Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 185, 1897

Daniells, A. G.; Palmer, Brother

Sunnyside, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

June 27, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in 4Bio 305-306.

Brethren Daniells and Palmer:

Your letter received evening after the Sabbath needs careful reflection and most earnest seeking of the Lord for counsel. If you could understand all the features in the case of the school, you would then become intelligent to the situation, for there have been some things constantly arising that need just such help as Elder Haskell alone can give. The breaking off from here now, when he is giving the important Bible instruction, cannot be thought of. We are on the ground and know. In this we have had our experience. The board here know just about as much as children in reference to the consideration of important matters. 12LtMs, Lt 185, 1897, par. 1

From the time Brother Lacey came, the board made their decision for him to be principal of the school. Not one of these board [members] thought to counsel with me—Brother Lacey included. On one movement made, Brother Herbert Lacey accepted the position at once. Brother Haskell, with his gray hairs and his long connection with the work, was not once referred to. Now, to take such steps is far more easy than to retrace them. He acted as principal when he knew not more by experience how to save than a schoolboy. All these things had been opened before me and it was a large pill for me to swallow, you may be assured, in my weak condition, scarcely able to get a breath without great pain in my heart. 12LtMs, Lt 185, 1897, par. 2

Well, this kind of management has gone on. No more attention or reference was made to Brother Haskell or Sister Haskell as matron than if they were blocks of wood; not one reference made to me or my judgment or my opinion. And if any word was spoken to counterwork things that were going wrong here, the whole Lacey family were to be handled. 12LtMs, Lt 185, 1897, par. 3

I have not wanted you to know these things, but as sure as Elder Haskell leaves I shall leave also. I will not, dare not, lift the burden. I have been making as diligent work as possible to correct the wrongs, but there must be someone be present to help Brother Hughes carry them through. 12LtMs, Lt 185, 1897, par. 4

There is certainly a grave mistake somewhere in setting the price of tuition so low. Nothing is coming in on anything that is done to peace out the deficient funds. I was much surprised that not one reference was made to me in the decision in regard to this business. Now the tuition has been set so low there will be, Brother Hughes says, a debt left on the school at the very beginning. They have room and board and tuition for too low a sum. How much wisdom is there in setting prices so low when you, and all who are intelligent in this matter, know that living here costs about one or two thirds more than in America? They gave them only two meals in America, and here three, and charge the same price. Here is want of wisdom unless we want to be buried up in debt. 12LtMs, Lt 185, 1897, par. 5

I am responsible for more than eleven hundred pounds, on all of which I am paying interest. Where is the prospect of the school’s ever being able to make even running expenses? They are certainly going behind not using meat or butter, and living economically as they know how. But here is a problem for someone to solve who has had the setting of these prices. I was not aware of this thing. But the principal burden has been that Brother Herbert Lacey has brought an education with him from America that is every little while developing in movements deleterious to the students. In one thing after another he rushes in without forethought as to the result. His taking the school from the first will make it hard for Brother Hughes. He is in many things a boy among boys, and you understand this is the free and easy-going habits of the family generally. 12LtMs, Lt 185, 1897, par. 6

We have to counterwork things that are started. I was much astonished to hear read right out in meeting a recommendation by the committee for Brother Gregg and Brother James to be elders of the church. Not one of the committee had counselled me in regard to this matter. Brother Gregg is young in the faith. He has been leavened with Shannon and Lawrence and has been a criticizer with them. Since they have been set forth as censurable themselves, he has not had so much to say, but he needs experience of a different order before he shall serve in place of elder. 12LtMs, Lt 185, 1897, par. 7

Brother Herbert does not mean any harm, but he shows manifest lack of good judgment—that forethought that is essential in managing matters. Notwithstanding he has been corrected in these things again and again, yet it comes just as natural as his breath for him to move independently. To get an idea and rush it to the front is his way, and makes things hard when his way has to be discountenanced, for the influence on the students is not beneficial. I have told him the light given me of God was that he was not to manage, but keep his hands off the machinery. He proposed to leave the boarding farm and he and his wife take a room outside and board themselves. Well, it would be a relief to the school, to Brother Haskell and Brother Hughes, but if he is to have his lesson and learn, it is now that his methods and his managing powers will have to be converted before he can use them. And if he is apart from the school, the liberty to sympathize with the students in an objectionable course of action would not make things better, but worse, and could not so readily be handled. 12LtMs, Lt 185, 1897, par. 8

This phase of things has been very trying to me. It has cut me to the heart. I called the board and the chairman of the board together, Brethren Richardson, Reekie, Lamplough, and Parcells, and Brother Herbert Lacey, and I showed them where they had made a mistake in not coming to me and consulting me in any of their movements when I had been carrying the whole responsibilities, with Brother Hare. I showed them their judgment was not good in nominating Brother Gregg without saying one word to me in regard to the matter. Brother Parcells could not be present. You can see these men were not sufficient to transact any such business. To have such men make work for us and their head ignorant of the men they nominate was a farce, nothing better than a farce. They judge by circumstances and impression that strike their minds. 12LtMs, Lt 185, 1897, par. 9

I know these men selected are men who mean to do right, but they do not one of them understand the matters they are handling and how much hangs upon the movements they make. We have no objection to Brother James, but we have objections to Brother Gregg, and you see that after such unadvised movements have been made it is liable, if changed, to bring temptation upon the mind of the one refused. So our Brother Herbert Lacey shows himself to be man who has not obtained a deep all-round judgment of matters. You can understand how hard it is for me to have to work and counterwork movements introduced. It just tries my soul. The family connections shall not weigh one straw with me as to the positions I must take, but nevertheless it is very trying to me. It hurts me. 12LtMs, Lt 185, 1897, par. 10

Brother Daniells, when reading the daily Sydney papers this morning, we see store notices marked where important meetings are to be held the first of next month upon this question of putting God and religion into the constitution. Now is our time to work. I cannot see any light in you, my brethren, leaving the Echo office and at this important time going to Western Australia. You could, one of you, run up to Hobart. 12LtMs, Lt 185, 1897, par. 11

Brother Wilson feels that it is his duty to return to Tasmania. He had another attack of spitting blood. A meeting of prayer was convened Friday morning and his case was made a special subject of prayer. All were greatly blessed and Brother Wilson says the congestion he was suffering under was removed instantly. He says he will not go to Hobart and work as best he can to counteract the tendencies to apostasy there. He may go round by Melbourne; he may go direct by steamer to Hobart. But do not leave the work in Melbourne or in Sydney at this time. All should work, and many can work if wisely directed how to work. 12LtMs, Lt 185, 1897, par. 12