Alton Observer

September 11, 1837

To The Friends of the Redeemer in Alton

Dear Brethren,

It is at all times important that the friends of truth should be united. It is especially so at the present time, when iniquity is coming in like a flood. I should be false to my covenant vows, and false to every feeling in my heart, were I to refuse making any personal sacrifice to effect so desirable an object. Having learned that there is a division of sentiments among the brethren, as it regards the propriety of my continuing long to fill the office of Editor of the "Alton Observer," I do not hesitate a moment to submit the question to your decision. Most cheerfully I will resign my post, if in your collective wisdom you think the cause we all profess to love will thereby be promoted. And in coming to a decision on this question, I beseech you as a favour--may I not enjoin it as a duty?--that you act without any regard to my personal feelings. I should be false to the Master I serve, and of whose gospel I am a minister, should I allow my own interests, (real or supposed,) to be placed in competition with his. Indeed, I have no interest, no wish, at least I think I have none; I know I wrought to have none other than such as are subordinate to his will. Be it yours, brethren, to decide what is best for the cause of truth, most for the glory of God, and the salvation of souls, and rest assured--whatever my own private judgment may be--of my cordial acquiescence in your decision.

I had, at first, intended to make an unconditional surrender of the editorship into your hands. But as such a course might be liable to misconstructions, I have, by the advice of a beloved brother, determined to leave the whole matter with you. I am ready to go forward if you say so, and equally ready to yield to a successor, if such be your opinion. Yet let me say, promptly, that in looking back over my past labours as Editor of the "Observer," while I see many imperfections, and many errors and mistakes, I have, nevertheless, done the best I could. This I say in the fear of God; so that if I am to continue [as] the Editor, you must not, on the whole, expect a much better paper than you have had.

Should you decide that I ought to give place to a successor, I shall expect the two following conditions to be fulfilled.

1. That you will assume in its behalf, all my obligations contracted in consequence of my connection with the "Observer." Some of them were contracted immediately on behalf of the "Observer," and some in supporting my family while its Editor.

2. As I have now spent four among the best years of my life in struggling to establish the "Observer," and place it on its present footing, I shall expect you will furnish me with a sum sufficient to enable me to remove myself and family to another field of labour. More I do not ask, and I trust this will not be thought unreasonable. I would not ask even this had I the means myself, but I have not.

3. On these conditions I surrender into your hands the "Observer's" subscription list, now amounting to more than two thousand one hundred names, and constantly increasing, together with all the dues coming to the establishment. A list of both of the debts and credits accompanies this communication.

May the spirit of wisdom, dear brethren, guide you to a wise and unanimous decision--to a decision which God will approve and ratify, and which shall redound to the glory of his name.

Yours affectionately,

Elijah P. Lovejoy

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