To Potto Brown

1 October 1857


[MS in Goodman Family Papers]


Oberlin College, Ohio. United States.

1st Oct. 1857.

My Dear Brother Brown.

It has been a long time since I have heard

direct from you or have written you. My time as usual has been

intensely packed with duties & responsibilities, & hence, having nothing

very definite to write that would immediately interest you, I have

delayed to write. But since some friends are going from here

direct, I send an open letter by them, with the request that


they will deliver it to you. We have been, for the last year,Ÿour dear

friend Captain Moody, from England, to visit us. He has set

several times to come, but has been providentially prevented.

We have intended that his comming should be the occasion

upon which we would decide whether or not to go to Englang.

But he has not come, & probably will not. although we still

expect him daily. His children, i.e. two daughters & son in law,

expect to start for England next week. The capt last wrote that

he may arrive after they have left America. But the prob

abilities now are that he will not come this year, if at all.

It has been, & is in our hearts to visit England again, &

had we not expected Capt. M. & defered our decision until

now, we might have been with you this fall. But as it is

we shall not go over, unless some new intelligence is recd that shall

enable us to make up our minds. Our labors are abundantly

needed & called for on this side, & both the cities of New York

& Boston, with many other important filelds, are pressing their

claims & necessities upon us as fields of spiritual labor. But

still our minds are strongly drawn to England. We can not

tell why unless we ascribe it to the Spirit of the Lord.


[page 2]

You have, I suppose, heard of the out pouring of God's

Spirit in Rochester & Boston & many other places the last

two winters. These revivals have been glorious & their daily prayer-

meetings are still continued. Several churches in Boston are

uniting to hold a circle of religious meetings the coming winter

as we did last winter, only on a more extended scale.

We recd letters to this effect yesterday. It is probably that we shall

spend another winter i.e. the next, in Boston. It may be that

we shall go to N.York or elsewhere. We can not say to which

of the inviting fields we shall conclude to go. So much are

our hearts drawn to England, (& we feel alike on this subject)

that if we knew that the doors were open there, I think we

should go there in preference to going elsewhere.

We have seen most wonderful revivals the last two years especially.

The work of the Lord connected with our college has always been

highly interesting. We have at present an unusually large number

of students in attendance, & a work of convicting grace is

going on among them with solemn interest. The Lord has

wonderfully blessed our efforts, (I mean the efforts of his people)

in connection with this college. There has been a continuous

outpouring of Divine influence upon this place since its

first foundations were laid.

Mrs. Finney got overdone last winter & has not had

her usual strength the last summer. She thinks a sea voyage

& an English climate & regimen, would do her good. She is

about & busy as usual. But has not her former power of

indurance. She thinks she shall be able to labor as usual

the coming winter. We think & speak of you very often

& wish we were at Br. Browns.


[page 3]

How is Br. Harcourt doing in London? We have not heard

from him in a long time. It is possible that we may see our way

clear to leave Oberlin & go to England during the winter or in

the spring. Should we spend the winter in Boston or New York

or Philadelphia, or Providence or elsewhere, & get fatigued as

we always are, we may go to England in the spring instead

of returning to our labors here. A sea voyage & a few weeks

spent among our friends in England, would probably put

us in strength for a new effort & we might begin wherever the

field are ready for harvest. We hear with the greatest

interest of the movement among the Episcopalians, Methodists

Baptists &c. to convert souls to God. But we hear of no special

movements among the independents. How is this? Why do they

not make special efforts with other denominations.

We beseech you Br. Brown, to see if you can not do something

to stir up the Independents to move in this matter, &

unite their efforts to save the souls of the masses.

What! shall it be said that at such a time as this, that

body of christians are making no special movement.

They may be doing more than we are aware of on this side.

I shall write Dr. Campbell soon. D.V. & ask him what

the Independents are doing. Give a great deal of love from

both myself & wife to all your dear family. To the Goodmans

& Tebuts's & to all the dear brethren & sisters in Houghton

& elsewhere who may inquire after us. Give our love also to Br.

Harcourt & Hart & Burton &c. &c. God bless you & them & all

your dear friends. Do my Br. let us hear from you

without delay. Mrs F. is filled with company & can not

write at present. She sends abundant love to all.

Your Br. C. G. Finney.


P.S. I will send this by mail as it will reach you

sooner. Do you get my letters post paid. I always pay

but fear that the Post Masters do not always give

credit. If you get any one unpaid you may know

there is fraud & I wish you would send me the

evidence that the postage is not credited.

I wrote you from Boston last winter & watched the

Post office clerk to see if he gave credit on the

envelope I found he did not. C. G. F.


Finney received the following letter from George Cockle:


Copy of my letter to Mr Finney.

Parkers Piece, Cambridge.

August 25th 1858

My dear Sir,

Having lately been on a

visit at St Ives, I one day rode over

to Houghton to pay my respects to

our old friend Mr Potto Brown.

I had hardly been with him five

minutes before he began to pour

forth a lamentation that your letter

to him dated last October, had not

yet been answered; & at the same time

very urgently to request me to write to

you on his behalf & to say something

by way of apology for the long omission.

[page 2]

I must, then, inform you that soon after

the receipt of your letter, Mr Brown was

seized with a long & painful illness, so

severe, that for a time his life was consi-

dered in danger; and when at length the

period of convalescence arrived, then

came the importunities of business,

rendered more urgent by his long

captivity. Thus day after day passed

away till, as he himself told me, he felt

that his negligence had actually made him

ashamed to write at all. It was this un

satisfactory state of things wh, I doubt not,

led him to extort from me a promise that

I wd address a few lines to you at my earliest


I was also to inform you that matters were

going on at Houghton much after the old sort -

that Mr Harcourt had left for London, & Mr

Burton for Birmingham, but that Mr Hart

still remained & was unwearied in his labour of

[page 3]

love - and that it is hoped some good is being

done among the surrounding population. At St Ives

in addition to their own chapel, they have lately

formed a Young Men Xn Assn, & the Public Institution has

been opened for Sabbath evening service. Mrs C & myself

were present a short time & were pleased with

the numbers in attendance. At Fenstanton too they have

had occasion to enlarge their place of worship. How x


[inserted along left margin}

x much both Mr Brown & Harcourt seemed to regret, dear Sir, that

you were not once more in their midst.

[page 3, continued]

Indeed, I firmly believe that the chief

reason why Mr Brown has not written to

you himself is because he was not able

to renew his invitation to you as he wished.

He has felt that it wd be, in the last degree

unreasonable, to invite you to this country

without first raising a few hundred pounds

to meet the loss you must necessarily sus-

tain by any lengthened absence fr Oberlin;

& also he offered to subscribe two hundred

pounds, & a few other friends certain smaller

sums, still his "Appeal" was not responded

to in such a manner as he thought wd at

all justify him in taking such a step -

[page 4]

And besides this, many expressed a doubt

as to the propriety of his getting you over to

to our country just now that a great

revival is going on in your own. -

During the past month a teetotal

meeting was held in Houghton at wh Mr

Gough attended, & the celebrated character

caricaturist Cruickshank took ye chair.

It was truly a monster meeting, for I

think there wd not have been far short

of three thousand persons present. On the

two succeeding days other meetings

were held. Mr Brown seemed all in

his glory. Among his guests were several

of your countrymen, - Mr Horace James,

Mr Gould, & two ladies whose names I

do not recollect.

The friends generally whom you occa-

sionally met at Houghton, are, I believe

[page 5]

tolerably well. Of course you heard of

the death of our amiable young friend

Joseph Goodman. My sister-in-law Mrs Tebbutt

of Bluntisham particularly desired me to

present her love to you & Mrs Finney. Neville

Goodman has lately taken to himself a

wife & now resides at Royston, a few

miles from Cambridge, where he has com-

menced business. I occasionally hear of his

preaching in the neighbourg villages. His

sister Susan was likewise married a

week or two ago. Of Mr Moore I know

but little, he having removed to another

part of the country. The last time I heard

from him he informed me that he & you

were conjointly engaged, or about to do so,

in a work on Psychology, but wh he thought

might require some few years to complete.

I sincerely hope you will not lose sight

[page 6]

of this important undertaking, but

that you will do what you can to expedite

its completion. I am now anxiously awaiting

the publication of Sir Wm Hamilton's posthu-

mous works. - I have often thought and

talked of the many pleasant & profitable

hours wh I was privileged to spend in your

society for which, as well as for ye benefit

I have derived from your valuable wri-

tings, I now offer you my warmest thanks.

- I think you not unfrequently contribute

an article to one of your provincial papers.

Mr Moore, I remember, shewed me a pile

of them. Permit me to say, dear Sir,

how delighted I shd be to receive any

article of a theological of philosophical

character with wh you might favour me

[page 7]

from time to time - And this reminds

me of those very valuable papers on

"the simplicity of moral actions" written by

the late Mr Cochran & inserted in the

Oberlin Review. I never had an oppor-

tunity of reading the whole of them, but

I have long desired [to] do so, & have taken

some pains to procure the numbers

but without success. Even my applica-

tion to the Anerican publishers thro'

Massrs Trubner & Co failed. If therefore

you could at any time kindly

assist me in obtaining possession of

a copy, I shd heartily rejoice and

warmly thank you.

But I see I must not enlarge, as

I have only space enough to add

[page 8]

Mr Brown's kind love to yourself

& Mrs Finney with whom both Mrs

Cockle & myself most cordially unite.

Believe me to be

Yours, my dear Sir,

very sincerely

J C.


To Professor Finney

Oberlin College


United States -



Finney received a letter from Potto Brown dated 16 June 1856.

Captain John Moody (1802-1872) was a ship's Captain living in Goole, who had been converted under Finney's ministry in 1849. (See The York Herald, 9 March 1872, p. 8.) He gave Finney a pocket chronometer, which Finney left to his son, Charles, in his will, and which was passed down the family.

Finney intended to write England here.

These were probably Moody's eldest daughter, Mary, who was married to Russell Emmerson, and Ann (1835-1921) who had just graduated from the Literary Course in the College, and was soon to be married to Revd Edward Potter. See the will of John Moody, dated 13 September 1870, in Somerset House, London; and Ann Potter to James Fairchild, 30 March 1884, James Harris Fairchild Papers, Oberlin College Archives.

This word should have been fields.

Finney should have written probable.

Finney originally wrote what looks like "with" here, but altered it to "in".

Finney originally wrote "Tebutses" but altered it.