Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 16, 1883

Butler, G. I.; Members of the Board

South Lancaster, Massachusetts

November 29, 1883

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother Butler and also the members of the Board whose names are united with you in your decision:

I respect your judgment, but I do not view this matter as you do. There are other points to be considered that you have made no mention of, I think. You may be in danger of thinking that you are more merciful and liberal than in reality you are. 4LtMs, Lt 16, 1883, par. 1

I am aware that my son has moved unwisely. I have stated this to him plainly. But when he is in a position where, unless help is granted to him, he cannot in any way meet his obligations to you or to others, to tie up his hands that he can do nothing whatever seems poor policy to me. 4LtMs, Lt 16, 1883, par. 2

We have not thus worked in our experience. You may be in danger of not viewing things all right. I left special word with Henry Kellogg in regard to the matter of books which Edson [White] wished to obtain to work upon. Was not his word sufficient that I would be responsible? I do not think you work on the right policy when you see a man in a close place, where you can help or ruin him, to let it be ruin. If the office was impoverished it would be another matter; but it is not. This help could be granted without even very much inconvenience to yourselves. Be careful that there is not too much iron in your movements; that will only do harm in the place of good. Do not be so faithful that mercy and compassion may drop out of your hearts. 4LtMs, Lt 16, 1883, par. 3

But I will say no more. I should certainly think it best for Edson to move carefully and to be made to feel where he has made mistakes. I think he does. I shall stand by him and help him to recover and get on his feet again, for his soul is as precious as any for whom Christ has died. You understand the situation perfectly. You are not ignorant of the fact that in withholding books from him you close up every avenue for him to recover himself. I do not think your decision is wise. 4LtMs, Lt 16, 1883, par. 4