Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 13b, 1890

Hutchings, George

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 15, 1890

Portions of the letter are published in MRmnt 123.

Brother George Hutchings:

While on the cars for the East we had some conversation with you in regard to my place in Burrough Valley. You stated to me that Brother Dunlap wanted to rent my place. I told you I would rent both places and the house for $175.00. You said you had a chance to sell the land, the twenty acres, but did not know as I wished to dispose of it. I told you I did, most assuredly. I related to you how much money had been expended on the place. I told you the particulars, why I had invested money in both these places, but dwelt especially on the last place, that twenty acres. 6LtMs, Lt 13b, 1890, par. 1

Your brother stated that he would sell off land from his place and then he would buy back the twenty acres as that was the best land in the Valley, and he would pay the one thousand dollars I had paid, and the taxes and interest. In fact, all that I was out and more, and then your brother moved away and I was sadly disappointed. I said I wished you would interest yourself to help me dispose of this property in the Valley. I told you we wanted trees planted and some other things I can not call to mind. 6LtMs, Lt 13b, 1890, par. 2

After we had left you at Fresno, Willie told me that you said that you would sell my place for five per cent on the money I received for it. I was more surprised at this than I can express, that under the circumstances you should require that sum of me. I do not think it is right that you should do this. 6LtMs, Lt 13b, 1890, par. 3

I was seeking to save your brother from losing all his property. I sent East to Iowa and hired the money, paying seven per cent interest on it and put it in these places. You know this and what kind of a conscience you have, to deal with me in this way, I can not comprehend. I was told by more than two persons that if it had not been for your management, my hay would have been sold. I wrote to Brother Dunlap in response to a letter received from his wife, that I would let him have the land and house for $175.00. He, of course, could have the entire management of the place. He said he would not be under an agent. I told him to carry on the place, for I had confidence that a man who had managed land in the East would be better calculated to manage land in the West than even Californians, because Eastern men had to make the most out of the land they worked. My letter was written to Brother Dunlap November 20, 1889. 6LtMs, Lt 13b, 1890, par. 4

Last evening I received a letter from Brother Dunlap, saying that Brother George Hutchings had some one else he wished to rent the place to, and in order to save any unpleasant feelings he would not take the place. Now I am afraid that I shall fail to have a proper person to care for my place. Will you please to write me what you are doing, and what you propose to do? I am thrown into confusion by this unsettled state of things. What am I to expect? Can I put confidence in my brethren and trust that they will consider my situation and do for me as they would wish me to do for them under similar circumstances? Or shall I be compelled to decide that selfishness controls the minds and movements of my brethren and that even my case is no exception to the general practice. 6LtMs, Lt 13b, 1890, par. 5

I am pained at heart to see the selfishness that exists in even those who are brethren in the faith; that selfishness which eats out vital piety and true godliness from the soul. I am a servant to the cause of God. 6LtMs, Lt 13b, 1890, par. 6

Since I returned from Europe I have seen places where money must be raised or losses would be sustained. I donated one thousand dollars to the Chicago mission and carry this debt, paying seven percent interest. I saw that different churches must be helped for they were under financial pressure, and I gave six hundred more. I had to hire the money and am still paying interest on this. I saw Brother and Sister Sawyer were struggling in poverty and affliction, and I made them a donation of fifty dollars. I saw the daughter, Nellie Leland, struggling in her widowhood to obtain a trade whereby she could earn means to sustain her fatherless children, and I sent them one hundred dollars. I saw that Mary K. White, in her affliction, must have a carriage. I bought a carriage for myself to use that cost thirty dollars and sent one hundred dollars to poor Mary. I expected that Volume 4 would sell, but Bible Readings came in and Volume 4 was dropped so that but little means has come in to me the last year. 6LtMs, Lt 13b, 1890, par. 7

Now I ask you if you cannot do as much for me as I am doing for others, and sell my place for me as soon as possible. One or both of them, and not charge me as you do outsiders. I never have dealt with my brethren after this fashion, for I would not want the books of heaven to reveal such transactions with my brethren. I know those who deal in real estate business, buying and selling, become selfish and grasping. And really, I fear the books of heaven show dishonesty, and I think it not a business that will strengthen solid, Christian principles. If we want to perfect a character that is tender, compassionate, pure, and uncorrupted, the sooner our brethren let all such enterprises alone, the better for their present piety and their eternal interests. 6LtMs, Lt 13b, 1890, par. 8

I now ask you as a friend, if you can aid me in selling my land and house in the valley to do so, for I need the means to invest in the cause of God. 6LtMs, Lt 13b, 1890, par. 9

We have none too much time to set our own hearts and houses in order. I now commit this statement to you and ask you to do as a Christian should do for me, knowing the circumstances, and do not try to get all from me that you possibly can. I will pay you for your time and the real expense you are [put] to in doing this business for me, and this is all you ought to have from me. If you are not discerning enough to understand your duty I will lay it before you in the light God has caused me to regard such things. I do not want you to make any money out of me, considering all the circumstances in the case. And since my son told me your terms for selling the place, you have certainly fallen in my estimation. It is with pain I have thought of this matter ever since. 6LtMs, Lt 13b, 1890, par. 10

But now I am in perplexity, I begin to question whether any one will have unselfish interest enough to work for me to my best advantage, that I will not suffer loss. I speak these things to you in no unkind feeling, but with much pain as I see selfishness growing in the hearts of my brethren that seem to consider gain is godliness. O that the converting power of God may come into our midst, is my prayer. 6LtMs, Lt 13b, 1890, par. 11

This letter is written hastily and with no unkind feelings toward you, but surprise that you should exact from me five per cent on all you sell for me. I hope that you will take these plain words kindly. I have great respect for Bro. Joe Hutchings and wife. They have not acted a selfish part in their life, and apparently, this may not be termed with him a financial success, but I know that the Lord loves him and that the books of heaven will show a much better record than if they had cared only for themselves. 6LtMs, Lt 13b, 1890, par. 12

Please place this in the hands of Bro. George Hutchings. 6LtMs, Lt 13b, 1890, par. 13