Stampless folded letter sheet.
Black circular postmark:
NICHOLASVILLE Ky JUN 28
Samuel Barnett Esqr
Nicholasville June 26th 1840
I received your communication of the 13th on
last Monday, and now sit down to answer it. I am glad to hear
that you are all well. John wrote to me that you were living
in Burgans house; and you told me that you have
almost completed a house behind the store. How does Martha do for
a housekeeper? Do you think that she made any improvement whilst
at Washington? From what you tell me Hollands has come far short
of getting out of debt in a year. How does he expect to do?
I venture to predict that you and he will soon be on bad terms as
you were before. But be careful to act towards him as a Christian.
My session will be out in two months. In regard to the question
that I proposed to you for consideration in my last letter, I now
state that I have a serious notion of going to the Cherokees.
In the first place, this is a day of missionary enterprize.
The means are no doubt in operation which shall, through the blessing
of God, effect the evangelization of the world. The harvest truly
is plenteous, but the labourers are few. Many laboureres
are called for. Who shall go? Who are going? If it is the duty of any
to go, is it not my duty? I think that I could not be better engaged
than as a missionary. I may say that as far as I see now I will
be a missionary. As long as God keeps me in this world I will labour for
him. Whither shall I go? is the next question. Shall I
stay in this country, or go to a foreign one? I wrote sometime since to
Dr. Brown requesting him to inform me if he knew of any demand for
missionary teachers. He answered that he knew that teachers were wanted, and that
he would write to the East to the secretary of the board of
on the subject and as soon as he heard would inform me. I expect another
letter from him in a short time.
To me the way to the Cherokees seems to be open. It is a Methodist
mission. Young men who are members of the Methodist church
are required. It is under the direction of the Arkansas conference.
The compensation is the same as that allowed to travelling preachers.
I will show you how I view your objections to my going.
Your objections are first, that there are enough of young men to go
who are qualified besides me, and secondly,
that I would not be doing all the good I might do. As to the first
objection; who are going? It may be that none will go; indeed it is
quite probable, and shall these poor Indians be left destitute just
because I quess that others will go? In respect to my being qualified
to fill a higher station, I think that those very qualification
should induce me to go. They would fit me for more extensive usefulness
amongst the Indians. I could exert a much greater influence than those
bring the whole weight of these qualifications to bear on the object
of civilizing and evangelizing the Indians. I would look to a more
extended sphere than that of a school. As to your second objection
I answer. Of what use would I be in a college? It would be an easier
and more honorable (in the worlds estimation) life for me. I
would make more money. But suppose that I should be nicely fixed in
a college. I would then have some such thoughts as these. Well, here
I am well stowed a way. I have a good salary and it is sure. But there
are the Indians. They have none to instruct them. They are perishing
for lack of knowledge If I had any moral feelings
could I rest contented with these thoughts? As for the honours of the
world I would care nothing about them. I wish to live as one who has
here no continuing city here. I wish to live for reason. Your paternal
anxiety for my welfare has betrayed you. Your objections are not well
grounded. You do not wish me to remove from civilized society. But
if it is the Lords will, will you not bid me God speed? When
you answer this letter I shall determine. If I go I will start
about the middle of October, I shall however wait for a letter from
Dr. Brown. Perhaps the Lord may call me to some other part of his
vineyard. His blessed will be done. You tell me that the democratic
party think of taking you up as a candidate for the legislature this
fall and ask my opinion on the subject. I would say this. You are a
professed follower of Jesus Christ, and should do all to the glory of
God. Ask yourself whether you could as much or more glorify God in a
legislators capacity. A politicians life is a dangerous
one. Nine out of ten are injured. It is hard for an active politician
to be a devoted Christian. And look into your own heart and ask
youself what are your motives. Is there not pride there? A desire of
the praise of men? Is there not a desire of gain? But we owe duties
to society and you might consider them. On the whole commit the matter
to God. Trust in him for his guidance. If you are taken
up and elected carry with you the halls of legislation a high
sense of your moral obligations, to be the friend of religion and order,
not a blind party politician. Remember your danger and trust in God
for his protection. For my part I would rather you would not be taken up.
In a former letter I requested you to give me some information in relation
to my mothers death. Will you take the trouble to comply with this
request in your next. Give me some notion to of the character of her piety
through life. I have been studying Hebrew for a time and find it a very
pleasant study. I intend to prosecute it.
There is no news of particular interest about here at present. Times
are hard and it is difficult to get money.
I would like to know where Gist is. and Snell, Give my respects to
all at home, and to Aunt Martha & grandmother when you see them. Tell Martha
(sister) that she must write to me. Ask Hollands why he does not write.
Be careful that the cares of this world do not draw you away from the narrow
path that leads to heaven. Let us so live that an entrance may be administered
to us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I am your affectionate son
Wm G Barnett
To Mr. Samuel Barnett Esqr
PS Please to answer this letter immediately. If the mail does not start from
Bentlysville send your letter to Bellville
to be mailed.
Transcription: © Melanie Hamilton 2005