I have been quite ill for one week, with severe cold caused by prostration for want of pure air and thorough ventilation. I was prostrated at the commencement of the meeting in Grimsby. The people were crowded into a small room which had been closed up with the impurities of the day and evening before, and not properly ventilated in the morning to fit it for the early morning meeting, at half-past five o’clock A.M. All at once my tongue refused its office, and a prostration came upon me. After using every means to gain strength, I ventured to the hall, about one-half mile, and attempted to speak on Sabbath, but the same prostration came on again as I was near the close of my talk. These things are terrible for me. 4LtMs, Lt 114, 1886, par. 1

The hall is located in the center of other buildings, entered from halls or rooms. There is not a window from this hall leading directly outside. It is lighted with skylights, and little wooden transoms in the top admit air through a small opening; but it is impossible, without thorough ventilation from the doors leading into the entries, to divest the body of the house of its impurities accumulated by the congregations’ exhalations from lungs and bodies. I thought then I was cut off from doing anything for the people, but our brethren said they had found out a way that the room could be ventilated, so I put on the armor again and did very well until Sunday night. I spoke to a hall filled with outsiders. I knew the moment I attempted to speak that our brethren had forgotten to ventilate the hall, and the outdoor air had not been introduced into the hall after the last meeting had been held. I got through with the discourse, wearied out. I walked home. I could not sleep that night, and next morning I looked haggard and I felt two years older than I did before I made the attempt to speak. I became very sick with nervous prostration. 4LtMs, Lt 114, 1886, par. 2

Willie knew nothing of this, for in company with others he left, en route for London, Wednesday. I was suffering much with inflammation of head, stomach, and lungs. Sarah gave me determined treatment with fomentations, and this day of suffering was the worst. From this time I grew no worse, but I did not attempt to speak again, although I was in Grimsby one week after the council meetings closed. My throat, head, and lungs are still afflicted, and tonight I leave for Nimes to labor again. 4LtMs, Lt 114, 1886, par. 3

I tell you, these hard spots in my experience make me desire the climate of California and the refuge of home. Have I any home? Where is it? Well, I can, I think, sympathize with you, and pray the Lord to preserve your life and give you peace, blessed peace and rest in soul and body—not rest in the grave, but rest from taxation and care. 4LtMs, Lt 114, 1886, par. 4

I have many things to communicate and would say, dear brother, that my trust is in the Lord. As the parties go to America, I am strongly inclined to attend the General Conference, but know that if I get on the other side of the ocean it will be to stay, not to come back here. But there is work to be done here yet, and there seems to be very much to be done to set the work rolling right, and I do not feel released yet. I have had some very plain talk to give some of the workers, and I am not through yet. When I recover I have some writing to do to different ones, which is not the most pleasant kind of work. 4LtMs, Lt 114, 1886, par. 5

I felt the most unreconciled to doing this work here in England. It seems that the workers are not happily dispositioned. Their tastes, their habits are not of that character to be harmonious. I never had a meeting closed with as little satisfaction after hard labor as the one in England. I could see no way for the work to advance with its present helpers. Brother John feels that if you propose a different way of labor than his own, it is a personal attack on him. He cannot understand any other way to do than his own way. 4LtMs, Lt 114, 1886, par. 6

Oh, my soul, how can the Lord do anything with such material as poor human nature—deformed, one-sided, crooked as He finds us! Well, if you have men of good, sound judgment, England needs them. 4LtMs, Lt 114, 1886, par. 7