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´╗┐Title: Miss Ellis's Mission
Author: Smith, Mary P. Wells
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Miss Ellis's Mission" ***

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    _Copyright, 1886_,

    University Press:

           WEST AND EAST,

    "_It was a very contemptible barley-loaf she had to offer, compared
    with your fine, white, wheaten cake of youth and riches and strength
    and learning; but remember she offered her best freely, willingly,
    faithfully; and when once a thing is offered, it is no longer the
    little barley-loaf in the lad's hand, but the miraculous satisfying
    Bread of Heaven in the hand of the Lord of the Harvest, more than
    sufficient for the hungry multitude._"

                     *       *       *       *       *

    "_'And so there is an end of poor Miss Toosey and her Mission!'...
    Wait a bit! There is no waste in nature, science teaches us; neither
    is there any in grace, says faith. We cannot always see the results,
    but they are there as surely in grace as in nature._"

                                             MISS TOOSEY'S MISSION.


This little sketch of Miss Ellis's life and work owes its first
suggestion to Rev. J. Ll. Jones, of Chicago, who soon after her death
wrote: "Why not try for a little memorial of her, to be accompanied with
some of the most touching and searching extracts from the letters both
received and written by her, and make it into a little booklet for the
instruction of Post Office Mission Workers?... Can you not make it
something as touching as 'Miss Toosey,' and far more practical,--that
is, for our own little household of faith?... We do not want it
primarily as a missionary tool, but as a wee fragment of the spiritual
history of the world,--something that will lift and touch the soul of
everybody.... In short, give us an enlightened Miss Toosey; her mission
being as much stronger as Sallie Ellis was more rational and mature than
the original 'Miss Toosey'!"

No one knowing Miss Ellis could read the touching little story of "Miss
Toosey's Mission" without being struck by a resemblance in the
characters, though a resemblance with a marked difference. As one said,
"I never saw her going up the church aisle Sundays, with her audiphone,
her little satchel, her bundle of books and papers, and her hymn-book,
without thinking of Miss Toosey." In both lives a seemingly powerless
and insignificant personality, through the force of a great yearning to
do a bit of God's work in the world, achieved its longing far beyond its
fondest dreams. As I read the many letters from all over the country
that have come since Miss Ellis's death, as I realize how the spiritual
force that burned in the soul of this small, feeble, seemingly helpless
woman reached out afar and touched many lives for their enduring
ennoblement, her life, so meagre and cramped in its outward aspect, so
vivid and intense within and on paper, seems to me not without a touch
of romance. To perpetuate a little longer the influence of that life is
the object of this sketch.

       *       *       *       *       *

SALLIE ELLIS was born in Cincinnati, March 13, 1835. The old-fashioned
name Sallie, at that time popular in the South and West, was given her
in honor of an aunt. She disliked sailing under the false colors of
"Sarah." In letters she usually signed herself "S. Ellis," because, as
she explained to one correspondent, "I do not know myself as _Sarah_,
and Sallie is not dignified enough in writing to strangers; so I usually
prefer plain S." Late in life, however, for reasons of dignity, she
sometimes felt forced to adopt Sarah as what she called her "official

Her father, Mr. Rowland Ellis, was born in Boston, but while yet young
removed to Cincinnati, where he still lives in a vigorous and honored
old age. Although his mother, in all her later years at least, was a
devoted attendant upon Theodore Parker's services, Mr. Ellis in early
life was a Baptist. But when the Unitarian Church was founded at
Cincinnati, in 1830, his name appears among the organizers, of whom he
is almost the sole survivor. Of that church he has always been a devoted
supporter and constant attendant. He was a leading banker of the West,
and Sallie was born into one of the most elegant and luxurious homes in
Cincinnati. The Ellises kept open house, exercised the most generous
hospitality, and made, as one says who knew them well then, "such a
beautiful use of their money. The Ellises were just the people who
_ought_ to have money." Mrs. Ellis is described as a woman of unusual
loveliness of character. Out of the eight children, Sallie was thought
to be the mother's favorite, because, it was supposed, she was always
puny, shy, and delicate. "Sallie shall always have what she wants," said
the mother, "because she wants so little." But mothers _know_, and
undoubtedly the mother saw deeper than others into the rare spiritual
quality concealed from the world under her delicate child's quiet,
reserved exterior. Her older sister remembers of Sallie's childhood: "As
a very young child she exhibited strongly marked peculiarities of
character. Her affection, conscientiousness, piety, and love of duty
made her different from the rest of us as children. I remember well that
at home or at school there were never any rebukes for Sallie. Though
very social by nature, as young as at five and six years of age she
loved to be alone, and would sit in the corner of her mother's room,
with face turned to the corner, musing, and talking in a low tone to her
doll. When our father and mother would take the children to
entertainments of various descriptions, such as children enjoy, Sallie
would invariably express her preference to remain at home. If she
thought her parents wanted her to go, she went."

For some years Sallie attended the private school of Mrs. Anne Ryland,
an English Unitarian (a former parishioner, I think, of Rev. Laut
Carpenter, and connected by marriage with Rev. Brooke Herford), a lady
of noble character, and a teacher whose culture and methods were in
advance of her age. In a volume of poetry presented Sallie by this
teacher, is this inscription, whose old-fashioned quaintness of phrase
pictures for us the Sallie Ellis of thirteen, then, as always, faithful
to duty.

     "Mrs. Ryland has been much gratified by the general deportment of
     Miss Sallie Ellis since she has been under her charge. Miss Ellis
     has evinced an evident desire to please, by a strict observance of
     the rules of the school, and by assiduous and persevering attention
     to all her studies. She has made improvement in them all fully
     commensurate with her laudable endeavors, in Grammar, Geography,
     and Orthography particularly. It is with unfeigned regret that Mrs.
     Ryland has to add, to the foregoing expression of her approval of
     her dear pupil's conduct, the last word,--Farewell."

Later, she attended the private school of Rev. William Silsbee, who says
of her, "She was always studious and well-behaved, one of the most
faithful of all my pupils." Mr. M. Hazen White, for so many years
superintendent of the Unitarian Sunday school, was also one of her
teachers. When seventeen, she was sent to Mrs. Charles Sedgwick's
school, in Lenox, Mass. A schoolmate describes her then as a quite
pretty, black-eyed girl, of delicate physique, a good and studious but
not brilliant scholar, very quiet and retiring, and almost morbidly
reserved. The few friends she made here, however, were life-long, and
she corresponded with some of the Lenox schoolmates until her death.
"She was a perfect dancer," says the schoolmate.

Treasured among Miss Ellis's papers were found some pages of a
schoolgirl's album, marked, "At Mrs. Sedgwick's School, Lenox, Mass.,
March, 1852." It contains verses descriptive of each pupil, written
apparently by Mrs. Sedgwick. The little pen-picture of the schoolgirl
paints well the woman of later years.

                       SALLIE ELLIS.

    If device for an old Latin motto were asked,
    No invention would need to be very much tasked;
    For the "multum in parvo" _you_ safely might stand,
    With book, needle, or pen, ever found in your hand.
    A little, wee body with strong, earnest will,
    That steadily works with the force of a mill;
    A mind quite untiring, whatever it do,
    Its manifold ends with good heed to pursue:
    Hands busy and strong play deftly their part,
    And these all controlled by a good, honest heart.

Bright indeed looked Sallie's future in those days. A year or two more
at school, then a return to the loved mother and the beautiful home, and
a "coming out" into the brilliant world with all the advantages
attending wealth and position. But the clouds were already gathering
which in coming years were to darken for her in quick succession the
sunshine of earthly prosperity. She was called home from school by the
illness of her mother. The mother died, leaving Sallie the oldest
daughter at home, to fill her place as best she might to five little
brothers and sisters.

Her sister says: "Our dear mother's death was the turning-point in
Sallie's life. She was so shrinking, sensitive, and tender by nature, no
one could fully understand her but a mother who had watched the hidden
beauties of her character expand from infancy to girlhood."

The mother's memory was fondly cherished, her loss deeply mourned, all
Miss Ellis's life. Over the dying bed of the worn and weary woman of
fifty smiled down the radiant face of the mother, painted when a young,
blooming girl. Among Miss Ellis's papers was found a manuscript volume
of eighty-one pages of selections, copied in her clear, firm
handwriting, index of the spirit's strength. It is headed, "Crumbs of
Comfort for the Afflicted." The selections are from the Bible, sermons,
hymns, and poems,--all breathing of religious trust and help in
grief,--a beautiful and touching collection. The first page reads,--

     "Begun in Nov. 1870.

     "These selections are made in memory of my dear mother, who was
     called away many years since, and through whose death I was led to
     think of a higher life,--the _true_ life of the soul.

     "'Oh, I believe there is no _away_; that no love, no life, goes
     ever from us; it goes as He went, that it may come again, deeper
     and closer and surer, and be with us always, even unto the end of
     the world' (_Patience Strong's Outings_)."

One of the selections is an anonymous poem, "The Strength of the
Lonely." On one page Miss Ellis had written (signed "S. E."), "I can but
believe that God allows a mother still to watch over and care for her
family when he takes her from this world, and in our affliction that he
draws us to himself, and to Jesus as our guide to him, through her
spiritual influence, just as, while upon earth, he permitted her to be
his instrument to lead and guide us in all that is good. All children
too, even the youngest, are God's instruments for good, and their
ministries cease not with their earthly life. The departed are with us
everywhere, through our daily duties,--

     "In the loneliest hour, in the crowd, they are nigh us."

A year or two after the mother's death Sallie joined the Unitarian
Church, being baptized by Rev. A. A. Livermore, of whom she writes in a
letter: "Rev. A. A. Livermore was settled here from the time I was
fourteen to twenty-one, and he formed my religious character." Fitting
indeed was it that he who has trained so many young men for the ministry
should dedicate to God's service this young woman, also destined to be
his minister to many souls. An old lady in the church remembers seeing
Sallie go up to be baptized, leading a little brother by each hand, all
the little children being baptized at the same time. To one of her
nature, the vows then taken were a most sacred, real consecration of her
whole self to God,--vows to be nobly fulfilled in the life.

Mr. Livermore writes of her:--

     "During my pastorate of the Unitarian Church in Cincinnati, Mr. and
     Mrs. Rowland Ellis were valued parishioners of mine, and their
     children were all baptized by me. It was a lovely group of little
     folks, and the spirit of that consecration has gone largely through
     all their lives, and given them, I believe, the Christian flavor.
     They have, too, been very warmly united as a family, and in health
     and sickness, in life and death, they have borne strong testimony
     to the blessed anchorage of a positive religious faith.

     "They were also diligent attendants on the Sunday school in the
     basement of the old church. Sallie's bright face and upright
     attitude was to be seen in her place as sure as the Sunday came.

     "After I left Cincinnati I saw her but seldom, but on those
     occasions she always spoke of the earlier times in the church and
     the Sunday school with a warmth and glow of memory that showed that
     they had been real points of life to her mind and character. And
     especially after her deafness became a chastening hand laid upon
     her character, and family sorrows and bereavements followed in the
     train, it was plain that she found her religious trust the one
     thing needful."

Within another year business reverses swept away Mr. Ellis's entire
fortune. As he had meantime married a lady who proved a most capable and
devoted mother to the younger children, Sallie, released from domestic
cares, felt that she ought to do something to assist her father. "She
was so modest," says a friend, "I don't think it ever occurred to her
that she could teach school. But she said there was one thing she knew
she could do, and do well, and that was, to dance." So Miss Sallie
became a dancing-teacher, having classes of children in their mothers'

Another friend (whose boys, now stalwart men in the church, were among
Miss Ellis's pupils) says of her: "She was a lovely dancing-teacher. She
not only taught the children to dance well, but she taught them such
gentle, lovely manners. Indeed, the significant thing in Miss Ellis's
life, to me, was her faithfulness. Whatever her hand found to do, she
did, and did well. Because she had been so faithful at dancing-school,
she was able to be so successful a teacher. Because, when taught sewing,
she tried so hard to do her best, she became such a beautiful sewer, and
was able to teach sewing;" for a sewing-class was another expedient of
those days.

Her father moved to Chicago in 1851, where he resided three years. There
Miss Ellis attended Mr. Shippen's church, taught a Sunday-school class,
and had a class of newsboys evenings. After the return to Cincinnati,
while Miss Ellis was at the sea-shore, she began to experience a painful
roaring in the ears. Hearing, never quite perfect, was soon almost
totally gone. The following years are little, to outward sight, but a
record of invalidism, of trying this or that doctor, but still ever
decreasing health and strength. Many dyspeptics, from Carlyle to lesser
folk, have felt their disease, like charity, a cover for a multitude of
sins. Miss Ellis suffered from chronic dyspepsia of aggravated type,
from catarrhal and other troubles which finally wore away the always
frail thread of life in consumptive decline.[1]

[Footnote 1: The death of two brothers, of a dear little niece, and of a
fondly loved sister,--a woman beloved by all who knew her, who died only
about a year before Miss Ellis, leaving five motherless girls--were
among the trials of her maturer years.]

But through all these hard years Miss Ellis was doing what she could,
and longing to do more. Until deafness prevented, she always taught in
Sunday school. She was a devoted attendant on all church services, and
worker in all church causes. The perfection of her handiwork made it in
great demand. Knowing now Miss Ellis's possibilities, one almost grudges
the Unitarian children, and the innumerable but beloved little nephews
and nieces, the years of "Aunt Sallie's" life that went into dainty
embroidery and perfect mittens for their wearing. The church fairs were
always liberally aided by her willing hands. Indeed, it is difficult,
without seeming exaggeration, to express her passion of devotion to her
church. It was literally her life. Outside her family, to which she was
warmly attached, everything centred for her there, and for many years
one of her heaviest crosses was her inability to render the service she
desired to her church and denomination.

The portrait prefacing this book was taken in 1871, when Miss Ellis was
thirty-six years old,--perhaps the saddest period in her life. Youth,
health, fortune, hearing, dear friends, had gone one after another. The
future looked dark indeed. She felt within herself capacities for which
there seemed no earthly opportunity. The face wears a sadder expression
than that characterizing it in later life, when at last she had found
her real work.[2]

[Footnote 2: The kindness of Mr. Frank R. Ellis, of Cincinnati, Miss
Ellis's youngest brother, enables us to place the portrait in this

Rev. Charles Noyes was settled as Unitarian pastor in Cincinnati in
1872. To him Miss Ellis always attributed her first missionary impulse.

In a letter to Rev. W. C. Gannett, July 28, 1885, she said:--

     "Yes, it is a _great_ source of comfort to have started the 'good
     seed,' and now to see so many stronger people taking up the work
     and doing so much better than I. A great deal is due to dear Mr.
     Charles Noyes. He won me by his kind heart while here, and was so
     kind in lending me his manuscripts always, and books, that he kept
     me along with the religion of the day. Then Mr. Weudte furthered
     the matter by putting me on the Missionary Committee, and finally
     started me out with the 'Pamphlet Mission.' You know the rest."

In her diary was a copy of a letter written Mr. Noyes on his departure
from Cincinnati, dated June 23, 1875, a portion of which is here given.

     "I cannot say 'so be it' to your departure without returning thanks
     for the many pleasant hours you have afforded me through your
     manuscripts, the books and papers you have so kindly lent me from
     time to time. You have given me something to think about for a long
     time, so I can do without any sermons for a while. I do not expect
     to find so kind a pastor very soon.

     "From your first text, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. Take
     heed, therefore, how ye hear,' I accepted you as a teacher learning
     more from God than from man. I have followed you from beginning to
     the end, and I have worked _with_ you and _for_ you to the best of
     my ability, my strength, and my means. Would I had been a more
     efficient worker! I have taken heed as to how I have heard. You
     have not changed my views so much as brought out more clearly what
     was already in my own mind. The best lesson I have learned from you
     is a firmer trust in God. You have brought me to the 'Source of all
     Truth, whence Jesus drew his life.' Here you leave me. An essential
     point to have reached, in my view; a firm rock on which to rest,
     and one that can never be taken from me. Some people are not
     satisfied with a faith so simple. They need more to rest on; as if
     there could be a stronger, better support than the 'voice in the
     soul.' From loss of hearing, the 'voice within' has spoken more
     clearly to me perhaps.... It is a very great disappointment to me
     to part with you and your family, for I have become very much
     attached to you all; for even little G---- has learned to look upon
     me as a friend. It is not every one who wins me; and when one does,
     it is all the harder to separate from him. Still, we are often
     compelled to give up our preferences, as I have learned before
     now.... The benediction I ask is the one you have so often asked
     for us (Mary----ears to me, and a reliable authority): 'May the
     Heavenly Father bless, preserve, and guide you all. May he give you
     wisdom to know and strength to do his holy will forevermore.'"

Mr. Noyes, being asked for his recollections of Miss Ellis, writes:--

     "Sallie had a very true, deep, strong religious nature, and a
     leaning to religious, not to say theological, studies. Alone in
     Cincinnati when I first went there, I was often a guest at Mr.
     Ellis's Sunday table. Sallie borrowed my sermons. She liked to talk
     over the subject of the sermon, and this led to my recommending to
     her many books for her reading, and loaning to her what I had in my
     library. She became familiar with the writings of most of our
     Unitarian writers,--with Channing, Clarke, Hedge, Dewey, Norton,
     Furness, and many others. She was no careless reader, but a student
     of the writer's thought.... She had great breadth of mental
     outlook, and a great heart of charity and love for all. She admired
     the diversity of opinion in our body, and had faith in the unity of
     the Spirit that would fuse us into one.... If Sallie ever expressed
     wonder and surprise, it was that Unitarianism did not grow as fast
     as it ought, and that those who accepted its teachings did not
     identify themselves with it. We had our Mission School of about
     three hundred pupils, and our Sewing School.... The time had not
     come for the Pamphlet Mission or the Post Office; yet Miss Ellis
     was making the best preparation possible for her after-work, and in
     due time the door of best usefulness stood wide open. You know, as
     we all know, how well she filled her office.... Her letters were
     sermons,--tracts in themselves, best adapted to her correspondents,
     and, I am persuaded, did a grand work of their own. She heard with
     difficulty, she was not an easy talker, but she wrote with great
     clearness.... More than the books she sent out, she was to many a
     one the blessed missionary of our faith.... In her early studies
     the miracle question was a stumbling-block to Sallie. The old-time
     interpretation of miracle she could not accept; neither could she
     take up with the mythical theory of Strauss. Miracle must be in
     harmony with law. Jesus must be to her the natural flower of
     _human_ nature, the perfect blossom of _human_ development. Nature
     and the supernatural must be in harmony. Hence the delight she took
     in Dr. Furness's works. His works helped her, as they have so many
     others, out of her difficulties about the supernatural. And more
     than that, they fed her religious life, pure and simple, and let
     her into the heart of Christ. She often alluded to her debt to Dr.
     Furness, whom she admired and loved."

Miss Ellis little expected or would have desired to figure as a
Unitarian saint. Her estimate of herself was lowly. Whatever her faults
and limitations, however, they were only those natural to a strong
nature driven in upon itself, beating in vain against the stern walls
that everywhere surrounded it. Bravely did she strive to resist what she
clearly perceived to be the natural tendencies of her peculiar troubles,
and bravely did she succeed. The prayers, the tears, the struggles of
those lonely, baffled years are known only to God, and are only hinted
at here and there in the diary kept during a large part of her life. An
unique diary it is, showing, as nothing else could, the passion of
religious devotion which burned in her soul. Each day's record, no
matter how brief, ends with passages of Scripture, or sometimes a hymn,
appropriate to the day's mood or experience. In reading it, one realizes
afresh the richness of the Bible in comfort and strength. The diary
furnishes a complete history of the Unitarian Church of Cincinnati for
many years. All the individual joys and sorrows of its members, their
birthdays and their death-days, are here recorded with loving sympathy.
Also, a complete record of every Sunday's service for many years is
given, with always a full abstract of the sermon, sometimes filling
several pages of fine, close writing. Occasionally it happened that the
minister failed to hand Miss Sallie his sermon after delivery,--a
grievous disappointment, almost too great to bear, as the diary
testifies. Each year the personal matter grows less, the religious
meditations and quotations consume more and more space, until of the
journal in the last years her sister writes: "It seems to have been kept
mainly to give vent to her pure, spiritual nature, which was ever
longing for some expression of itself." A very few extracts are here
given from the diary,--a glimpse only of the struggles and longings that
unconsciously to herself were all fitting her for her work.


     1873. I have been too indolent for a few years. Now I must be up
     and doing, with a heart for anything, and remember that these
     clouds that overshadow us all are meant to make us look beyond for
     the sunshine. "No cross, no crown." I have a project in my head
     that I wish very much to carry out. I am tired of my selfish life;
     and all that reconciles me to it is, that I accept it as a
     necessary discipline for my restless spirit, to teach me
     submission, and help me to say, "Thy will, not mine, be done." My
     idea of a _true_ Christian is to be working for others always, and
     not thinking of self. My desire is, to start a sewing-class from
     the Mission School, to be kept up during the summer, if I can only
     get the means of carrying out my plan, and find some one who is
     willing to take charge of it in case I am not able to be there. I
     would _gladly_ make the sacrifice of personal comfort.

The sewing-class was started, and Miss Ellis became one of its most
devoted teachers, though working often in great feebleness and pain.

     Feel bluer, but I believe my deafness is bringing me truer faith,
     and resignation.... Another very warm day, but I have managed to
     get through the day cheerfully, thinking of heavenly things.... I
     cannot understand what makes me so ugly sometimes. I pray that my
     evil spirit may be subdued some day.... Do not know of anything I
     have done to benefit others to-day, only I have been cheerful.... I
     have felt pretty well, and this day went rightly with me, though I
     do not know as I have advanced the cause of life very much.... How
     I do long to live a perfectly unselfish life, and to be a blessing
     to those around me, as my life was intended for!... Am reading "Old
     Kensington," by Miss Thackeray,--a real love-story; and it makes me
     sad, as usual.... Still in the house, and feel poorly. Feel a
     little dull this evening, and on thinking over my life, think that
     I have had more than most people of my age to endure, and wonder
     that I keep up my spirits as well as I have; and it is only that I
     feel that all is the necessary discipline for me. "Let us but be
     genuine, honest, and true in everything, even in the smallest
     thing, and we have in that the sign and the pledge of entire
     consecration of heart and life to God" (J. F. Clarke). "Be faithful
     unto death, and I will give you a crown of life" (Rev. ii. 10)....
     Gave up to a _terrible_ fit of the "blues" this afternoon and
     evening. Am _so_ tired of suffering all the time, that I gave way
     under my cross to-day. It seems as if I can't struggle to live

     _Sunday._ A bright day; I was not able to go out, but felt that it
     was good to remain at home to think over my blessings.... Attended
     Bible-class this evening. I came home in rather a despondent mood.
     I find my cross hard to bear, but must pray for more strength.

     1874. Sent my old Bible to be bound to-day, which I have used
     twenty-three years.... I have felt extremely favored to-day, in
     that I was able to attend the Sewing School, which I feared all the
     week I might be disappointed in. We closed the school to-day, after
     twenty-four weeks' work. It has been time well spent, and I feel
     particularly thankful to my heavenly Father in having heard my
     prayer for health, strength, and good weather. One strong desire of
     my life has been vouchsafed me, and I feel overpowered with joy
     to-night.... I have felt to-day how much I need the assistance of
     Christ, and may his religion help me to be victorious in the end.

Quoting an extract from Miss Sedgwick's diary on the unmarried life,
which ends, "Though not _first_ to any, I am, like Themistocles,
_second_ to a great many: my sisters are all kind and affectionate to
me, my brothers generous and invariably kind; their children all love
me," Miss Ellis adds: "These _very words_ I can repeat as my
experience.... If I can only add a few _drops_ of happiness to his life
[a brother's], I shall be too happy."

     1875. Mr. Noyes called Monday to bring me his sermon, and it made
     me very resigned. The text was from 2 Cor. xii. 10,--"When I am
     weak, then am I strong."

Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was the topic of the discourse, and several
pages of extracts are copied in the journal.

     It is one of the trials of my life not to assist in the church as I
     desire to. I presume it must be because I neglect other duties, and
     see but one thing before me, and that is, to give up the _idol_ of
     my life, and do the duty that is nearest to me; but it is a sore
     trial to me.... This has been an eventful week to me, for last
     Sunday Mr. Noyes closed his ministry with us.... Now they have
     really gone, it makes me feel rather despondent, though I know they
     have left many blessings to me behind them.

     I am beginning some fancy work, in hopes of brightening my life
     somewhat. I am not reconciled to the hardships of life.... Am
     anxious to learn wood-carving.... I try to have the faith _of_
     Jesus more than that about him.

     ... Went to see about trumpets yesterday, and came home greatly
     disheartened, and shall have to submit with a good grace to the
     cross.... Mr. Wendte lectures on the New Testament this evening. I
     should be glad to hear him, but believe all is best as it is.

     1877. We had a beautiful sermon to-day, which I took especially to
     myself, on "The Lonely Hours of Life." ... Am feeling better
     to-day, and the sermon (on "Be Strong, and of a Good Courage")
     roused my better nature, ready to go on courageously.... Lecture
     this evening on "Funeral Customs." I did not attend, for the sermon
     to-day (on "Prayer") so exalted me that I didn't feel like
     listening to things of the world.... Wakened feeling disconsolate
     this morning, but resolved to bear the cross of life as trustfully
     and cheerfully as possible, and lay up treasures during the summer
     ready to "give out" when all return in the winter. Impressed two
     little pieces on my mind,--one by Spitta, in "Day unto Day,"--

        "Glad with thy light and glowing with thy love,
        So let me ever think and speak and move."

     The other by Whittier,--

        "Lord, help me strive 'gainst each besetting sin."

     Went to Madame Wendte's. Brought home, "Ten Great Religions,"
     "Reason in Religion," and "Evolution in Religion."

Thus did Miss Ellis fortify herself for the summer vacation of the
church. Emerson's "Society and Solitude" was another book read this

     Have not lived up to my ideal the past week, and particularly
     to-day. However, may the good Father pardon my shortcomings and aid
     me to do better.... I feel that I have added something to my life
     for the benefit of others by the rest and reading of this summer. I
     hope to study up German a little, among my busy hours this winter.
     I can retain so little in my head, it is discouraging to read. I
     must work the harder, and believe "all is for the best," and pray,
     in faith, for patience.... Mr. Wendte's first sermon--subject,
     "After Vacation"--made me feel somewhat depressed, for I feel so
     anxious to do for _every one_, and have not the means or strength.
     [She resolves to] do my little part and not discourage [the
     minister],--do my part more by showing an interest than by the
     amount of work I do.... I am miserable, dyspeptic, and
     disappointed.... I have felt heartily discouraged this week in
     every way, but the church did me good this morning.

Mr. Noyes was succeeded as pastor at Cincinnati by Rev. Charles W.
Wendte in the fall of 1875. The idea of preaching, of carrying to others
the blessed Unitarian faith which had been her joy and strength, now
filled Miss Ellis's soul. She discussed various schemes to this end with
friends who respected her and her earnestness too much to laugh at the
(in worldly eyes) utter absurdity of her hopes, as futile as Miss
Toosey's desire to go as a missionary to Nawaub. Could she not go out
into Ohio villages and hold lay services, reading the printed prayers
and sermons of our Unitarian ministers? Great must have been the
yearning for the ministry consuming her soul, to tempt the reserved,
feeble little woman, with her deafness and dyspepsia, her incessant
cough, her love of her own room and things, her exactness and exquisite
nicety of habit, seriously to contemplate such a career. Yet, but for
absolute physical incapacity, and the dissuasions (on that account) of
her family, she would certainly have made the experiment. Or might she
not open a reading-room in the church, to be kept open all the week,
where the treasures of Unitarian literature could be dispensed? Even in
her last years she seriously meditated going to the church every Sunday
morning during the vacation to open her library and meet those who might
want books, papers, or advice. The summer vacation was always a grief to
her. She wished the church might be open every day.

Nov. 9, 1876, a rough draft of the following letter to Mr. Wendte
appears in her diary:--

     "I cannot resist returning special thanks for your sermon of last
     Sunday, 'To what end is your life?' I do not know when a sermon has
     so fully aroused the will of my youth.... At twenty years of age,
     'the object of my toil' was to live for the earthly comfort of the
     family, for the good of society in general, so far as in my power,
     at the same time keeping an eye to the higher interests of life by
     working in and for the church.... 'The goal of my ambition' in
     middle life is to labor for the spiritual welfare of those about
     me; but I find myself without means to assist others.... My
     preference is decidedly to labor for the higher natures of others
     as well as for myself; therefore, remembering your kind offer in
     your letter to me during the summer, I ask, can you suggest
     anything for me to engage in, in the spreading of Christianity?
     [She wishes] to devote the remainder of my life to the highest and
     best I know. If you can put me in the way of assisting others as
     well as myself in the highest and holiest way, I shall be ever
     indebted to you. I shall be glad to so live that when I lay down my
     life I shall in some measure have returned the many kindnesses of
     parents, sisters, brothers, and friends, repaid the efforts of
     teachers and pastors in my behalf, and proved myself a worthy child
     to Him who gave me being."

At the end, however, she writes: "Didn't send it. Concluded it was
better to talk with him."

The same ideas in another form appear again in the diary as a letter to
Mr. Wendte. One of the burdens on Mr. Wendte's heart in those days was
"to find something for Miss Ellis to do." Partly to this end he devised
Sunday-school lessons in manuscript, which Miss Ellis copied each week
for all the teachers. In 1877 he appointed a Missionary Society with a
formidable list of names, the significant one among whom events proved
to be Miss Sallie Ellis, Treasurer,--she being, indeed, the "society."
The little programme says:--

     "The object of the Missionary Society is to spread the knowledge
     and increase the influence of Liberal religious ideas throughout
     the city and State by publications, correspondence, and such other
     means as may seem to it suitable and best."

During the winter of 1877-78 Miss Ellis, aided by Mr. Wendte,
distributed 1,846 tracts and 211 "Pamphlet Missions" (as baby "Unity"
was called) in twenty-six States. Miss Ellis was always scrupulously
systematic, methodical, and exact in all she did, and a huge pile of
closely written blank books gives every minutia connected with the
business details of her work. In her diary was a copy of this letter to
Mr. Wendte, dated Feb. 21, 1878:--

     "Why not have a 'Mission Sunday' sometime soon? Do not announce it
     previously, however; for some might feel inclined to remain at
     home; but catch as many together as possible, and make them listen
     to a rousing address from you,--a report of what you have done and
     the letters you have received. It might not be as social or
     interesting as a concert or something else; but it would not hurt
     the people to listen to it, and would make the missionary work more
     a reality to them, and I believe in the end an appeal from you
     would bring in more money than anything else.

     "I have one request to make of you, however; and that is, that you
     do not bring my name out in the pulpit, unless you have occasion to
     mention the names of the Missionary Society. It is merely necessary
     to mention you have been assisted by one of the 'Missionary
     Committee,' not saying 'Treasurer,' man or woman. I have no
     objection if any one asks you privately who has done the work, to
     have you tell them. I love to do good work, but wish no other
     praise than to know that the recipient of the act has been
     benefited thereby. I act from the mere pleasure of doing good to
     others and believing it to be right, therefore deserve no
     credit.... The winter's work has brought out the desire of younger
     days, when a Presbyterian friend used to tell me, 'You ought to go
     as a missionary to China.' I then had five little brothers and
     sisters to help care for, and considered that 'mission' enough.
     Since they are grown my health has been too poor to undertake
     anything, but now I should like a work in life. If I have a 'taste'
     or 'talent' for anything, it is for the study and the spread of
     religion.... All the family are only too kind to me, which only
     makes me the more anxious to use my one talent to the utmost
     extent. If you know of any work I could assist in, in our
     denomination, East or West, I would be much obliged to you if you
     would let me know."

The first mentions in the journal of missionary work are Nov. 25, 1877,
"Mr. Wendte came to me with missionary work to do,--five hundred tracts
to distribute;" and Dec. 9, 1877, "Feel that I am doing good in lending
books and papers and distributing tracts."

Sept. 5, 1880, while visiting her sister in Philadelphia she opens a
new volume of the journal as follows:--

     Too warm to venture to church. The church in Cincinnati opens
     to-day. Would I might be one of the congregation! I _am_, in
     spirit! In opening this book on Sunday I would dedicate it to a
     high use, and open it with ascription of praise to the Giver of all
     good. "Pray for us unto the Lord thy God, ... that the Lord thy God
     may show us the way wherein we may walk" (Jer. xlii. 2, 3).
     "Quicken thou me in thy way" (Psalms cxix. 37).

The following prayers are then copied:--

     "My Father, may I ever humbly follow in thy way; may I ever trust,
     with the full assurance of faith, that it does lead to thy heavenly
     kingdom. It is often narrow and perplexed, and I cannot see where
     it is leading me; yet, though the guiding light of thy holy word
     may be half obscured by the mists of the valley, if I fix my eyes
     steadily upon it, it will become brighter and brighter; I shall see
     my way clearly in this seemingly intricate road, and discern, even
     at the end of it, the entrance to thy heavenly mansion."

     "O God, may our souls be full of life. Save us from an inanimate
     and sluggish life.... Inspire our sensibility to good; may we see
     more and more its loveliness and beauty. And may all the varied
     experience of life draw us nearer to thee" (Channing).

Then follows "an abstract from Channing's Memoirs, showing how, by
self-scrutiny, his character was formed, by many trials and denials."
She then copies eighteen pages from Channing's "Rules for
Self-Discipline," at the end writing, "All these pages from Channing are
written from memory, not copied."

The second rule copied is, "Let me not _talk_ of pains, sicknesses,
complaints," etc.

Following the rules is a poem copied from the "Christian Register" of
Sept. 4, 1880.

                   WHAT OF THAT?

            "Tired?"    Well, what of that?
    Didst fancy life was spent on beds of ease,
    Fluttering the rose-leaves scattered by the breeze?
    Come, rouse thee! work while it is called day!
    Coward, arise! Go forth upon thy way.

            "Lonely?"    And what of that?
    Some must be lonely; 'tis not given to all
    To feel a heart responsive rise and fall,
    To blend another life into its own.
    Work may be done in loneliness. Work on!

            "Dark?"    Well, what of that?
    Didst fondly dream the sun would never set?
    Dost fear to lose thy way? Take courage yet!
    Learn thou to walk by faith, and not by sight;
    Thy steps will guided be, and guided right.

            "Hard?"    Well, what of that?
    Didst fancy life one summer holiday,
    With lessons none to learn, and nought but play?
    Go, get thee to thy task! Conquer or die!
    It must be learned! Learn it, then, patiently.

            "No help?"    Nay, 'tis not so!
    Though human help is far, thy God is nigh;
    Who feeds the ravens, hears his children's cry.
    He's near thee wheresoe'er thy footsteps roam,
    And he will guide thee, light thee, help thee home.

Then follows a selection from Emerson:--

     "The scholar must be a solitary, laborious, modest, and charitable
     soul. He must embrace solitude as a bride. He must have his glees
     and his glooms alone. Go, scholar, cherish your soul; expel
     companions; set your habits to a life of solitude; then will the
     faculties rise fair and full within, like forest trees, field
     flowers; you will have results, which, when you meet your fellow
     men, you can communicate and they will gladly receive. It is the
     noble, manly, just thought which is the superiority demanded of
     you; and not crowds, but solitude, confers this elevation."

Next follows a page of "Paragraphs for Preachers." Evidently this year
sees the dying of the first hope to be a preacher, and the gradual dawn
of her life's real mission. Seven pages follow of "Prayers altered and
rearranged for my own use, from 'Dairy Praise and Prayer.'" Three or
four appropriate prayers are united in one, headed, "First evening,"
"First Morning," "Second Evening," etc. These were apparently prepared
for the lay services she had dreamed of holding. A page or two more, and
this entry, October 17, marks the dawning of the new hope: "Last week
received a very kind letter from Mr. Wendte, in which he stated, 'We
have made you chairman of a Book and Tract Table in the church;
'therefore I feel bound to return to attend to it." Further extracts
from the diary are:--

     Saturday evening, J---- accidentally broke my audiphone. I felt
     _lost_ then, but wouldn't let them know how badly I felt about it,
     and even went to church without it, for fear they would feel hurt
     about it. It came home mended, this evening.

     _October 31._ Finished G----'s afghan, also completed the
     embroidery of fourth skirt for Mrs. ----, and first of baby C----'s
     mittens. Was quite interested in a letter of Mrs. ---- in
     "Register" of last week on "The Woman's Auxiliary Conference." Hope
     she _will_ succeed in establishing a Woman's Club for discussion
     and debate in Cincinnati.

Miss F. Le Baron, whose friendship with Miss Ellis dates back to the
latter's residence in Chicago, writes that she has several letters from
Miss Ellis setting forth her desire to preach, but unfortunately they
are in a totally inaccessible place. This allusion, in the diary,
evidently points to the final renunciation of Miss Ellis's first
missionary impulse:--

     _November 7._ A letter from Miss Le Baron, of Chicago, in regard to
     my engaging in missionary work in the West. She finally closed with
     the idea that I had come to myself. In a letter from A---- this
     week she says to me, "_Our_ lot in life appears to be that of
     patience and submission," which brings to my mind quite a sermon,
     in other's words, which I hope to write out to-day. It is time to
     prepare for church.... The thought suggested by A----'s letter with
     regard to submission to our lot called to mind the passage William
     Ellery Channing wrote to his friend Francis. "You seem to go upon
     the supposition that our circumstances are determined by
     Providence. I believe they are determined by ourselves. Man is the
     artificer of his own fortunes. By exertion he can enlarge his
     sphere of usefulness. By activity he can 'multiply himself.' It is
     mind that gives him the ascendency in society; it is mind that
     gives him power and ability. It depends upon himself to call forth
     the energies of mind, to strengthen the intellect, to form
     benevolence into a habit of the soul. The consequence I draw from
     these principles is that Heaven, by placing me in particular
     circumstances, has not assigned me a determinate sphere of
     usefulness (as you seem to think), but that it is in my power, and
     of course my duty, to spread the 'beams of my light' wider into the
     'night of adversity.'"

Miss Ellis continues, apparently partly in her own words:--

     With this idea, then, that we largely fashion our own lives, that,
     "working with God, and for him, our lives can know no true failure,
     but all things shall contribute to our soul's true success," let us
     take up our cross, and then we shall find

                           "The burden light,
    The path made straight, the way all bright,
            Our warfare cease;
          So shall we win the crown,
          At last our life lay down
            In perfect peace."

Two pages more on the same topic, of original and selected matter
skilfully blended (perhaps the whole a bit of one of the sermons never
to be preached), end with the hymn, copied in full,--

    "I ask not wealth, but power to take
      And use the things I have aright;"

and Miss Ellis finally sums all up, "True submission, then, consists in
_working_ out our own salvation, looking to God for strength wherewith
to work." The only entry for the next day is part of the hymn,--

    "But God, through ways they have not known,
                Will lead his own."

November 11 she returned home.

     _November 14._ Attended fair, and met many friends. Mr. Wendte
     kindly set me to work at a Book and Tract Table, and I sold two
     books and distributed a quantity of free matter.

     _December 5._ Am thoroughly on the road to the Book and Tract Table
     in the church. Hope it may prove a good thing, and that I shall do
     it _faithfully_.

     _December 12._ Have been miserable all the week, and quite sick two
     and a half hours Thursday. Couldn't raise my head, and had to
     pretty much give up all day. Had sociable this week, and I was on
     hand to urge the book trade, and hoped to have a supply to-day, but
     was disappointed in it. It was one of the unsatisfactory days to
     me, for I have had such a tremendous noise in my head that I
     couldn't hear at all.

     _December 19._ Held a meeting at Mrs. ----'s on Friday, with regard
     to the Woman's Auxiliary Missionary work. It has been decided that
     I am to take charge of distribution of Liberal publications, also
     to canvass for the "Register." Had Mr. Mayo to preach for us
     to-day. I was astonished to hear how well I heard him, and how
     _natural_ it seemed. It made my cross all the heavier in contrast.
     [The sonnet, "Strength for the Day," by Rachel G. Alsop, is copied
     to close this day's record.]

     _Feb. 10, 1881._ Began committing "A Statement of Unitarian Belief
     in Bible Language."

     _February 13._ I have felt rather depressed this week, and _needed_
     the church to-day, which did do me good, as I heard more of the
     sermon than I have heard for thirteen years.

     _February 20._ Sermon to-day on "Are ye good Hearers?" I think my
     remark to Mr. Wendte last Sunday must have called it forth.... Mr.
     Wendte made the following beautiful tribute to the deaf.... I heard
     just enough to overcome me, and thought two or three times that I
     should break down. Have cried and laughed over the sermon.

A long extract is copied into the journal, of which this is a portion:--

     "Blindness only separates a man from Nature, but the loss of
     hearing also isolates him, more or less, from human companionship.
     As a natural consequence, the deaf are apt to lose interest in the
     social life around them, and to grow discontented, suspicious, and
     morose. You and I know beautiful examples to the contrary,--persons
     so patient, brave, and uncomplaining amidst their heavy
     tribulation, so sunny of temper and full of human kindness, that
     they are a constant inspiration and joy to us. Yet theirs is a hard
     struggle, to remain true and sweet and Christian with such fearful
     odds against them in the journey of life."

     _February 27._ Am becoming quite interested in missionary work in
     Ravenna, Ohio.

     "We scatter seeds with careless hand,
     And dream we ne'er shall see them more;
        But for a thousand years
        Their fruit appears,
        In weeds that mar the land,
        Or healthful store."

     _March 13._ To-day is my forty-sixth birthday, and I am about
     ready, or rather have resolved, to open a Circulating Library in
     the church, as quite a number are in favor of it. We organized our
     Women's Auxiliary Conference last Tuesday, of a rainy day: Mrs.
     Fayette Smith, President; Mrs. Alice Williams Brotherton,
     Vice-president; Fannie Field, Treasurer and Recording Secretary;
     Miss Ellis, Corresponding Secretary; Executive Committee (with the
     above), Mrs. Davies Wilson, Miss Elizabeth D. Allen.

The foundation of the Circulating Library was Miss Ellis's own
collection of religious books. Book lovers know what this sacrifice
would have been to a less generous nature, one less intent on helping
others. Additions were made by gifts from individuals and authors, and
by Miss Ellis's occasional purchase of some book whose need she felt,
until the library now numbers over one hundred and thirty volumes. These
books were loaned at church, and by mail all over the country.

A letter to Rev. A. A. Livermore reveals the brisk, happy, and
business-like Miss Ellis of the later years, with her hands at last full
of work for her denomination. It also records the advent of her first
correspondent, Mr. Julius Woodruff.

                                             MARCH 10, 1881.

     I have been better in health this winter than for many years,--for
     a severe winter is all the better for me,--and have been able to
     keep _very_ busy. Mr. Wendte has made me chairman of a Book and
     Tract Table in the church, which has kept me very busy; and in
     addition, the Unity Club made me Corresponding Secretary of their
     Sunday Afternoon Lecture Committee, which involved distributing the
     tickets (one thousand) and then collecting the money on them.... In
     the mean time, too, I was agent here for the "Register," had that
     to attend to, besides attending to sale of books, paying for them,
     and sending new orders, also "Unity" subscribers coming in, and
     hunting up members for the Women's Auxiliary Conference, and
     receiving their money. Now, do you not think for one who has always
     been more spiritually inclined, that I have taken quite _too_ much
     to money matters?

     Well, in distributing "Registers" through the State I have come
     across a very interesting, appreciative young man of twenty-one, in
     Ravenna, Ohio, and I have reason to think we have created quite a
     stir in the little town. Mr. Woodruff, my correspondent, writes a
     very good letter, and is quite enthusiastic on the subject of
     Unitarianism, and is willing to do missionary work, distributing
     widely the documents I send him, and has recommended a young man,
     formerly a student of theology, an intelligent, thinking man, who
     is much interested in our views. He now works on a farm and teaches
     school, in order to gain an education. On Wednesday last we
     organized our Women's Auxiliary Conference, at which I read Mr.
     Woodruff's letters, and the ladies at once moved that we should
     propose Meadville to our young friend, whose name is ----. I am to
     write and ask whether he would like to go to the college at
     Meadville, and in the mean time am to find out through you the
     conditions on which he could be admitted. I should be only too
     happy if I prove the means of assisting one young man to the
     ministry, and shall feel that all these many years of interest in
     the church have not been lost, if we only succeed in doing this
     much good. Besides all this other work, I find the ladies are much
     in favor of a Circulating Library in the church, so I am going to
     found my library soon.

The journal, March 20, shows the indomitable will that ruled the feeble

     Yesterday [Saturday] I was at the church all day to get the library
     in order. Was taken with vertigo, and for over an hour and a half
     couldn't walk straight. J---- S---- happened to be at the church at
     choir-meeting, and brought me home. By bedtime could walk alone,
     and to-day have been attending to duties at church. Succeeded in
     getting the Library settled to my satisfaction, and was glad there
     was no one there. Opened my library March 19. Mr. W----announced me
     "Miss Sarah Ellis" in the papers.

     _March 28._ Have felt quite encouraged this week by applications
     for documents. Have just mailed to Rev. ----, "Statement of
     Unitarian Belief in Bible Language." [This applicant is now in a
     Unitarian pulpit.]

     _April 3._ A beautiful sermon in "Register" to-day--"Life's
     Shadows"--by Rev. J. Ll. Jones. [She copies two pages.]

     _May 1._ Feel deeply interested in a correspondent we have in
     Springfield, ... who confesses himself something of an atheist, and
     I am hunting up all the convincing articles upon the subject of God
     and Immortality that I can find, and came across a "Unitarian
     Review," of June, 1876, which seems to have been written for his
     very case.... Hope these will be convincing to the Springfield
     Club, which was formed last Sunday, with ten members to begin with.

     _June 2._ Am now quite interested in trying to manage it so as to
     keep the church open two hours Sundays during the vacation, for
     persons to come and read and take home books. Hope I may succeed.

     _June 12._ Have felt tired to-day, but enjoyed the day, for Mr.
     Wendte and mother dined here. He tells me I may "run the church"
     during the vacation, which will make me very happy.

     _June 29._ The hottest day of the month for ten years, and the
     hottest of the season so far. Intense. One hundred in the shade at
     noon. Have been reading W. R. Alger's "School of Life," from which
     the following abstract....

Then follow three pages of the "abstract," in a close, minute
handwriting, ending this volume of the journal,--the last submitted to
the writer's inspection, because, as has been previously said, there
was almost no personal matter in the diaries of the remaining years.

Miss Ellis's ardent desire to keep the church open during the summer
vacation had to be abandoned, owing to the reluctance of her family to
have one so feeble at the church alone; and she went Saturday afternoons
instead, when the sexton was there.

The Cincinnati branch of the Women's Auxiliary Conference, on its
organization in March, 1881, looking about for work to do, remembered
occasional letters received by Mr. Wendte in response to the documents
sent out by him and Miss Ellis. These letters seemed to hint at a
possible opportunity awaiting this Unitarian church, standing so
isolated in the heart of the great rich West, where the multitude of
Ingersoll and Liberal clubs, and of intelligent people outside all
churches, seemed to indicate a want that the evangelical denominations
did not meet. It was therefore resolved to attempt extending the work
begun by Mr. Wendte, by advertising in the daily papers Unitarian
literature for free distribution,--an experiment never before tried.
Miss Ellis entered upon her duties as Corresponding Secretary "without
money and without price" (though later a small annual salary of one
hundred dollars was raised for her), but with an immense zeal. The
advertisement's line or two of fine print, almost lost, apparently, on
the broad side of the daily paper, inserted only once a week,
nevertheless soon began to bring Miss Ellis letters that equally
surprised and delighted us, showing that we had not over-estimated the
demand for Unitarian literature in the West.

Rev. J. Ll. Jones being in Cincinnati, the first bundle of letters was
read to him, and his opinion, as an experienced Western missionary,
anxiously awaited. It was given in these words:--

     "I think you Cincinnati women have got hold of the _little end_ of
     a _big thing_, and if Miss Ellis's health and your enthusiasm hold
     out, something is bound to come of it. Go on, by all means." He
     added, "I wish I knew that Miss Ellis had ten years more to live."

Four years and a half, however, was the short term of service allowed
her in her mission, found at last after years of longing and groping
towards it vainly. But now it was seen that all these years of suffering
had not been in vain. She who had endured so much was quick to
sympathize with others. The religious studies undertaken for her own
consolation enabled her wisely to direct the reading of her
correspondents. Even her deafness seemed specially to fit her for her
work. Shut apart from the din and bustle of modern life in a quiet world
of her own, from its peaceful communings she sent out light and strength
to others. The poor, denied life, like a plant severely pruned by the
careful gardener to insure a late, full bloom, now reached out and
touched many lives with a wonderful uplifting power.

Her records of this four and a half years' work show that she received
1,672 letters and postals, wrote 2,541, distributed at church and by
mail 22,042 tracts, papers, etc.; sold 286 books, loaned 258 books, and
obtained about sixty subscribers to religious papers.[3] Mere figures,
however, but poorly tell the story. Several young men have entered or
will enter the ministry, as one result of her efforts. Many souls
wrestling in utter loneliness with doubts they dared not confide to
their nearest friends, received, from her wise sympathy and counsel,
restoration to religious faith, and strength to bear heavy burdens with
renewed courage, animated by trust in a loving Father hitherto concealed
from them behind the outgrown phraseology of antiquated creeds,--creeds
which their reason rejected. Many, indeed most of these correspondents,
overjoyed with their new faith, hastened to share it with friends, and
many a little missionary centre began to grow in localities far from any
Unitarian church, fostered by people who had never heard a Unitarian
sermon. So the ground was being prepared for the State missionary. Her
work, too, opened the eyes of her denomination to its opportunities, and
did much to promote that missionary activity in which lies our brightest
hope for the future. She is the acknowledged pioneer of the Post Office

[Footnote 3: Besides this, much reading matter was sent to the City
Workhouse, to the Old Men and Women's Home, and other institutions.]

As her work began to attract attention, many letters came from those
desiring to undertake like work, both East and West, asking advice, full
and explicit accounts of her methods, etc.; and many long letters were
written in reply. A Unitarian Club formed among the soldiers in the
Columbus barracks was one of her interests, until its dissolution by the
ordering of its members to other posts. She supplied much reading matter
to, and corresponded occasionally with, soldiers at the Dayton Soldiers'
Home. A soldier in Wyoming Territory was for a long time a most grateful
recipient of reading from her, which he shared with his company. Small
clubs in several localities were supplied by her with matter for
discussion and study during their existence. Wherever she had two or
three correspondents, she always urged the formation of reading or Unity
clubs. For some months she had an interesting correspondence with a
young man of more than usual intelligence in our City Workhouse, loaning
him such books as Channing's "Life and Works," Dewey's "Human Nature,"
and Merriam's "Way of Life." She never heard from him after he left the
workhouse, but always had faith that he was somewhere living up to, or
towards, the good resolves so often expressed to her. Through him, and
Mr. Beach, of Joliet, Ill., our attention was called to the need of
supplying prisoners with good reading matter, both religious and
secular. Correspondence was opened with the warden and chaplain at the
State Penitentiary, Frankfort, Ky., which led to the sending of their
"Registers" there regularly by two Boston ladies, and eventually to the
sending of many barrels of reading matter both to Joliet and Kentucky by
the Women's Auxiliary Conference of Boston.

A great pleasure of her last years was attending the Western Conference
at Chicago in May, 1883. Published accounts of her work had made her
well known in the denomination; so that, as the Cincinnati party
reported on their return home, "Miss Ellis was decidedly the belle of
the Conference." Every one wanted to see and talk with her, ask her
advice, etc. It was an immense satisfaction to her to meet personally,
to see and hear (for she almost seemed to hear through the eager eyes),
men and women whose fame and writings were so familiar to her. Every
session of the Conference saw Miss Ellis seated in the front pew,
audiphone in hand, eagerly intent on the exercises. Social beguilements
might make other people late at the morning devotions, but never Miss
Ellis, who took her conferences, like all else, conscientiously.

In May, 1885, she again attended the Western Conference at St. Louis,
though in great feebleness of body. Rev. W. C. Gannett, in "Unity," thus
speaks of her:--

     "A last summer's letter from the little mother of the Post Office
     Mission, who has just died in Cincinnati, will be of interest now.
     Some who were present at the last May Conference in St. Louis may
     remember the pathos of the quiet figure sitting in the front pews
     and trying on her echo-fan to catch the patter of the words said
     round her. The wee, sick, deafened body in which she did her work
     so strong-heartedly makes that work all the more an example and an
     inspiration. Strange enough should it prove that this bit of a
     lady, almost caged from the world by cripplings, had opened the
     most effective channel yet made for carrying our liberal faith to
     the world. Perhaps it _takes_ a thorn in the flesh to make a
     missionary. She certainly has done more than many a stout _son_ of
     the Gospel to keep her name remembered in our Western churches.
     This letter hints her pluck and her joy in the work, and the
     struggle of it. She had been urged to go into the country for a
     short rest, but replied:--

     The country is not the place for me to stay in any time. The
     morning and evening air keep my head roaring so, and increase
     catarrh. I have learned that to stay home during the summer, make
     no special effort, and work on slowly, is the better plan. If I go
     away, there is constantly an effort over something. I return tired,
     work has accumulated. I have to work doubly hard, and soon use up
     the little gained. I am too weak in summer to wish to come in
     contact with people to whom I have to be agreeable. Another
     difficulty,--the country is too _quiet_ for me. I am inclined to be
     a "hermit," and when I do go out, which I do daily, even now I am
     so sick, I need the stir, bustle, commotion, and the stores to
     change the thoughts. I loved the country before I was so deaf,--now
     city life is better for me; but I love to refresh myself by a ride
     into the country in the street cars, where I can study _human_
     nature on the way.... I work on principle, and for the real love of
     working. I am not happy unless at work, and can't bear to tear
     myself away from my little congregation, my papers, books, etc.
     _They_ suffer for it. The family do not wish me to keep so busy,
     but I am better for it, and my physician is on my side. "Keep up!"
     [The next few sentences have already been given, in reference to
     Mr. Noyes.] Don't give me undue credit for my appearance at the St.
     Louis Conference. I tried to kill three birds with one stone (I
     don't wear bird's wings in my hat, however),--to attend the
     Conference, visit a brother, and gain strength. The last I failed
     in.... I have written this long letter in two sittings. I have
     improved decidedly within the past few days, and with pleasant
     rides and good food and care shall soon be better. Most sincerely
     and cordially your friend,                   SALLIE ELLIS.

     CINCINNATI, July 28,1885."

Strangely enough, one's first thought of Miss Ellis was never as an
invalid. She so ignored the poor, weak body that she made you forget it
too. She was always so _alive_, so full of interest and joy in her work.
With what delight would she say, "This new tract is exactly the thing to
send ----," or announce, "such a good letter from ----." Even during the
last months, when the ravages of disease could no longer be concealed,
she _would_ not be sick. She set aside your sympathy. She was always
"better," "only my limbs are so weak to-day," or "my breath is so
short," or "it always makes me cough to walk," as if these were mere
casual incidents quite unworthy of notice.

The last of her life, it was pitiful to see her still clinging to her
work, still persisting in caring for her own room, declining all offers
of help. She often rose at five o'clock Sundays, because obliged by
weakness to work slowly, that she might reach church early, to prepare
her Tract Table before the congregation arrived. When no longer able to
remain to the services, she still came and ministered to her own special
congregation at the Tract Table, though obliged by weakness to sit. When
she no longer had strength to arrange her hair, she quietly cut it off.
But she went on with her work. To one offering help she said, "When I
cannot do my work, I don't want to live." Again, she said, "There are
many who need me, and they keep me alive." To the last she declined
being considered an invalid,--did not wish any one to walk out with her,
although the family were very uneasy to have one so weak and so deaf on
the street alone. She walked out every day, until the last time she was
forced to lean against the door-post and gain breath and strength to
take the final step up into the house.

All this time she was writing letters of cheer and strength, seldom
intimating that all was not well with her. When finally obliged to keep
her bed, she faded away rapidly, only living about two weeks. The last
postal card to a correspondent was begun in bed, in a trembling hand,
ending abruptly, "Too sick to write," and it was finished for her.
Although at times she had a little of the consumptive's feeling that she
might possibly rally, and even recover strength to work again, yet she
perceived, as she said to her mother, that "the sands are running out
fast," and made all her preparations for death in the quiet spirit of
one merely going on a journey into a familiar country. One who watched
with her one of the last nights spoke of a beautiful prayer she offered
in the middle of the night. She was unable to turn herself in bed, and
said to this friend with a smile, "This body wants turning so." Poor
body! not much longer had she to endure its weaknesses. Her religion was
too habitual, too much a part of her very soul, for many outward words
or professions. It was her life, her self. Why should she talk about it?

Mr. Thayer had always given her a list of the hymns and the full order
of service, and the sermon to read. The Sunday before her death the
sermon was returned, with the message that Miss Ellis was unable to read
it, but had asked her mother to copy the text for her. A week before
her death a friend, finding that in her excessive conscientiousness she
was letting business details of the Women's Auxiliary Conference trouble
her lest she should forget some item, went over all the books, wrote
business letters, and settled accounts, at her dictation. Speaking of
her work, she expressed faith that "God will raise up some one to do
it." She said earnestly, "I have always wanted to do something for my
denomination." It had evidently been a little of a struggle for her to
leave the work she loved, just as it began to be so successful in many
places, to die and be forgotten. In her modesty, she had no foregleam of
the afterglow of praise and public testimony to her worth that was to
follow the setting of her sun. Speaking once, near the end, with great
pleasure, of Mrs. Paine's successful work in Newport and New York, she
added, sadly, "They must increase, but I must decrease." But at last she
was "ready not to do," able to give all up and repose in perfect peace
upon the Father.

She had always thought much of Christmas, always remembered her friends'
birthdays. Her skilful fingers and untiring industry made the slender
means go a long way in devising innumerable tasteful presents on these
days for a large circle of friends. She loved children, and loved to
make them happy, and her little friends were always remembered. This
year, a day or two before Christmas, when so weak that only by the
closest attention could the feeble, broken utterance be understood, she
directed Christmas gifts, prepared long before, sent to all her friends.
To one whom she knew needed it, went "Daily Strength for Daily Needs;"
to one, a teacher, the little "Seed Thoughts from Browning." "I thought
it might help her in her work, tell her." Even her washerwoman and her
little girl, and the postman,--"he has brought me a great many letters,"
she said,--were not forgotten.

A friend took her a Christmas card sent by a little girl. Her feeble
vision could barely discern the design. "Birds and flowers," she said;
"what could be more beautiful? It cheers me so. Yet I hardly need that.
I am very happy and cheerful. I feel that everything is right."
Afterwards she spoke of the "Happy, happy Christmas-tide," saying, "We
must try to make it bright for the young." To the last, her thoughts
were of others.

Having closed all her earthly affairs, she lay awaiting the end in great
peace. Sunday, Dec. 27, 1885, in the evening of the peaceful day she
always loved, just as her little clock was striking seven, she passed
gently away in sleep. Well may we believe that hers was a joyful
wakening into a bright New Year.

Her funeral was attended in the Unitarian Church, December 30,--a
service of rare beauty and appropriateness. A thoughtful friend had
covered the Tract Table in the vestibule with moss, ferns, and flowers,
among which were placed a few tracts. In the church, wreathed with
Christmas evergreens, a large concourse of friends assembled. To the
strains of the Beethoven Funeral March, the coffin, nearly concealed
beneath emblematic palm branches and lilies, was borne by the brothers
whose loving-kindness had brightened all the life now ended, to its
resting-place beneath the pulpit, close to the front seat where, for so
many years, Miss Ellis's familiar form had never been missing. The
choir, composed of young friends of hers in the church, sang the first
three verses of "Nearer, my God, to Thee," and Whittier's appropriate
hymn, "Another hand is beckoning us."

From the text, "She is not dead, but sleepeth," Rev. George A. Thayer
paid a just and beautiful tribute to the spirit passed from our midst.
To few, he said, could these words of Jesus be so fittingly applied.
Though seemingly dead, she would live in ever-increasing power in the
influence she had exerted over other lives. If, from cities and villages
far away, from lonely farm-houses, all could to-day be assembled within
these walls who had received help and strength from her, large indeed
would be the concourse. More truly of her than of most might it be said
that she had

              "joined the choir invisible
    Of those immortal dead who live again
    In minds made better by their presence."

It would be well could we all imitate her example in cultivating a love
of religious reading, and that habit of religious meditation and
communion which was the source of her strength. Her leading
characteristic was conscience, an all-dominating power of conscience.
Whatever she felt it her duty to do, that she did, at all costs. He
closed by reading Bryant's

               THE CONQUEROR'S GRAVE.

    Within this lowly grave a Conqueror lies,
      And yet the monument proclaims it not,
    Nor round the sleeper's name hath chisel wrought
      The emblems of a fame that never dies,--
    Ivy and amaranth, in a graceful sheaf,
    Twined with the laurel's fair, imperial leaf.
        A simple name alone,
        To the great world unknown,
    Is graven here, and wild-flowers, rising round,
    Meek meadow-sweet and violets of the ground,
      Lean lovingly against the humble stone.

    Here, in the quiet earth, they laid apart
      No man of iron mould and bloody hands,
    Who sought to wreak upon the cowering lands
      The passions that consumed his restless heart;
    But one of tender spirit and delicate frame,
        Gentlest in mien and mind,
        Of gentle womankind
    Timidly shrinking from the breath of blame:
    One in whose eyes the smile of kindness made
      Its haunt, like flowers by sunny brooks in May,
    Yet, at the thought of others' pain, a shade
      Of sweeter sadness chased the smile away.

    Nor deem that when the hand that moulders here
    Was raised in menace, realms were chilled with fear
      And armies mustered at the sign, as when
    Clouds rise on clouds before the rainy East--
      Gray captains leading bands of veteran men
    And fiery youths to be the vulture's feast.
    Not thus were waged the mighty wars that gave
    The victory to her who fills this grave.
        Alone her task was wrought,
        Alone the battle fought;
    Through that long strife her constant hope was stayed
    On God alone, nor looked for other aid.

    She met the hosts of sorrow with a look
      That altered not beneath the frown they wore,
    And soon the lowering brood were tamed, and took,
      Meekly, her gentle rule, and frowned no more.
    Her soft hand put aside the assaults of wrath,
        And calmly broke in twain
        The fiery shafts of pain,
    And rent the nets of passion from her path.
      By that victorious hand despair was slain;
    With love she vanquished hate, and overcame
    Evil with good, in her Great Master's name.

    Her glory is not of this shadowy state,
      Glory that with the fleeting season dies;
    But when she entered at the sapphire gate,
      What joy was radiant in celestial eyes!
    How Heaven's bright depths with sounding welcomes rung,
        And flowers of Heaven by shining hands were flung!
        And He who, long before,
    Pain, scorn, and sorrow bore,
    The Mighty Sufferer, with aspect sweet,
    Smiled on the timid stranger from his seat;
    He who returning, glorious, from the grave,
    Dragged Death, disarmed, in chains, a crouching slave.

    See, as I linger here, the sun grows low;
      Cool airs are murmuring that the night is near.
    O gentle sleeper, from thy grave I go
      Consoled though sad, in hope and yet in fear.
        Brief is the time, I know,
        The warfare scarce begun,--
      Yet all may win the triumphs thou hast won.
    Still flows the fount whose waters strengthened thee,
      The victors' names are yet too few to fill
    Heaven's mighty roll; the glorious armory,
      That ministered to thee, is open still.

On the pleasant slope of a lovely hillside in Spring Grove, where
everything around breathes of Nature's peace and repose, among graves
very dear to her, the worn body was laid to rest, while the gentle
winter rain fell not unkindly into the open grave. Much seemed to have
gone out of the world when the echoing clods covered that which was
"Miss Ellis."

The Sunday after her death, as some of her friends were sadly trying to
replace the tracts in the table drawer just as she would have liked them
arranged, a white dove flew down and rested on the window-sill outside.
Only a coincidence, but one that touched us, nevertheless. If the
spirits of the departed ever revisit earth, surely Miss Ellis would
return to the church she loved so much; and possibly it is not wholly
fancy that still feels her in her old-time seat under the pulpit.

As soon as possible after Miss Ellis's death the Women's Auxiliary
Conference of Cincinnati prepared a four-page leaflet, containing a
brief sketch of her life and death, and sent it to all her
correspondents, many of whom were ignorant that she was even in ill
health. The little memorial's first page reads:--

            In Memoriam.
           SALLIE ELLIS.
          DECEMBER 27, 1885.

    So many worlds, so much to do,
      So little done, such things to be,
      How know I what had need of thee,
    For thou wert strong as thou wert true.

It reprinted from "Unity," Jan. 9, 1886, this tender tribute from a
personal friend and a member of the Women's Auxiliary:--

                SALLIE ELLIS.

    She only did what lay at hand,--
      Work that her own hand found to do:
    With no thought of a  "mission" grand,
      Yet, bit by bit, her mission grew.

    She did--what others left undone;
      She gleaned behind the harvesters:
    The scattered ears of grain let stand
      By careless ones,--all these were hers.

    Patient, unresting, still she wrought,
      Though life beat fainter and more faint:
    And only as her soul took flight,
      We saw--the aureole of the Saint.



The memorial closed as follows:--

     "At the regular monthly meeting of the Women's Auxiliary Conference
     of Cincinnati, Jan. 12, 1886, the programme for this meeting was
     omitted, and the afternoon devoted to tender recollection of the
     dear friend and valued secretary so recently taken from us, to the
     reading of many letters from East and West containing loving
     tribute to her worth and sympathy for our loss, and to devising
     such plans for continuing our work in future as should be our
     friend's best commemoration, the tribute she would chiefly have
     desired. Mrs. George A. Thayer offered the following expression of
     the feeling of our Society, for entry on our records:--

     "'It is fitting that we should place upon the records of this
     Association some words of grateful remembrance of our late
     fellow-worker and Secretary, Sallie Ellis, who went up higher on
     Sunday, Dec. 27, 1885.

     "'She was called to her office four years and a half ago, and took
     up its work from the beginning as one who felt its consecration,
     and saw the opportunity it offered of being a ministry of the
     highest things to many souls yearning for a word of religion both
     reasonable and spiritual.

     "'Her long and loving study of Unitarian principles gave her a rare
     fitness for teaching others the _thought_ of our church. Her
     personal faith in the deep things of God enabled her to speak ever
     the needed word to inquirers of the _religion_ of our church. And
     her sacred sense of duty, not only illustrated in every act of her
     life, but shining always through her written words, made her an
     admirable exemplar of the _moral quality_ of our church. So she was
     all that we could ask as our missionary leader, for she not only
     taught the stranger from afar of the surpassing beauty and
     greatness of our Liberal Christianity, but she quickened in us at
     home new love for its truths, and a deeper sense of our privilege
     and obligations in being of its disciples.

     "'In her life she guided and inspired us, and being dead she abides
     with us, ever a constant presence, to make us humble that we do so
     little for our great work, and to stir in us desire to be more
     faithful to our task in the Master's vineyard.'

"The following extract from a letter of directions left by Miss Ellis in
the event of her death was then read:--

     "'All the books in the loan library I bequeath to the use of the
     church, and when not so used, my family shall have the disposal of

    "This library comprises over one hundred and thirty religious books,
    chiefly by Unitarian authors. It was voted that this library 'shall
    always be known as The Sallie Ellis Loan Library.'

    "Mrs. M. E. Hunert, 177 Betts Street, Cincinnati, was appointed
    Corresponding Secretary. All communications may hereafter be
    addressed to her. She will continue the free distribution of
    Unitarian papers, tracts, and sermons, to any names furnished her of
    persons desiring them. She will also receive subscriptions for
    Unitarian publications and sell books, when desired, and will loan
    the books of the Sallie Ellis Loan Library, the borrower paying the
    postage only. It is earnestly wished to continue Miss Ellis's work
    in her spirit, and it is hoped correspondents and friends will
    co-operate with us in this effort.

    "Though saddened and greatly bereft, the Cincinnati Auxiliary would
    still strive to 'look forward and not back,' working on in the
    spirit of Whittier's poem,

                OUR SAINTS.

    From the eternal silence rounding
      All unsure and starlight here,
    Voices of our lost ones sounding,
      Bid us be of heart and cheer,
    Through the silence, down the spaces,
      Falling on the inward ear.

    Let us draw their mantles o'er us,
      Which have fallen in our way:
    Let us do the work before us
      Calmly, bravely, while we may,
    Ere the long night-silence cometh,
      And with us it is not day!"

The "In Memoriam" called out letters of deep regret--the regret of those
who mourn a personal friend--from every correspondent. A few of these
letters appear in the correspondence, selected from many of similar


       *       *       *       *       *

The letters of Miss Ellis's correspondents here given are selected from
an immense number of like purport and interest. She had kept all the
significant letters neatly filed in bundles, each correspondent by
himself. It has been a disappointment to receive so few, comparatively,
of her own letters. Our busy age is not given to saving its letters. It
is therefore all the more touching to know that so many of her
correspondents have treasured even every postal card from her hand. Her
letters given here, however, well illustrate her spirit and ideas on
many topics, also her method of work, and reveal something of the secret
of her success.

Literary style and fine effects were the last things aimed at in her
letters. Their characteristics are plainness, directness, intense
earnestness to convince and impress, and a warm sympathy with people of
all kinds and degrees. Strongly conservative in her own theology, she
yet did not set up her views as a fixed standard for others, or assume
to hold all truth. Some of her warmest friends were among our younger,
more radical ministers, whose purity and sincerity of life and faith
quite offset in her eyes their theological vagaries.

The letters first given are to fellow-workers who had asked about her
methods, materials, etc. In an article which Mr. Gannett had asked her
to write, and which appeared in "Unity," March 1, 1884, she wrote:--

     "We keep a standing weekly advertisement in two of our chief daily
     papers,--those which have the widest circulation, one Saturday
     morning, and the other Sunday, under the head of 'Religious
     Notices.' One of these papers advertises free for us.[4]

     [Footnote 4: The advertisement read thus: "Unitarian papers,
     tracts, etc., sent free to any one addressing Miss Sallie Ellis,
     Auburn Ave."]

     "On receiving an application we respond, being guided somewhat by
     the style and character of the application, by sending one or two
     tracts, with a copy of the 'Christian Register' or 'Unity.' [Many
     people of the church, after reading their religious papers, handed
     them to Miss Ellis for distribution.] After sending the papers and
     various tracts for several weeks, we write a postal of inquiry as
     to whether Unitarian literature is satisfactory; and if the person
     cares to subscribe to either of the papers, _which_ he or she
     prefers; which tracts have given the most satisfaction; and whether
     they care to borrow any books by mail, paying the postage on them.
     Frequently we receive no reply [in which case the name was
     dropped], but mostly the answer is gratifying. If the person cannot
     subscribe for the papers, but enjoys them, we continue to send
     them.... In sending tracts, we begin with 'Unitarian Principles and
     Doctrines,' by Rev. C. A. Brigham, the 'New Hampshire Statement of
     Belief,' and 'What Do Unitarians Believe?' by Rev. C. W.
     Wendte,--because we wish to show what our faith has grown from, and
     what it is now. These we think fairly represent the denomination;
     and we have found that they all give general satisfaction. Next,
     'Why Am I a Unitarian?' by James F. Clarke, D.D., which is also
     well liked, and 'Discourse on Distinguishing Opinions of
     Unitarians,' by William E. Channing, D.D., as creating a thirst for
     his 'Works.' Then we branch off from this into whatever we think
     best.... _Promptness_ in replying and _regularity_ in sending
     papers, etc., will do more towards showing our deep interest in the
     work, and bring the individual seeking into vital connection with
     the church sending the literature. A _little_ at a time frequently,
     to insure _careful_ and _thorough_ reading. Recommend books
     extensively.... We believe in loaning the books of the early
     ministers of our denomination as a good stepping-stone to the
     Unitarianism now taught in our pulpits."

In a letter to Miss F. L. Roberts, of Chicago, then Secretary of Western
Women's Unitarian Conference, March 14, 1884, she wrote:--

     "I agree with you that no _one_ tract or sermon will satisfy the
     questions of inquirers. They have to 'grow into the light,' as we
     all have done and still are doing. Did any one thing settle our
     doubts or questionings? I think not.

     "'What is our _aim_ in the Post Office Mission Work?' It occurs to
     me it should be to give inquirers the fairest statement of our
     teachings, from Channing up to the present time. Not the thought of
     any one man or woman, but that of the greatest number of our best
     minds in the several eras of our denomination. In many cases ...
     people have not the _slightest_ idea what Unitarianism is, farther
     than that we do not believe Christ was God. They not only do not
     know what we believe, but think us a kind of 'outcasts.' It almost
     seems like being in the Dark Ages of the world to hear of such
     ignorance as we _know_ exists with regard to our doctrines.
     Therefore we are talking, as it were, to children. Let us then
     begin at first principles, and send fair, clear statements."

After alluding to several of her correspondents who were thinking of
entering the Unitarian ministry, she adds:--

     "It seems to me the A. U. A. tracts, and the books, papers, etc.,
     sent with them, have produced good results; have made deep,
     earnest thinkers. It is through these very things our own ministers
     have been made to think, and they have gone beyond these same
     things; and so will our correspondents in time. But at present few
     of them have access to books, or come in contact with people who
     can converse on all these points with them; therefore it is well to
     intersperse with our tracts on doctrines, good _practical_ sermons,
     and the newer tracts occasionally, leading them up gradually to
     Unitarian ideas, and showing them especially that while we _have_
     doctrines in our church, character is the most important to us.
     There is no one book that has done more effective work than Rev. J.
     F. Clarke's 'Orthodoxy,' etc., which proves that we need good,
     _clear_, strong doctrine. [The Post Office Mission, she adds] is
     only a larger church, and we want to bring these people into vital
     connection with us,--making not Unitarians of them, or merely
     intellectual men and women, but practical Christians working with
     us and for humanity. Rev. ---- is the prophet of his age. We shall
     all _grow_ up to his ideal some day, and bring our Post Office
     Mission members with us. Hope he will be willing to wait. 'It is
     good that a man should both hope and quietly wait' (Lam. iii. 26)."

A bit from another letter to Miss Roberts is interesting as showing the
untiring industry which enabled Miss Ellis to accomplish so much:--

     ... "Next week we hold our fair, and I shall be very busy all the
     week. Have had so many orders for mittens, that I am a perfect
     knitting machine. I can knit and read, however, and therefore have
     looked over many sermons for distribution in the mean time. Am
     tired, and thankful for the blessed Saturday night followed by the
     quiet of Sunday."

In answer to a letter of inquiry from Miss F. Le Baron when that lady
first entered on her work as Secretary of the Western Women's Unitarian
Conference at Chicago, Dec. 2, 1884, Miss Ellis wrote:--

     "'How much time do you give to all this work?' Doing it at home, I
     cannot calculate exactly, for there are many moments thrown in that
     I cannot well count; but this much I _can_ say. I begin about 9 A.M.
     Monday to collect my materials about me, and usually by
     dinner-time (1 P. M.) I have put away all papers, etc., and have
     ready my week's papers, etc., for the postman to take. Nearly every
     evening I write an hour or more, excepting Sunday, when I won't
     write business letters. This is all the work I can _calculate_; but
     there are many moments spent reading my letters, assorting papers,
     tying up books, setting down items, making purchases, etc., besides
     the time spent Sunday and on Wednesday at the church, over the
     library, etc. However, I am very systematic in everything, and
     accomplish more in that way.... Of course, new applicants I reply
     to at once; but every new applicant is then added to my Monday
     list. Being at an office, you have more interruptions; and then
     deafness has its reward, and one can pursue her work in peace many
     times, whereas another would be disturbed."

In answer to another letter from Miss Le Baron, full of warm
congratulations on her success, she writes, Dec. 11, 1884:--

     "I am very much obliged for your high opinion of me. I read it to a
     dear friend, who always sends me to the Conference at Chicago, and
     she said, 'It's all true, but I hope you won't get so far above me
     in the next world.' I never have stopped to 'understand' what I am
     doing, or the 'name' I am making. To do the good comes from my
     heart, and I leave the results to the Good Father, and know if I
     merit a reward it will be given me. It is a pleasure in _this_
     world, to feel I am giving satisfaction to so many in the
     denomination. I am a thorough Unitarian, and have read our
     denominational works more than anything else, which has prepared me
     for this very work. I am an ignoramus in literature outside of
     Unitarianism, only that you cannot be a Unitarian and not come,
     more or less, in contact with general literature.... By the way, I
     always read tracts, and M. J. Savage's and Chadwick's and Clarke's
     weekly sermons, going to and from the city [Miss Ellis was living
     at this time in Avondale, three miles from the city], and carry
     _big_ packages of papers home on Sunday. Think the conductors must
     know I am a missionary."

Rev. Joseph May, Rev. Charles Allen, and Rev. F. L. Hosmer sent Miss
Ellis many of their printed sermons for distribution, which did good
service. Rev. William C. Gannett early saw the possibilities of this
work, and has done much to systematize and further it in many ways. He
christened it the "Post Office Mission," and, seeing the need of more
fresh material for distribution, devised and edited the "Church Door
Pulpit" series of sermons, and has also been the chief promoter of the
"Unity Mission" series of tracts. The following extracts are from Miss
Ellis's letters to him.

                                                   SEPTEMBER 12, 1882.

     Received to-day, from ----, your letter of September 5, asking
     about our "Missionary Work by Letter." ... I will very gladly
     afford you my assistance in that respect. However, I am rather more
     conservative than yourself,--rather of the E. S. Gannett
     type,--still have visited Omaha, where I have had brothers settled,
     and know some little of the style of religion which is requisite in
     the Northwest.... Will give you a list of the tracts I have used
     most profitably. Most people state, when they ask for literature,
     "Want something that teaches the _doctrines_ of the Unitarian
     Church." Thereupon I have forwarded, from time to time, "Unitarian
     Doctrines and Principles" (Brigham); "Word of God" and "The Rising
     Star of the Liberal Faith" (W. P. Tilden); "New Hampshire
     Statement of Belief;" "Unitarian Belief in Bible Language;" "Why Am
     I a Unitarian?" "Inspiration of New Testament," "Revivals"
     (Clarke); "Our Common Christianity" (A. P. Stanley); "Mission of
     Unitarianism" (Heber Newton); "Spiritual Christianity." (Starr
     King); and "What Do Unitarians Believe?" (C. W. Wendte).... The
     serial sermons of Chadwick, Clarke, Hale, and Savage always gladly
     received.... But do not be afraid of a little doctrine, Mr.
     Gannett, for there are some people in Orthodox churches who are
     hungering and thirsting for just our doctrines. They cannot do
     without doctrine just yet, but want something better than they have
     known, and think it a great blessing to find it. I try my
     congregation to see what each requires, and lead them on and up. My
     church is composed of a very mixed set.... I am deeply interested
     in this work, and know we have done much good.... We keep books to
     loan, and also recommend books from time to time, and ask our
     correspondents to subscribe to the periodicals.... Dr. Dewey's
     sermons on "Human Nature" and "Human Life," and his "Two Great
     Commandments" benefit some people very much.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                   March 11, 1883.

     I never omit the "Pulpit" column [of the Register], and read
     "Wrestling and Blessing" with much interest.... I set each
     difficulty down as just suited for some one, or two, or three of my
     correspondents. Of course, I _don't apply sermons to myself any
     more_. It is a beautiful sermon; and this brings me to the point
     we are all so interested in,--the wider circulation of the fresh
     thoughts of all the pulpits. I surely think, with you, that it will
     help the work to "give it name." Am glad you are stirring them all
     up. I do not, as you say, feel the need of it so much, but
     occasionally do.... A new case in Tennessee, who never knew
     _anything_ of the Liberal Church, till we sent him papers. Is much
     pleased, and wants to read till he knows still more about us. He
     writes, "Not one per cent of the people here know there is such a
     church. Tell me, do the majority of Unitarian ministers believe in
     the resurrection of Jesus; that he healed the leper, cast out
     devils, and raised Lazarus? I ask for information, and hope you
     will reply at some future time." He is evidently in a benighted
     region. Says he has "heard nothing outside the Cumberland
     Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist Churches, and am none of
     these;" and I presume is very little of anything yet, and is
     longing for a nobler life than he has known, or sees about him. The
     longer I go on, the more need I see of getting this work fully and
     well organized. It will be brought about ere long. Even reading
     over papers is beneficial. The publication of our hymns, the most
     inspiring, will do a great deal of good. In several cases I have
     copied them, and to good purpose.

Jan. 20, 1885, in answer to the question, what twenty names she would
prefer in the "Church Door Pulpit" series the coming year, she wrote:--

     "Revs. Grindall Reynolds, Rush R. Shippen, J. F. Clarke, E. E.
     Hale, Joseph May, Dr. William Furness, H. W. Bellows, T. Starr
     King, J. Ll. Jones, J. T. Sunderland, George Bachelor, William C.
     Gannett, F. L. Hosmer, David Utter, George A. Thayer, C. W. Wendte,
     S. J. Barrows, Albert Walkley, J. C. Learned, James Martineau. Am
     afraid I haven't left any room for those who do not bear the
     'Unitarian' name, but feel that Unitarianism is so little known,
     that I would first make our own best writers known, and then branch
     out and take in others. All of the above names I should like to see
     in 'Church Door Pulpit' for 1885-1886.... I think generally people
     wish to become acquainted with the Unitarian pulpit. 'What do
     Unitarians preach?' is the cry. 'I want to hear a Unitarian;'
     'those who have been educated in that denomination.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                February 20, 1885.

     Your article in "Unity," February 16, on "A Blessing on the Day,"
     pleased me very much.... We haven't quite the right book yet, and
     with you I say, "about twelve verses from the Bible well knitted
     around some central thought," as we principally want to become
     acquainted with the Bible as the "Book of man." Think something
     more like "Daily Praise and Prayer," with different Scripture
     selections, perhaps, and omitting most of the prayers. I would only
     have a prayer to lead to a prayer of one's own,--that is, to
     inspire one to pray in their own words. Have often thought I should
     like to compile a book of "Daily Worship" from the Scriptures, our
     Hymn Books, "Daily Praise and Prayer," "Day unto Day," "Helps to
     Devout Living," and the "Responsive Service," and now, from "Daily
     Strength for Daily Needs," "Aspirations of the World," and
     "Spiritual Life" in the "Register," but principally Scripture
     selections.... "Daily Praise and Prayer" is doing much good in a
     very troublesome family of one of my correspondents. I remembered
     to have sent the lady "Wrestling and Blessing," and wrote a short
     time since to call her attention to the "Inherited Burden," asking
     if she still had the tract. This morning received a reply, in which
     she wrote, "Yes! I still have 'Wrestling and Blessing,' for it did
     me so much good when I first read it that I felt as if I could not
     part with it." Many, many homes need "A Blessing on the Day" to
     create the true feeling.

To Miss Holmes, of the Davenport, Iowa, Post Office Mission, Miss Ellis

                                             August 20, 1884.

     ... Yes, I do use the A. U. A. tracts freely, and more than any
     others, those marked on our list herein enclosed, and also "Word of
     God," "The Doctrine of Prayer," and "Wrestling and Blessing,"--the
     latter to those who need encouragement particularly. I find
     generally that people want to get at the first principles,--the A
     B C of Unitarianism. We do not use Higginson's "Sympathy of
     Religion" at all. Our aim is to make practical Unitarians, and let
     doctrines and theory gradually fall into the secondary place.
     Therefore I object to Mr. ----'s list of books, because they are
     more historical and theoretical. They do well where one wants to
     study religion; but where one wants a Christianity to live by, I
     think something that comes down to practical life, or that is more
     simple, better adapted to the generality of people. As knowledge of
     Unitarianism spreads, they will naturally seek deeper works. But at
     present, something as clear and concise as possible, with the
     "Christian Register," "Unity," and the "Dayspring," which further
     illustrate our principles, we find very popular. The difficulty is
     to get a large enough supply and variety enough. The A. U. A.
     tracts only answer as an explanation, and we must have the sermons,
     and papers, and books enough in addition. As I have been at the
     work for three years, it is hard work to find sufficient supplies
     for between thirty and forty every week, and these extending the
     papers and tracts elsewhere.

     I cannot think, with Mr. Judy, that it is the best method to divide
     the work. It seems to me that causes confusion. It seems a much
     better way that the person who sends the tracts and papers should
     distribute the books too, as being better able to advise the books
     to read; for he or she learns the "bent of mind" of the seeker. So
     many different persons at work causes confusion and mistakes. I
     mail papers, tracts, etc., attend to all the correspondence, to
     loaning and mailing the books, to all printed matter received, to
     all the advertising orders of every kind, to money received and
     expended,--consulting the President frequently, and the details are
     brought up before our monthly meetings. I do not believe the work
     can be so well done as by one person; but of course no one could
     devote so much time to it unless they have some compensation for
     it. I took up the work at first voluntarily, but soon found there
     was a great deal in it, and therefore wished to give it earnest
     attention, and the ladies felt me particularly fitted for it, and
     preferred to give me a small salary. It never is "irksome" to me,
     but a work of real love to me. I have always been a
     missionary,--distributing all the papers and tracts which contained
     anything of a practical nature or of a pure Christianity.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         _To Miss Holmes._

                                                     AUGUST 29, 1884.

     Have just been re-reading "A Little Pilgrim." To tell you the plain
     truth, the ideas are beautiful, but I do not like prying into the
     next world. No one really knows anything concerning it. I am
     willing to rest where Jesus left us. He told us little of it, but
     enough for the "health of our souls." "In our Father's house are
     many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you;" and I believe when
     our friends leave us they go to another division of God's kingdom
     and "prepare a place for us," in that through their deaths we are
     naturally drawn heavenward, and our lives are different from ever
     before. I am not so much interested as to what the future world is.
     It is enough to me, to know that it is, and that I am doing the
     best I can while I am living here. The future world will be made
     plain to me when my time comes to go there; and if I have only
     lived rightly here, there will be nothing to fear.

     I can trust in God. Still such books seem to be necessary to some
     persons, but I do not consider them healthy reading. When you have
     finished such a book the query comes, "Is it fact?" Who can say it
     is? I feel that my friends are in the hands of a loving Father as
     they were while on earth, and that he will still do for them what
     is best, and their spirit and affection remain with us to comfort
     and guide us. I never lose them. They are only "gone before."

       *       *       *       *       *

                       _Miss Ellis to Rev. A. A. Livermore._

                                                   JUNE 2, 1880.

     MY DEAR FRIEND,--Many thanks for your kind letter of Mar. 29th,
     though I never saw the "P. S."--which, as usual with all
     postscripts, contained the best part of the letter--till a month
     afterwards, when in house-cleaning I was assorting letters
     received, I noticed the last page of your letter, which was like
     receiving a new letter, and came in very opportune; for we have
     had so much to depress us of late, that I was glad to have my
     attention called to Philippians, which contains so much that is
     cheering. There has been a good deal to occupy my time and thoughts
     since your very kind letter reached me; but I will not allow your
     college term to close without sending you my kind word, though I
     cannot be personally present at the Ohio Conference and Meadville
     exercises. May you have charming weather, and a satisfactory
     gathering, is my sincere wish. Rev. William H. Channing's visit
     here was highly appreciated by his old friends and the early
     members of the church, and we all particularly enjoyed the
     Communion. It was truly a communion with the departed, and very
     beautiful to us. I did not have the pleasure of meeting Mr.
     Channing excepting a few moments at Mrs. Ryland's, which I
     regretted exceedingly; but it was a disappointment I could not

     ---- and wife moved to Mt. Auburn to-day, there to make a bright,
     beautiful home for themselves, which is as it should be; but we who
     are left at home feel rather sad. The last of my dear mother's five
     little children has gone from me, and it is not so easy to enter
     into their homes and have my brothers and sisters what they were to
     me in our own family circle. Still all is right and best as it is;
     and though clouds gather over our heads, the sunshine will at
     length make itself seen, for "all things work together for good." I
     am going to be gay and spend the summer with ---- in Philadelphia;
     and as we have not met for eight years, we shall enjoy a quiet
     summer together.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                OCTOBER 1, 1884.

     ... Thanks for your kind sympathy for us in our sorrow. Thanks to
     you for the solid foundation you laid when our dear mother died,
     which has given me a firm faith in the hour of trial. I firmly
     believe that "all things work together for good," and that dear
     C----'s long sickness prepared her family, herself, and all of us
     for her death. There was much in her sickness and death that was
     beautiful and comforting. It was pleasant after so many days of
     suffering to see her at rest; and we feel it must have been a happy
     release to her too, for her face in death bore no trace of the pain
     she had endured, of which we were glad, for she looked so natural
     and sweetly that we could allow her two youngest children to look
     at "mamma asleep, to wake up an angel in heaven." C---- never
     wanted her children to have a horror of death, and her desire has
     been granted. They have no other idea than that the Good Father
     released their dear mother from pain and she is an angel in heaven.
     An Episcopalian minister officiated at the funeral, as C---- always
     preferred that service. He was a personal friend of hers and my
     brother E----'s. My brother's widow came from ----to attend the
     funeral, and she requested that I select a piece to be read in case
     they found no one to lead in a hymn. I selected your hymn,--"A holy
     air is breathing round." It was read in the middle of the service,
     very impressively, and was particularly comforting to N----'s widow
     and myself, as you had officiated at our mother's funeral and had
     baptized C---- and N----. (Do you remember the day you baptized me
     and my three brothers and C---- at the Masonic Hall?) The children
     scattered flowers over the graves; A----, ten years old, said on
     returning from the cemetery, "Papa, it was all beautiful, no dread
     or gloom about it. It was just as mamma would have had it." And so
     it was. The children will always feel the life hereafter a reality.
     "More homelike is the vast unknown," since their mamma is there.
     The piece "At noontide," in last week's "Register," applies to dear
     C----'s death as well as if written for her. It is beautiful. I
     want it in a leaflet to distribute, as I have opportunity
     frequently for just such words. Yes! I help on "Unity," the
     "Register," and "Our Best Words."... Hope I am making Christians,
     and not merely Liberals or merely Unitarians. Think we are gaining
     ground with many; but the literature must be distributed with great
     care, I feel with you.... We are glad to have the Thayers home
     again, and will probably begin to work earnestly next week.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                 JANUARY 4, 1885.

     ... Thanksgiving and Christmas were rather sad days to us this
     year, without our dear C----, who always did so much to make the
     days bright for all about her. Pa, mother, and myself dined both
     days with C----'s family. Christmas was made a happy day for the
     children by all our kind friends, and we could but feel their
     mother was looking upon them, with a bright and happy face, in
     gratitude to all those who had endeavored to make her dear ones so
     happy. I have been very busy this winter, for the correspondents
     still claim my time. Young ---- still appears interested, and I
     hope he may be able to enter college this year, for he appears to
     feel his isolation there much. No sympathetic person about him
     nearer than Mr. Barnes of Montreal.... Unity Club flourishes, so
     does the Day Nursery and Women's Auxiliary Conference. The fair was
     a pleasant occasion, and now we are all feeling cheered in having
     Mrs. T---- better again. I always see A---- at the window as I pass
     there on my way to church. He is a lovely little boy. He looks as
     if he _wanted_ to know "Miss Ellis;" but I doubt if he does,
     without his mother to call attention to her. Hope you all passed
     pleasant holidays at Meadville. I must close to write to Aunt ----,
     who always looks for a Sunday letter from me. [This was an aged
     blind aunt.]

Miss Ellis's first Post Office Mission correspondent was a young man in
Ravenna, Ohio, Mr. Julius Woodruff. His first letter to her said:

     "Thank you for your kindness in sending me the 'Christian
     Register.' I am much pleased with the paper, and may become a
     subscriber at no distant day. I received copies of Mr. Wendte's
     sermon, 'What do Unitarians Believe?' I have distributed them where
     I thought they would do the most good, and have reason to think
     that good was accomplished. Before long I will send to you for
     more books; and if I can help you in obtaining subscribers to the
     'Register' I will gladly do so. I am not a member of any church,
     and stand almost alone in the church I attend [Methodist], in my
     views. Our people seem to be almost entirely divided into three
     classes; namely, the strictly Orthodox, the wholly indifferent or
     non-thinking class, and the ultra Liberal. I am in sympathy with
     neither; and I know of only a few, all young boys like myself, who
     occupy middle ground. I can almost _fully_ indorse the views
     expressed by Rev. C. W. Wendte in the sermon to which I have
     referred; and believing his views to be right, I take pleasure in
     giving them as wide a circulation as I can. In many respects I
     admire Ingersoll; but I have no sympathy with the so-called
     'Liberal League' with which he is connected, and which has an
     auxiliary league in this county.

     "... If I understand the theory and purpose of your church, I shall
     be glad to render the cause any service in my power; and if I can
     be of any service as an auxiliary to your Missionary Society, I
     have only to be instructed in the ways thereof."

As such auxiliary he acted, distributing tracts, papers, etc., with a
zeal that might well shame some life-long Unitarians. In later letters
he wrote:--

     "Outside of all churches there is quite a number of men, mostly
     young, intelligent men, who have cultivated an intense hatred of
     certain doctrines and religious observances, and who have
     gradually come to denounce and seek the overthrow of our whole
     religious system. These are banded together as an auxiliary to the
     'Liberal League' of America. In addition to these are a number of
     young men, sons of Orthodox parents, who dissent from the religious
     views and peculiar creeds which have satisfied their elders, and
     yet have no definite faith of their own. I think that with these
     two classes, as well as with those who have so far been indifferent
     to the claim of religion, we have an excellent prospect of success
     in introducing our views and extending the influence of Liberal
     Christianity. I am very friendly to the Orthodox Church,
     recognizing the noble purpose that animates them all, and the
     invaluable services that they have rendered to mankind; and I have
     less desire to draw upon their strength than I have to see the
     Unitarian Church built up from material that has formerly been
     identified with _no_ church organization. I was a Unitarian in
     theory long before I knew anything of the Unitarian Church.... As a
     rule, the young men of my acquaintance who are, either in theory or
     practice, liberal Christians, are of the most intelligent order,
     ambitious, progressive young men; and of _them_ what may we not

He went into business in Leadville, Colorado, and from there wrote Miss
Ellis (in 1881):--

     "Sunday is almost entirely ignored in the business portion of the
     city, very few men closing their places of business. Every saloon
     and theatre is open on Sunday, and brass bands fill the air with
     their inspiring music. I attended the Methodist Episcopal Church
     Sabbath School last Sunday, and found quite a respectable crowd in
     attendance. I thoroughly enjoyed that afternoon; and when I saw
     rough-bearded, grimy, slouchy-looking men and boys from the mines
     and workshops taking part in the exercises of the school, I thanked
     God for the influence his church and school had had upon the
     largest, hardest mining-camp in the world.... If you have any more
     of the documents referred to, I wish you would send me a dozen or
     more, and a few of the pamphlets on 'What Do Unitarians Believe?'
     It seems to me this would be a most fruitful field in which to
     plant Unitarian ideas and principles. It seems to me no other
     church would be so popular here. Of the party of ten young men who
     board with me, I do not think that any one of them has been in a
     church three times since he came to Leadville. In most respects,
     all of them are fine young men; but Orthodox doctrines would never
     gain any ground with them, while Liberal ideas might win the field
     if the boys could be made to consider them."

Miss Ellis, and all the ladies, indeed, of the Cincinnati Auxiliary,
were greatly interested in Leadville, and hoped to do a good work there,
aided by our enthusiastic young friend; but the above was destined to be
our last letter from him. In September, 1881, came a postal card from a
hotel clerk, saying, "Mr. Woodruff wishes me to inform you that he has
been unable to answer your letter on account of sickness, but will write
you as soon as able." A few days later came intelligence of his death.
Tributes to his character in the Ravenna newspapers, and his photograph
sent Miss Ellis by his sister, only confirmed our opinion of this young
man's noble character, and our sincere grief at his loss. Miss Ellis at
once wrote to his mother this letter:--

                                             OCTOBER 17, 1881.

     I shall be compelled to address the envelope containing this note
     to your daughter, not knowing your husband's name. I presume you
     are aware that Miss ---- informed me of your son's death, and she,
     I presume, sent me so kindly the paper last week containing the
     obituary on him which I read with much interest, as it was such an
     opinion as I and all of us had formed of your son, Julius, from his
     interesting letters. I assure you that our love and sympathy are
     with you in the affliction, and would that we could soften the
     severe loss to you; but that alone the good Father in time can
     render less bitter. True resignation consists in enduring it as
     God's will.

     The ladies of our Missionary Society wish me to tell you how much
     all were interested in Julius's letters, and how deeply they feel
     with you, and at my request send you a book of consolation, "Light
     on the Cloud," as an expression of our real interest in your son.
     It seemed to me that nothing could be so appropriate as the
     literature he so learned to love. "He being dead yet speaketh"
     (Heb. xi. 4); and such we deem would be his words to those who were
     so dear to him. The President of our society marked one piece,--"He
     giveth his beloved sleep," and I have marked passages through the
     book, particularly under the head "Death a Blessing," and the last
     poem in the book. If words can cheer you, it is our hope that this
     little gift may serve the purpose. At least may it be a testimonial
     to you of our deep interest in your dear boy.... Our ladies are to
     hold the first meeting this season a week from to-morrow, when the
     obituary notice of Julius R. Woodruff's death will be read, and
     listened to with interest. He was my first correspondent, and his
     letter from Colorado was particularly enjoyable. It grieves me to
     think it was the last.... Hoping to hear farther from you, dear
     friend, through your daughter or Miss----, and to have the pleasure
     of becoming personally acquainted with you at some future day, with
     a God's blessing on you one and all, far and near,

     Yours in common sorrow,              S. ELLIS.

The correspondence was continued with Mr. Woodruff's sister as

                                        NOVEMBER 11, 1881.

     ... Yes, you may call me your "friend," for I truly feel that I
     have lost a dear and true friend in your brother, and consequently
     feel interested in all of his family, and do not wonder that your
     mother and the whole family are heart-broken to be called to give
     him up. Am sincerely glad that you felt free to express all your
     feelings to me, for now I can sympathize more deeply with you. You
     are just the age I was when my first sorrow came upon me,--the
     death of my dear mother. As you say, I felt that I must keep up, to
     cheer my father, who has ever been a domestic man, and the loss of
     my mother was very hard for him to bear, and the five little
     children to be cared for, I the oldest daughter at home, and had
     been my mother's "right-hand man" in the care of the children. But
     all our sorrows and trials are good for us to bear, and we need the
     crosses as well as the joys of life to fit us for the life here and
     for that which is to come.

     It was hard to be reconciled to the death of one so young and so
     good and true as Julius; but we must not be selfish, but think what
     is our loss is the gain of those taken, many times. He may, through
     his spiritual influence, still care for and lead you all nearer to
     God. These "dark hours of life" bring us to know ourselves better;
     they call out our sympathy for our fellow-men; and, what is more
     than all, they bring us nearer to God, and thus they are not a mere
     cross of agony; therefore let us not murmur at our affliction, but
     still believe that God is good, and will so make our trials serve
     us that they may become _good_ to us.... We must trust God, who
     doeth all things for the best, and pray for strength and light to
     be given us. Our prayers may not always be answered as we ask, but
     they are answered in another way.

    "Pray, though the gift you ask for
      May never comfort your fears,
    May never repay your pleading;
      Yet pray, and with hopeful tears.
    An answer--not that you sought for,
      But diviner--will come one day:
    Your eyes are too dim to see it;
      Yet strive, and wait, and pray.[5]

    "How shalt thou bear the cross which now
      So dread a weight appears?
    Keep quietly to God, and think
      Upon the Eternal Years.

    "Bear gently, suffer like a child,
      Nor be ashamed of tears;
    Kiss the sweet cross, and in thy heart
      Sing of the Eternal Years."[6]

     [Footnote 5: A. A. Procter.]

     [Footnote 6: Faber.]

The whole of Whittier's "Angels of Grief" and a poem by Ellerton are
copied in addition.

The correspondence was continued, occasionally, during Miss Ellis's
life. Aug. 11, 1882, she wrote:--

     "Young women, Miss----, have great influence over young men, and I
     hope you struggle to improve all those whom you know. Have you
     ever come across Frances Power Cobbe's 'Duties of Women'? It is a
     remarkably sensible book, and I feel as if every young girl ought
     to read it. I think you would do your young friends a service by
     owning it and passing it around among them. You can get it in paper
     for twenty-five cents. It is not a doctrinal work at all. She
     delivered the lectures in London, to women. Neither is it a Woman's
     Rights book altogether, but what any girl or young man, come to
     that, ought to do and practise. Are you going to resume school
     after vacation again, or what do you intend to turn your attention

     "I have not been very strong since I was sick last August,
     therefore have not done much this year. I go into the city every
     two weeks on Saturday A.M., to be at the church to loan books to
     any one who desires them. Was there last Saturday, and two strange
     ladies came in who proved very pleasant; one a young girl. She came
     after 'Helps to Devout Living,' for a sister who has gone out to
     Nebraska for her health, and is miles away from any church and has
     no companionable people about her. This young sister also selected
     for herself 'Day unto Day,' as a book of daily study in an upward
     path. It is such pleasant work to have it within my power to loan
     and to recommend so many good books to those who have not read
     them. They always enjoy them. Julius would have been so happy in it
     out at Leadville."

Mr. Woodruff's sister wrote, Feb. 15, 1886:

     "Some one very kindly sent us the obituary of our dear friend Miss
     Ellis. We were surprised and deeply grieved to hear of her death,
     as we did not know that her health was poor even. She said so
     little about herself, that we never thought of her as otherwise
     than well and strong.... I enjoyed Miss Ellis's letters so much,
     and we appreciated her kindness in writing to us after my dear
     brother's death. He thought so much of Miss Ellis, and I know if he
     had lived you would not have been disappointed in him. I cannot
     thank you sufficiently for the little book you sent mother after
     J----'s death. Truly it was a 'Light on the Cloud,' and it
     comforted mother more than I can tell you. It is so full of
     comforting words.

     "Though Miss Ellis is gone from us, she has left behind the
     influence of a life so pure, so noble, and so grand, that we will
     all be the better for having known her. As my brother once wrote in
     a friend's album, 'God wisely wills that we may not know the number
     of our years, and in view of the uncertainty which enshrouds each
     to-morrow, let us so live that be our lives long or short, the
     little home-world that surrounds us will be the better for our
     having lived in it.' Can we not say that these two did not live in
     vain? My brother had a great influence over young people and also
     over some who were much older than he, and had he been spared, I
     feel sure that he would have done a grand work for the cause of
     Christianity. But their life work is ended only too soon; and why
     they should be taken when they were doing so much good, and others
     who are a burden to themselves and others are left, I suppose we
     shall know sometime; and until that time we must believe that 'He
     doeth all things well.'"

Miss Ellis's letters frequently express her joy in a young man who had
become a Unitarian minister through her efforts. He was a Methodist
minister in Ohio, but had grown unable longer to accept the creed of his
church. Unhappy, unsettled, and adrift, not knowing where to turn for
help, by the merest "chance" he picked up on a railroad car a Cincinnati
paper, and his eye fell on the Women's Auxiliary Conference
advertisement. He wrote Miss Ellis a postal card, saying:--

     "I have seen your notice in the 'Commercial,' offering Unitarian
     papers and tracts free to persons who may desire to read them. I
     must confess to more ignorance in regard to Unitarian doctrines
     than is seemly in a minister of the gospel, and will be thankful
     indeed if you will kindly favor me with such papers and tracts as
     may enlighten me ever so little."

Later he wrote:--

     "You have helped me not a little in my search for truth. Before I
     first wrote you for tracts, etc., I knew absolutely nothing of
     Unitarianism beyond the term, and the fact that Unitarians did not
     believe Christ to have been God."

Miss Ellis corresponded with him from that time on, loaning many books,
etc. It was never her wish or aim to unsettle persons of a fixed faith.
She sought rather to reach and help those who, by reading and thinking,
had become dissatisfied with the only forms of religious faith known to
them, and were consequently drifting into scepticism. Mr. ----'s own
letters best tell the story. After Miss Ellis's death, he wrote Feb.

     "I had long been wondering why I did not hear from her, but
     supposed that she found her time so engrossed with her chosen work
     that she must defer writing until some more convenient season. She
     had, it is true, hinted at her failing health, but I never dreamed
     it was so bad. My first intimation of the real state of affairs was
     the notice of her death. I need not say that I was startled, that I
     regret our common loss; these are but feeble expressions.

     "Through all my life here at Cambridge I have been anticipating the
     day when, returning West, I should meet her, and in some degree
     thank her for the help and comfort she brought me in life. This has
     become such a fixed idea with me, that it is hard to believe, as I
     write this, that it can never be in this world. It seems very
     strange that the one friend who did me such a supreme kindness in
     life I shall never meet.

     "She was the very messenger of God to me, and is inseparably
     associated with the most trying period of my life. The only
     conceptions of religion I had ever had were proving unreal and
     worthless, and no one offered anything as a substitute. As I look
     back, the peril of my situation seems much greater than it did at
     the time. I fear I should have become insincere, or, what is
     perhaps almost as bad, should have fallen into a sort of despairing
     scepticism. Heaven in mercy saved me from it; but I shall not
     forget that even Heaven might not have found a way to do this, had
     there been no Miss Ellis. It was but a little thing, a trifle, a
     brief notice in a daily paper, that in some way caught a careless
     reader's eye. But my whole life is changed in consequence.

     "And so, while you miss her in her place and in your work, in your
     church and social life, I, too, here in New England miss her. I
     feel as if something is gone out of my life and I have really one
     less reason for returning West when my school work is done. But I
     have if possible an additional incentive to a good life. I trust I
     shall hear that your work is still going on successfully. I assure
     you I shall never lose interest in your Mission, and shall never
     cease to regard it as in some sense a home into which I was
     adopted. I sincerely hope I shall never do it any discredit."

In a letter to Mrs. Hunert, Miss Ellis's successor, he says:--

     "Accept, please, my hearty congratulations, and my best wishes for
     your very abundant success. It is a great work indeed, one that
     cannot be easily over-estimated, and in which it seems to me you
     can accomplish a minister's work even, and a very successful
     minister's work at that. I wonder how large your congregation is
     now; that is, how many persons are in communication with you and
     your Mission.

     "Of Miss Ellis I shall always think as one of my greatest earthly
     benefactors, and it will be a life-long regret that I never met
     her.... I wish you would say to Mrs. Smith that I have by me here
     in New England only the letters received from Miss Ellis since
     coming to Harvard, and these I fear contain nothing she would like
     to make use of. The really helpful letters, those that were of most
     vital interest to me, were written while I was a Methodist preacher
     in Ohio, and these are back there still, packed up among odds and
     ends, and practically might almost as well be in the moon.... Again
     accept my best wishes for your success in the new calling,--a
     divine one in the truest sense of the word. I assure you I shall
     always be glad to hear of the growth and success of your Mission,
     all the more, perhaps, because I hold to it a sort of filial
     relation. You know that in the Methodist Church each young convert
     or young minister speaks of the minister under whose preaching he
     was converted, as a spiritual father. So I think of myself now as
     the spiritual child of your Women's Missionary Society in
     Cincinnati. Would that Heaven might help me to be worthy of the
     home, and justify in some sense their loving-kindness and help in
     time of need."

A gentleman in Kentucky, long a correspondent of Miss Ellis, who had
taken papers, bought many books, etc., through her, and who has recently
died, wrote of her, Jan. 22, 1886:--

     "Many souls will miss the modest, unassuming, faithful secretary,
     but her silent labors will be followed by a rich reward. Her
     memorial is in the hearts and minds of those who were led through
     her efforts to freedom, fellowship, and character, in religion."

This correspondent was a farmer's wife in Ohio, who, after Miss Ellis's
death, wrote:--

     "I have had much trouble in the last two years, and would have
     given up to utter despair many times, if it had not been for her
     kind letters and sermons. I made a confidential friend of her; so,
     knowing my situation, she knew what sermons would serve most to
     strengthen me, and sometimes she would come across sermons in
     papers that she would cut out and send me. I have them yet, and
     intend to paste them in a scrapbook. I thought of calling upon her
     father to see if he had a picture that he would allow me to have a
     copy from, so I am very glad her portrait will be in the book.... I
     learned to _love_ Miss Ellis, and shall _never_ forget her."

There was a little family of step-children living on a remote Ohio farm,
in whom Miss Ellis took a warm personal interest, advising as to their
religious training, sending them children's papers and books. "Miss
Ellis" came to be regarded as a dear friend by these children who never
saw her. March 16, 1885, she wrote to the mother:--

     "Your letter was received a week since, but I have been sick three
     weeks with a very severe cough and cold. Have been up and about,
     but could not accomplish much of anything, and especially writing,
     and still had much of it to do.... Wanted to advise you about the
     Sunday-school lessons. Order the lessons of 'Home Life' from
     Chicago at present, and then next, if you can, 'Corner-Stones of
     Character;' but do not get the 'Old Testament Chart,' for I have
     some very good lessons on the Old Testament that you will like and
     can have immediately.... Am so sorry you have so much sadness to
     contend against. However, you must feel that all your sacrifices
     are known by the good Father in heaven; so to him turn in your hour
     of need. There is a hymn Mr. Thayer often selects for our opening
     on Sunday. We sang it last Sunday,--'Daily Consecration,' by
     Caroline Mason.

    'Oh God! I thank thee for each sight
      Of beauty that thy hand doth give;
    For sunny skies, and air, and light,--
      Oh God, I thank thee that I live!

    'That life I consecrate to thee;
      And ever, as the day is born,
    On wings of joy my soul would flee
      To thank thee for another morn:

    'Another day in which to cast
      Some silent deed of love abroad,
    Which, greatening as it journeys past,
      May do some earnest work for God.

    'Another day to do, to dare;
      To use anew my growing strength;
    To arm my soul with faith and prayer,
      And so win life and thee, at length.'

     "Let your first thoughts be turned to God in the morning, and in
     the day's struggles believe that you are in his presence; and even
     if your earthly life is not such as you may wish, you may rest
     assured that your tears are counted above.... My own life is much
     brighter than it was. My brother ---- has an only child, three and
     a half years old, who is very cunning, and much company for us all.
     On Friday I passed my semi-centennial birthday, which a number of
     my friends kindly remembered.... I was not strong enough to enjoy
     the occasion fully; but still on the whole it was a bright day to
     me, and on Sunday I was glad Mr. Thayer selected the beautiful
     hymn, 'Daily Consecration.' I am too weak to write longer.... May
     God bless and strengthen you for your daily toils."

On the envelopes of all these letters was written, "From my friend Miss
Ellis." To the oldest child, who was difficult to influence, Miss Ellis
addressed this letter:--

     MY DEAR M----: I wonder if you ever had any one write a letter to
     you, and whether you can read a letter yourself. If not, your
     mamma will read it to you. She has told me that you are having a
     little Sunday-school of your own at home, and I feel quite
     interested in it, and am going to have two of the lessons sent to
     your mamma from Chicago, hoping you three children will feel
     interested in them. One is a very simple thing to learn,--"Rules to
     make Home Pleasant;" and I hope you will all try to learn them, and
     try to keep them in your daily life.... If children do not learn to
     keep such rules, they never can have happy homes, for they will
     grow up into ill-natured, lazy men and women. The other lesson is
     called "Corner-Stones of Character," because it gives us true ideas
     of what all children should learn in order to grow up into good,
     truthful men and women.... Now I know you are studying together
     Brown's "Life of Jesus," and these lessons I am to send you will
     help you to understand better what Jesus did to make himself, with
     God's help, become so good a man. I know, too, that you, M----,
     have a copy of "Daily Praise and Prayer," which is a very good
     book. It is pleasant to me as I read in mine to think that Mrs.
     ---- and M---- are reading their lesson to-day, and I wonder if
     they are thinking how beautiful it is, and that "Miss Ellis" and
     many others are reading and asking God for the same goodness
     to-day. It is so pleasant,--do you not think so?--to feel that our
     good Father in heaven and all good, kind people are thinking of us
     each day. It helps _us_ to be good, to know that others are trying
     in the same way,--do you not think so? You are the oldest of the
     three children, and I want to hear from you, that by studying our
     Sunday-school lessons, and reading in sensible books, and playing
     with well-behaved children, you are all becoming wiser and better,
     and helping mamma and each other. I will also send you some verses
     all the children in our Sunday-school learned one winter.... There
     are many things I could talk to you about, but I must leave the
     rest till another day. It will be sufficient for you to know that
     some one on earth feels interested in your life at home, with a
     kind mother to lead you so well.... I will say good-by now, and
     hope you will learn to write to me. With love to all of you, very
     kindly your friend.

Miss Ellis corresponded frequently with a young man in Canada (living in
a city where, so far as known, he is the only Unitarian), beginning in
1882, and loaning him many books. He, too, was in a state of religious
doubt and despair, when chance threw the little advertisement in his
way. He intends to enter the Unitarian ministry, as is shown by the
following extracts from the correspondence. Miss Ellis wrote him Oct.
21, 1882:--

     Monday afternoon I mailed "Religion in Evolution" to you, and I
     have imagined you eagerly poring over the book this week in high
     ecstasies.... To me James F. Clarke's views and Dr. Furness's seem
     more just and reliable. But Dr. Clarke says, "What commends itself
     best to our reason, must be the truth;" therefore Mr. Savage may
     benefit you more. If he rouses you to a deep faith and makes you
     truly Christian, that is the point to be gained. Should like to
     have you compare James F. Clarke with Mr. Savage, on the Humanity
     of Jesus and the Miracles and the Resurrection, particularly.
     "Bible for Learners," Vol. III., takes the same view, about, of the
     Miracles and Resurrection,--"myths and legends," "not an external
     fact of history, but simply a form of belief assumed by the faith
     of his friends and earliest disciples." James F. Clarke, in "Truths
     and Errors of Orthodoxy," in the chapter Miracles, says, "The
     resurrection may have been an example of a universal law." Dr.
     Furness says: "Till men know all the laws of God it is rather
     presumptuous in them to set the resurrection aside as an
     impossibility." These are not his exact words; but the purport I
     have quoted from memory. To return to Dr. Clarke.... [Then follows
     a long extract from Clarke, which is omitted here.] Dr. Clarke's
     view is the most likely and rational to me; but all the more
     radical men take the view of the German critics, and look upon it
     rather as "myths and legends" arising from a simple faith of the
     disciples. The only way is to read for yourself and compare,
     forming an opinion of your own, while remembering that Christianity
     does not rest on a certain belief, but on the life. "What doth the
     Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justly, love mercy, and
     walk humbly with thy God," are the words of the prophet Micah.
     James F. Clarke believes firmly in the simple, pure humanity of
     Jesus, best shown in "Steps of Belief," under the "Historical
     Christ." I have "Steps of Belief," "Truths and Errors of
     Orthodoxy," also "Bible for Learners" and "Talks about Jesus" (M.
     J. Savage), to loan you. You have only to say which you wish
     first.... I am tired, and must rise early to be in the city in time
     for Sunday-school, so I will tear off the paper here, or I shall go
     on writing all night. Have more good sermons to send you. Wish you
     could go to Boston, join the Young Men's Christian Union
     (Unitarian), and be helped into what God means you and all to be,
     by putting our faculties to the highest use we are capable of.
     Hoping to hear further from you,

                 Truly your friend,                  SARAH ELLIS.

     _Sunday Evening._ Our sermon to-day was on the "Effects of Modern
     Scientific Thought upon the Essentials of Religion." If it is
     published, will send you a copy of it.... I think the hymn will
     meet your views, therefore copy it. Do you know it?

The hymn referred to is the one, "God Ever Near," by T. H. Gill,

    "What secret place, what distant star,
      O Lord of all, is thine abode?"

Miss Ellis copies it in full. In 1883 the young man wrote Miss Ellis:--

     "A year ago I was in the dreariest stage of agnosticism. I was in
     despair at times, and sometimes my very soul seemed to be in agony.
     Through reading scientific literature I had been convinced that
     most of the religious teaching I had learned was false. The
     flippancy and shallowness of Ingersoll and his school disgusted me.
     I could not find rest in materialism; I considered it as far astray
     from the truth as Orthodoxy. I was nineteen years old, and found
     myself facing the most tremendous problems of existence. I tried to
     tell myself to wait for maturer years to solve them, and to a great
     extent that satisfied me. But I still yearned for
     _something_,--simply this: 'My soul cried out for the living God!'
     Alas! I could not find him. I looked around me for a little
     sympathy or a kind word even, but I looked in vain. Every Sunday I
     heard denunciations of such views as mine. I heard a great deal of
     'blatant atheists,' 'infidel scientists,' etc., but no sympathy for
     a despairing agnostic,--only scorn and ridicule. It pained me
     intensely to be misunderstood by even those dearest to me on earth,
     but I determined to stand firm for what I took to be the truth. Oh
     for some men to preach a little charity for the views of others,
     and to consider a man as not being necessarily worse than a
     criminal because he cannot accept their own views! I owe you a
     large debt of gratitude for being the means of lifting me out of a
     state of misery and despair, in which I had no pleasure in life,
     into a state of cheerfulness, happiness, hope, and peace; not
     intellectual peace,--for I do not expect that,--but real 'soul
     peace,' a calm trust and a real faith in a living God. I have been
     surprised to see how largely Unitarian theology is based on
     science. I owe it to science that my life is something more than
     daily drudgery. The foundation of my scepticism was laid when I
     learned the rudiments of natural philosophy in school. I was
     astonished at what I read of Nature's wonders. Since leaving school
     I have been an ardent reader of all kinds of scientific literature.
     By means of the Mechanics' Institute I have the use of all the
     magazines, reviews, etc., besides a splendid library. I have read a
     great deal that I did not understand,--books which are beyond my
     years; but I have a good idea of what is occupying the minds of the
     world's thinkers in this nineteenth century. One of the best
     lessons I have learned from the literature you have sent me is
     faith,--a very different kind of faith from the mere credulity I
     once knew by that name. At times I am dazed and confounded when I
     think of the great mysteries surrounding us, especially of the
     mysteries of death; but I feel that a good God is over all, and the
     main thing is to do right, and all will be well. I cannot express
     how much I owe you for the great good you have done me. You have my
     heartfelt thanks."

In another letter he wrote:--

     "To say that I am delighted with 'The Religion of Evolution' is but
     a poor way of expressing myself. You could not have sent me a more
     timely book. I would like to get all of Mr. Savage's books. You
     'wish I could go to Boston,' etc. Ah! you do not know how I
     sometimes yearn for some such thing myself. I find my great
     pleasure and recreation in intellectual pursuits; and of course I
     have not nearly so great advantages in a small city as I would have
     in a large one. But for meditation and communion with the Infinite,
     communion with Nature and the incomprehensible God, I must have
     solitude. It was a favorite dream of my childhood that I would be a
     minister. But I have to work in another way. My father died when I
     was six years of age, and my mother therefore had a struggle to
     give us an education,--that inestimable blessing of a common-school
     education. I feel that the highest work for me is to support her to
     the best of my ability.... I value highly the sermons you send me.
     Most of our churches here offer one 'dry bones' instead of the
     living truth. Do you know of any low-priced publication which would
     give me a fair sketch of Theodore Parker's life and thought? I
     would like to know something of him. I am greatly pleased with the
     'Register.' Mr. Savage's sermons are also a feast to me. The
     sermons of J. F. Clarke you sent me in June have a ring about them
     and a spirit in them that I find in few others."

Miss Ellis wrote him, Dec. 29, 1883:--

     Am glad to hear you have gained _something_ in the past year. Do
     not be discouraged if you are not perfection at once. It takes
     _years_ of struggle to become so. Read the lessons on "Patience,"
     in "Day unto Day," particularly "Jan. 9--Parsons." You are quite
     young, remember, and there are many years for you to improve in,
     "and room for improvement," as people always say.... I will not
     allow _your_ want of time to keep me from writing you. It is my own
     lack of time, and troublesome eyes. Have been very busy this
     winter. Have a gentleman in Alabama who is becoming much interested
     in Unitarian theology, and also one in Kentucky. It keeps my mind
     at work to send just the right thing to each one. My eyes are
     troubling me much this evening. Must close, to make some last
     preparations for Sunday, as I have to start early in the morning to
     be in time, and must also write a postal to a young nephew in
     Philadelphia, who is very fond of me and remembered me Christmas
     and always. Wishing you a bright, happy, and successful New Year,
     in which all the ladies join me, with kind regards to your mother,

                             Truly your friend,            S. ELLIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                APRIL 15, 1883.

     I must answer your question, "Why no denunciation of sin (by
     Unitarians)?" In the New Hampshire "Statement of Belief" I first
     sent you, if you still have it, you will find: "(4) In Human
     Nature, as not ruined, but incomplete. Man is not fallen from a
     primitive state of holiness, but is imperfectly developed. Being
     imperfect, he is liable to sin.... _The essence of sin is the
     failure of the higher nature of man to rule his lower nature._
     Human nature is made sacred by the indwelling presence of God.
     Humanity is not tending downward, but is divinely guided from lower
     to higher forms of moral and spiritual life."

     Starting from such a high ideal of man's nature,--that he is
     created in the "image of God," and as found in the first chapter of
     Genesis, I think, and in Psalms viii.: "Thou hast made him a little
     lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with honor and
     glory,"--we feel him capable of so much, that our ministers are too
     busy talking concerning _being_ and _doing_ good to have any time
     left for denunciation of sin. Our great concern is to raise man in
     _every_ way. Teach him to be cheerful, looking _forward_ all the
     time, moving onward and upward, and to find no opportunity to spend
     in vain regrets,--only looking at his sins long enough to learn
     lessons from the past, that he may avoid them in the future. Our
     sins leave a deep stain that will affect us during our lifetime,
     but the only way to overcome them is to be so engaged in right
     doing that we rise above them. Now, do you not think this a far
     higher way of converting men than by dwelling on their weaknesses?
     Give the world something higher to do all the time, and they will
     naturally rise to that level. We start from a higher standpoint
     than the Orthodox, therefore our methods are very different. We
     denounce sin by avoiding it whenever we come in contact with it, or
     evil of any kind, and there is no more effectual way of overcoming
     it. Do you not see why it is we have ceased to speak of it in
     sermons? We are too busy with the good, the true, the beautiful, to
     pay attention to the wickedness. Dr. Dewey wrote some stirring
     sermons, on "Human Nature." The topic of one is, "On the Wrong
     which Sin does to Human Nature;"--text from Prov. viii. 36: "He
     that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul." That was the
     former way of dealing with and denouncing sin; but the later way
     is, to take care always to place the better in people's way, and
     the sins will fall behind. Think you not so?

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                    JANUARY 6, 1883.

     ... We sometimes strain at _words_ when in reality we agree with
     others. If we would only remember to strive to discover wherein we
     agree, and not always be looking for divergence of opinion, there
     would be more of practical piety in the world. Let us open our eyes
     to the fact that _all_ denominations endeavor to make men better,
     though they differ in methods; and see to it that we ourselves are
     true to the highest and best as far as we know it, and the kingdom
     of God will be hastened in everywhere. Do right for its own sake,
     and not from fear or hope of punishment or reward. Let me give you
     a hymn we sang after the sermon last Sunday. The subject was, "This
     life: why we are in it, and what we have a right to expect of it."
     The hymn is one of Rev. Samuel Longfellow's, "Life's Mission:"--

    "Go forth to life, O child of earth!
    Still mindful of thy heavenly birth."

     [The whole hymn is copied] ... Methinks if one lives up to such a
     mission he will be none the less Christian than if he can accept
     the dogmas of churches.

He had consulted her about the propriety of his contributing to the
support of the Methodist church when he no longer accepted its
doctrines. She wrote in reply, Oct. 6, 1884:--

     ... "There are two precepts which come to my mind when I am
     perplexed as to what to do, which I will mention: 'What doth the
     Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk
     humbly with thy God?' (Micah vi. 8). The other: 'If ye have not the
     spirit of Christ, ye are none of his,'-- from the epistles, but
     can't recall it just now. If you conclude to contribute to the
     Methodist church, you could tell Mr. B---- what your intention had
     been, and how I reasoned upon the subject. However, act just as you
     come to the conclusion. The thing is to do as you believe to be
     just. I should think the church I attended had the first claim upon
     me. 'Duty before pleasure' is true in any church. Am glad you think
     so well of Unitarianism, and hope you may be able to work heartily
     with us some day. Only be patient."

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                       JUNE 7, 1884.

     You speak of the "loneliness" of the position you are taking, and I
     felt glad to find you so firm in the step you are taking.... It
     will be a position full of self-denial many times, but on the
     other hand will bring its own rich rewards, known only to the true
     minister of God. To encourage you in the many hours of
     discouragement, I advise Dr. Furness's sermon on the "Solitude of
     Christ," in "Register" of May 8,1884, I think, which I believe has
     been sent you, but if not, will hunt it up and send it to you; and
     besides that, the words of Jesus: "He that hath put his hand to the
     plough and looketh back, is not worthy of me;" therefore have
     firmly fixed in your mind the glorious hymn by Rev. Samuel Johnson,
     "The Conflict of Life."

The whole five verses of this hymn are then copied, followed by the
whole of Watts's

    "Awake, our souls; away, our fears,--
    Let every trembling thought be gone;"

and Doddridge's

    "Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve,
    And press with vigor on!"

Miss Ellis saying, at the end, "I have copied these, for they have more
weight when written by those we know."

                                                  JULY 5, 1884.

     ... I will permit you to "unburden yourself" with as many pages as
     you see fit, at any time you feel disposed to do so, and promise
     not to be "bored." I, in my deafness, understand what it is to feel
     so utterly alone, though surrounded by dear, old, and tried
     friends. This lack of one congenial person or thing no one can
     appreciate but those who have experienced.... Remember, _opinions_
     separate us, but kindly deeds and affection draw us close to one
     another; and so pursue your studies patiently, striving to make
     yourself the kind of man you think one ought to be, and in
     attending church do it in the spirit of Jesus,--with the feeling of
     worshipping God, and cast aside all other feeling, knowing that
     those around you are doing what they feel to be best. Leave it to
     the Good Father to judge them, and in time to help them to see
     differently. We are judged by living up to the highest and best we
     know, and if others have not been so far enlightened as we, or have
     not been moved by the Spirit to seek higher light and truth, we
     must work in patience and leave them in the hands of God.... Only
     be true to your own convictions, and you will lead them by example
     rather than precept, unconsciously to them. Work on patiently, and
     God's promises will not fail you. It is a slow process to overcome
     one's many failures; but we shall come out conquerors at the last
     if we only will, and are earnest in our endeavors.... After two
     weeks our churches will close for the summer, but _my_ congregation
     will still be ministered to. I go to the church during vacation
     every two weeks to lend books to any who desire them.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                  NOVEMBER 16, 1884.

     I feel for you greatly in your isolation; but comfort yourself in
     the thought that the generality of Unitarian ministers are cut off
     from all companionship with ministers of other denominations where
     they are settled, and are seldom permitted to enter into charities,
     where they are, with other ministers. It has been the case ever
     since the days of Jesus, that those who really hold his views are
     separated from others in the community. But as you say, and many
     more say, "if we have God alone, that is enough." I cannot consider
     myself a "theist" entirely, but might call myself a "Christian
     theist." I have come to know God as manifested through Jesus, but
     have as much respect for those who do as Jesus did, and who have as
     firm a trust in the Father as Jesus had. Think that is what Jesus
     taught, and labored to have no man worship him. "There is none good
     but One," he said; "why callest thou me good?" Though I value
     Jesus, I do not worship him, or feel that he is my support in life.
     I only look to him in difficulties and trials to show me the way to
     the Father. I ask to worship and to live in his spirit and so gain
     strength from the Father wherewith to do. You and others look more
     to men of later date, who have learned from others nearer to them;
     but if we trace it all back to the beginning, we will find it is
     Jesus' spirit working through them. So one and all, whoever they
     are, wherever found, who have the spirit of Christ, are the sons of
     God, whether they call themselves merely theists, or Christian
     theists, it seems to me. George Eliot was truly religious, though
     perhaps not a Christian in the common acceptation.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                              DECEMBER 27, 1884.

     I do not know as I "have ever realized the depths of absolute
     negations," but I have realized the depths of absolute solitude,
     and can sympathize with you in your loneliness, and "think it a
     good thing to keep the Eternal and Infinite always in view, and so
     love quiet, solitude, and meditation. They strengthen me to do my
     work in life." Do not despair, then, if you are despondent at
     times. Every one is, and it is good for us to some extent to be
     disgusted with ourselves; it makes us know ourselves. "The dark
     hours of life bring us nearer to our fellow-men, help us to know
     ourselves and bring us nearer to God." God has put these
     questionings into you for some wise purpose. Be true to your
     highest and best self, and work them out by degrees. But remember
     you are young yet, and there is time for you to solve all these
     mysteries in. Do not try to solve all the great questions of life
     at once. Be patient, and do not brood too much. Meditation and
     solitude are good, but try to mingle somewhat with those around
     you. See God in the world about you, as well as in the stars. I
     would like to dwell longer upon your letter, but perhaps I shall
     bring you out of doubt by giving you something to do. [She then
     proposes a bit of work for him to undertake.] ... Our doubts and
     mysteries are solved sometimes by setting to work on things we are
     pondering over.

He wrote Miss Ellis, Aug. 24, 1885:--

     "A shadow has come across my way of late,--a great disappointment.
     I think I mentioned it to you before. A doctor, an acquaintance of
     mine, has often told me that I studied and read too much.... It is
     hard for me to realize this, but he insists on a year's rest from
     study. This will postpone my entrance to Meadville for two years, I
     fear. I confess to great disappointment over this. I will be past
     twenty-five when I get to Meadville; and yet there is another side.
     I have often questioned my fitness for this great work. I wish to
     be cautious. I do believe that I have a noble gospel to preach. 'To
     preach,'--but first to live it. And, in shame I confess it, I have
     not lived it. It will therefore be a good thing if in these two
     years I give myself to growth in manhood. But enough of this. These
     matters must be dealt with in the closet,--the soul's closet....
     After my taste of Montreal fellowship I am sick with loneliness
     here. It is fearful, at times, this longing for one friend even,
     and finding none. But it must be borne without grumbling. And now I
     must stop. The doctor would object to even this light piece of
     writing. Thank you kindly for sending me the 'Register' and
     'Unity.' It is very good of you to look after me so much. Be
     assured that your kindness is giving great encouragement to a
     lonely one who, amid much opposition and misunderstanding from his
     dearest ones, is making at least a _little_ honest effort to be
     true to himself and God. I would that I were fully faithful; but it
     is not so. Still I think your seed will yet bear fruit, and spring
     up in a life devoted to the uplifting of mankind. My deepest
     prayer is for this. I trust your health will improve. Still more do
     I trust that you may continue to grow nearer God, and help others
     to do so, as you have helped me."

Miss Ellis replied, Aug. 30, 1885:--

     "... I have neglected you of late, thinking you were soon to go to
     Meadville, and that you were busy. We are sorry to hear of your
     great disappointment. It is a disappointment to us as well,
     particularly to me. However, we need the reverses and crosses of
     life as much as the air we breathe, to strengthen our characters.
     You have pushed yourself so hard with business and studies the past
     two years, that you have not taken time to view the life around you
     in the right light. Let the next two years be given principally to
     building up your character individually and socially, and to
     improving your health, as one of the first requisites of a minister
     is a sound mind and a healthy body. Be social; take life
     cheerfully; make those about you better for your company; and
     mingle freely with your family and best friends, showing them you
     are practising Unitarianism. Yes; make these two coming years tell
     as a preparation for college in another way, and let them prove a
     blessing to you, though a disappointment at first. Did you read
     Rev. E. E. Hale's 'Methods,' in 'Register' a few weeks since? This
     week's 'Register' contains an excellent sermon by Rev. John
     Clifford on 'Spiritual Building.' Have a home worship of your own
     sometimes. During the vacation, every Sunday I have had a regular
     worship. For instance, to-day I read for sermon, 'Spiritual
     Building;' opening hymn, 'Come, Thou Almighty, help us to praise;'
     'Scriptures Old and New' (a compilation by Mr. Forbush and Mr.
     Hosmer, from all religions, and an excellent thing to have), Lesson
     27,--'The Kingdom within us;' prayer, followed by Scripture lesson,
     Galatians iii., from which is taken text; then Wesley's hymn, 'The
     whole armor of God;' sermon; closing hymn, Doddridge's 'Awake, my
     soul, stretch every nerve,' etc. Have been interested during the
     vacation in looking over Gannett's 'Childhood of Jesus' and
     Carpenter's 'Palestine when Jesus lived.' Also bought 'Selections
     from the Apocrypha,' compiled by Mrs. Tileston, who compiled 'Daily
     Strength.' Readings from the Apocrypha are so common in Unitarian
     pulpits now, that it is well to be familiar with the best portions.
     Am not able to do much reading now. Am physically too weak. Never
     was able to use my brain to its full extent,--feeble and nervous
     all my life, but active otherwise."

Miss Ellis's last letter to him was written but little more than a month
before her death, when in the utmost weakness herself; but to this she
makes no allusion. It was a letter of consolation in bereavement, from
which this is an extract:--

                                            NOVEMBER 18, 1885.

     ... The only way to reconcile ourselves to our sorrows is to think
     of those who are worse off than ourselves. It makes us less
     inclined to murmur in our own sadness. It is good for us to bear
     the cross. If things were always as we would have them, many
     virtues would never be developed. There are so many comforting
     pieces in "Sunshine in the Soul." Some I marked for a former
     correspondent. Mr. Thayer read for his Scripture lesson last
     Sunday, Job. iv. 5; and v. 6-11; 17 to end. I have no doubt your
     sister knows many comforting passages; but the real comfort is
     found in keeping ourselves busy for others, while at the same time
     we lean and trust in God to give us peace of soul. We find it in
     time as we go on patiently doing the duty just before us, and
     loving the blessings which remain to us.

One of Miss Ellis's last thoughts was for this correspondent. When
hardly able to speak, she requested a special "Register" sent to him. It
was sent, and a postal card informing him of her condition. He

                                              DECEMBER 25, 1885.

     Your card came to me this morning. I am shocked at its sad message.
     I was not in the least prepared for it. It seems to hold out no
     hope. Though I have never seen Miss Ellis, she has been to me for
     over three years a close friend. And now I must lose her
     friendship, and her kind encouraging letters! But I am not
     intending to complain of loss, but rather to be thankful for the
     help I have received from her. I shall now have another motive to
     work on, to be more faithful in life. That motive shall be the
     memory of Miss Ellis's self-sacrificing life. I have a large
     package of her letters which will be more valued now than ever
     before. I do trust her work will go on; it ought to certainly. If I
     can help I will gladly do so.

Later, he wrote in reply to a letter announcing her death:--

                                                   JANUARY 1, 1886.

     I was very glad to hear a little of our dear friend who spends this
     happy New Year's Day freed from all ills of the body. I can hardly
     realize that she is gone. She never gave me a hint that she was
     seriously ill, but always spoke cheerfully. It is such a short time
     ago that I wrote to her as usual, not having the remotest thought
     that she would never answer my letter. Her last letters to me are
     dated Nov. 6 and 18, and, singularly enough, are almost entirely
     taken up with remarks upon death and affliction. Not a word of
     herself, however....

     Miss Ellis wrote me two letters full of kindness and sympathy, and
     sending cheering words to my sister; for she wrote, "Though I don't
     know her, I feel deeply for her." It really is hardly possible to
     estimate the influence, both direct and indirect, which Miss Ellis
     has had upon my life. It is a very long story, this of my inquiries
     in religious matters. I have always looked forward to the day when
     I should see our friend and speak to her of it, and make some
     expression of my gratitude to her. But it is not to be,--not in
     this life, at least. Hereafter her letters shall be a source of
     constant encouragement to me. I have them all, and glad I am of it,
     for through them she will yet speak to me. I often wished to have a
     photograph of her, and I am very sorry now that I too long
     hesitated to take the first step in making a mutual exchange. Often
     when weary through the day's work I have been cheered by her kind
     letters. But this is only one limited instance of her influence.
     For years I went to my daily work sad and heavy of heart because
     life was aimless, almost dead. By the printed page Miss Ellis
     showed me God,--God living, working, right here now, daily
     surrounding me and all men. And lo! life has an aim, is full of
     beauty and goodness and joy.... All this I owe to her.

In response to a request for letters, he wrote:

                                                 FEBRUARY 14, 1886.

     In your card you speak of a book. I hope the pamphlet will grow
     into a book. I was delighted to hear that it will contain a
     portrait, for that will be just what I wish for. The letters I
     sent, I had to just pick out hurriedly, as I had very little time.
     If I had had more time, I might have made a better selection. I
     will vouch for their quality, however. I have post cards
     innumerable from her. Then again, once, when I was having a sore
     mental struggle over the philosophy of prayer, in answer to my
     inquiries Miss Ellis wrote out for me the greater part of Mr.
     Chadwick's sermon on "Prayer," in his "Faith of Reason." This I
     mention as one out of many instances of such work. She never tired
     of trying to aid me. I sent you the last letter I received from
     her, never having a thought, at the time I received it, of its
     being the _last_ one. Perhaps Miss Ellis is aware of all this
     afterglow, as you so well call it. I hope so. I believe so. How it
     must gratify her to know what she accomplished!

     In looking over these letters I am very forcibly reminded of the
     last few years.... As you may suppose, Miss Ellis is much in my
     thoughts. I looked forward to meeting her some day, and making
     grateful acknowledgment of her influence for good on me. I would
     not hide from you that I often regret that it is not to be so. But
     every other thought is swallowed up in gratitude for her life and
     for our meeting together.

The following is Miss Ellis's first letter from a farmer's wife a dozen
miles out of Cincinnati, who has this winter become a member of the
Women's Auxiliary Conference, and wishes, with her daughter, to join the

     "I have frequently seen the item in the Sunday's paper offering
     Unitarian reading to those who wish it, and have as often
     determined to avail myself of the opportunity, but have so far
     neglected it. I will say that I have been for a long time somewhat
     of a Unitarian, without being sufficiently informed in the belief
     openly to declare myself one. I would ask you to teach me from the
     beginning the doctrines, so that I can understand and feel a safety
     in embracing them. I have a daughter who will avail herself with me
     of your kind offer. You are to be our teacher in the matter of
     selecting the reading, and I will gladly pay postage on all books

As such teacher Miss Ellis acted ever after. She wrote in reply, Jan. 1,

     Was very glad to receive your letter to-day, and hope I may prove a
     successful "teacher." Have always been a Unitarian, as my father
     was among the first subscribers to the church, when it was
     established in 1830.... Have sent you by this same mail three
     tracts pertaining to our doctrines. Shall be glad to give you and
     your daughter a weekly Sunday-school lesson for several weeks.
     Began with statements of doctrine and Channing's famous Discourse.
     On the list sent have numbered other tracts in the order in which I
     shall send them,--leading you from Channing to Brigham and J. F.
     Clarke, showing an advance in thought up to Mr. Wendte's tract,
     "What Do Unitarians Believe?" which represents Unitarianism as held
     by the _young_ men of the present time; and after you read these
     tracts, if you wish more doctrine, will mention some books we can
     loan you by mail. With the tracts will also send the "Christian
     Register," where you will see our principles carried out. It is a
     very interesting, able paper. Perhaps after you have examined a
     few copies you may like to become a subscriber to it. I usually
     spend Mondays mailing papers to our correspondents, though they do
     not all get off till about Wednesday. They will be in time for a
     Sunday lesson, however, and I hope you may find some neighbors to
     join you in your study. Hoping this is a beginning of another good
     work for us, and to hear from you further,

                          Respectfully yours,               SARAH ELLIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                       JANUARY 26, 1884.

     This leads me to your question, "What do you do with the Immaculate
     Conception? Why was that way employed to compel people to accept
     the divinity of Christ?" Ask as many questions as you please, and I
     will answer them in letter, or send some sermon or tract to throw
     light on the subject to you. Monday, will mail to you "The
     Incarnation," by Rev. J. W. Chadwick, wherein you will see that
     many of the doctrines of the early times were invented by the men
     of the day to suit some purpose of their own. Will shortly send you
     a lesson paper by Rev. William C. Gannett, of St. Paul, Minn., on
     "The Christmas Story and the Christmas Fact." These stories or
     "legends" concerning Jesus were written some time after his death.
     "Bible for Learners" says--[Here is copied a long extract.] I have
     said enough to let you know that we do not accept these "legends"
     as literal truth; and you will understand, from "The Incarnation,"
     that Jesus was not miraculously born any more than we all are.
     Jesus never claimed it for himself, as you will find as you read
     what I send you from time to time. It was a doctrine created by the
     Church to suit later days. I was glad to have you speak freely of
     yourself, and hope that we may make religion, the Bible, and Jesus,
     natural, simple, true, and beautiful to you and your
     daughter,--something that you can take hold of and live out in your
     daily lives, and be thankful that you _live_. Hoping that you may
     have further questions to ask, and wish to borrow books on subjects
     of interest to you,

                               Very truly your friend,      S. ELLIS.

     There is a book that will throw much light on your question
     concerning the early view of Christ, "Orthodoxy and Heresy," by
     Rev. E. H. Hall. We have it to loan.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                     MARCH 13, 1884.

     It is with pleasure I sit down to reply to your last letter, and it
     has only been from total inability that you have had to wait so
     long. I wanted to sit down immediately to send you a few
     sympathetic words, for your life must have been very similar to my
     own. The best comfort for us is, to say to ourselves, Are not many,
     _many_ others carrying the same burdens, disappointments, and toils
     as we? How do they bear them, and where do they get their patience
     and strength from? Only from studying the words and lives of those
     who have had similar trials to bear; and no one bore the cross
     better than He to whom the whole world has looked as a guide.
     Therefore though you fall and fail often, be not in despair. All
     you need is some one to speak with you who sympathizes with you;
     and though they may not lighten your burden or change your
     circumstances, they will lighten your heart and make the whole
     world seem different to you, and full of work to be done, that will
     take your thoughts out from beyond your own home, and yet at the
     same time only make that all the more precious to you and just the
     place you ought to be in. Am not fond of the country myself. Have
     always lived in the city, and prefer to be surrounded by people and
     life rather than trees and quiet of the country; still, I love to
     visit in the country for a short time.... You ask how you can best
     prepare yourself to become a member of our church. I sent you the
     church programme, and Mr. Thayer says there, "Those who present
     themselves in an earnest spirit,"--an earnest spirit to do all the
     good you can, in every way, at home and to the world. It is
     _character_, and _not_ belief, which makes the true Christian. And
     if our conscience is right before God, let man say what he will; if
     we are only sure ourselves we are doing our best according to our
     circumstances and our health; if our motives are pure and our
     conscience clear,--we shall feel a pleasure in joining in a
     Communion service, though one can be a member of our church if not
     a communicant. There are several books I wish to recommend to you.
     The first is a great help to inward strength, and is a gem of a
     book, "Day unto Day," which consists of a passage or two from the
     Scriptures, a selection from poetry, and one from writers, for
     every day in the year.... The whole book is full of selections
     which fit the needs of every day. I have two copies, and will loan
     you one copy with passages I have marked as read, and which has
     benefited several of my correspondents.... Another great help to a
     good life is Merriam's "Way of Life." "Theodore Parker's Prayers" I
     can loan you too. Since I wrote you, have had presented to our
     library Sunderland's "What is the Bible?" shorter than "Bible for
     Learners," and on the whole better to read first. I subscribed for
     the Sunday-school lessons on "The Life of Jesus," so any time you
     are welcome to it. You will understand from what I have written,
     that to strengthen the inner man is a good preparation for anything
     and anywhere; and you will find a great deal among our books, and
     in our papers, and in our religion, to help you and make life a
     blessing, though under unfavorable circumstances, and enable you to
     have the spirit and faith _of_ Jesus, if not so much _in_ Jesus,
     which the Orthodox make most emphatic.

The following letter was written June 27, 1885. The unusual allusions to
her own health are evidently in sympathy with the correspondent, who had
written of ill health and heavy burdens to bear.

     "I have been most useless since the middle of February; but, weak
     as I am, I have insisted on staying out of bed, waiting on myself,
     and keeping my room in order, even to sweeping it, and keeping up
     my missionary work slowly. I do dislike to be nursed and a care to
     people. Sometimes it seems impossible for me to get dressed for my
     breakfast, and it takes me about one hour and a quarter, I am so
     weak. Last Sunday I could not get to church; but I spent the day in
     resting,--spiritual rest. I had a service at home,--the responsive
     service, the three hymns, the Scripture lesson, and read one of J.
     F. Clarke's sermons, which I sent to another who needed consoling.
     There is a favorite hymn of mine, which I will write out for you.
     We often sing it for an opening hymn. [The hymn "Daily
     Consecration," by Caroline Mason, is here copied in full.] Excuse
     the mistakes, for I have written it from memory. Work on, dear
     friend, just where you are, and feel that there you are casting
     silent deeds of love which no one knows but the good Father above,
     but that they are none the less earnest work in his service....
     Every other Saturday A. M. I go to the church to do up papers for
     the Workhouse. Was there _this_ morning. Take heart, good friend,
     and feel that nothing you do is lost, and that sometime your labor
     will be appreciated. I must not write longer, for I want to attend
     church to-morrow. They miss me when I am not at my post."

Another letter of this summer reads:--

     MY DEAR FRIEND,--Your letter was duly received, and I wanted to
     answer it immediately, but have been too weak to write _comforting_

    Am so sorry to hear you are still sick, and wish I could help you.
    Am still more sorry to hear you are "dreading" the summer; but I do
    not wonder at it, for on a farm the labor required by the women in
    the house must be incessant.... I cannot take the burden off your
    shoulders; but perhaps a word of sympathy from another, and
    something from her experience, may enable you to face the
    difficulties.... My experience has been that when anticipating a
    hard time, if I only accept it, and make up my mind that it _has_ to
    be my part, half the burden is taken off, if I determine to go
    through with it all, giving myself up to that work and thinking of
    nothing beyond in the mean time. Take all the rest I can get,
    instead of trying to do something else too. Rest will do you more
    good than company or books, when you are so used up with real hard
    work. Women all try to attend to too much outside of their
    households, for the sake of company and variety; do you not think
    so? Now, just take things as quietly as you can this summer, and
    feel that in your home duties you have more than you can do, and
    look forward to the time when summer will be over and you will have
    less care.

After her death, the lady wrote:--

     "I sent my letter to her home by a messenger who reported that he
     understood at the door, as he handed it to the person who answered
     the bell, that Miss Ellis was dead. I hoped that he was mistaken,
     but your letter confirmed it. I knew she was very feeble. She
     wrote me some two weeks before Christmas, saying she was very weak;
     but I did not think for one moment that she was in danger, or I
     would have hurried to see her. I shall miss her greatly, and her
     dear letters to me, which I prized so highly; and you, who saw more
     of her than I could possibly, will feel her loss greatly. I believe
     there are few persons capable of entering so entirely into sympathy
     with others who needed it as she was, and of giving such
     consolation; at least, it has not been my good fortune to meet many
     such. I will be glad to receive the memorial of which you speak. I
     shall be very glad if your minister would write me on the subject
     of joining the church, as I was depending on Miss Ellis to guide me
     in the matter, which she was ready to do one year or more ago."

In 1884 Miss Ellis received the following letter from a young man, Mr.
A. J. Beach, who had been one of her discouragements, because, after
some correspondence, she had ceased to hear from him. Mr. Beach was
usher in the State Penitentiary at Joliet, Ill.

     "More than a year ago I wrote to thank you for papers which you had
     kindly sent me. In answer, you sent me a very kind letter, and
     named several books which I might read with profit. I procured a
     number of Rev. James Freeman Clarke's works, which I read
     carefully, and from which I gathered much of great value. I also
     subscribed to two of the papers you named, to which I have become
     so much attached that I could not possibly do without them.... Your
     letter led me to a course of reading and investigation that has
     proved a sun-burst to me. I have been in darkness. I am out of it
     now. I am connected with the State Prison (as usher), not the
     pleasantest position in the world; but I have tried to show many of
     the poor convicts the better way of life, and to cheer them by kind
     words and a showing of real interest in their unfortunate
     condition, and I believe I have succeeded in making lighter many a
     poor friendless fellow's load...."

The following extracts are from others of his letters:--

     "I have read the sermons, and have handed them to a very
     intelligent prisoner, who has become greatly interested in
     Unitarian teachings, and requested him to pass the documents to
     others, after reading them. He will do so, and will see that they
     are kept moving. I am glad you are taking so much interest in our
     prison. There is much need of genuine kindness here, and it cannot
     be better shown than in a true and apparent desire to raise the
     unfortunates to a higher plane of thought and action. These men and
     women are in a sense left to themselves. They are not permitted to
     talk to each other. They pass long hours in their cells either
     reading or thinking. Is it not the very time to get them started
     thinking in the right direction? You say, We shall write to the
     Secretary of the Women's Auxiliary Conference in Boston, ... and
     interest them in the Joliet prison. This is good news. The Post
     Office Mission is truly a grand mission, and is doing more good
     than you may think of."

The next letter says:--

     "The papers and tracts you have been kind enough to send me have
     been given to prisoners, and they have been passed from hand to
     hand until literally worn out. There are a great many very
     intelligent men among the fifteen hundred and fifty convicts now in
     our prison, and they (or many of them, at least) are very glad to
     get such papers and tracts as you have sent me; and I am only too
     glad to place such reading matter in their hands. You asked if old
     'Registers' and 'Unities' would do any good. They would be
     thankfully received by many of the unfortunate men, and would be
     carefully read by them. Reading is one of the very few privileges
     granted convicts.... I to-day received from Mrs. Thacher, of
     Boston, a bill of lading for two barrels of papers and magazines
     shipped for distribution among prisoners; also a kind and very
     interesting letter from Mrs. Thacher,--for all of which I am
     indebted to you. I am glad, indeed, Unitarian people understand
     that convicts want and appreciate something more in reading matter
     than chilling tracts. We are constantly receiving for distribution
     the strongest kind of Orthodoxy, but the prisoners do not seem to
     take kindly to it.... An old colored man, who was sent here eleven
     years ago under life sentence, said to me yesterday, 'I tell yo',
     sah, it seems mighty ha'd to sarve in hell all yo' life in dis
     place, an' den have to take it for sartin' su'ah in de nex' worl'.'
     He seemed to think that a sentence to the penitentiary was merely
     carrying out a part of the divine plan; in other words, he was
     foreordained to eternal suffering, and has got eleven years on his
     way.... We found the books and papers to be all that could be
     desired, and have taken great pleasure in distributing them....
     Could you have heard the genuine thankfulness expressed by the
     unfortunate prisoners as I passed along the galleries distributing
     the reading matter, you surely would have felt amply repaid for
     interesting yourself in them.... Many said, 'God bless the ladies
     who thought of us!' with an earnestness and sincerity which
     indicated clearly to me that they felt and appreciated the kindness
     and the motives of the donors. My experience among convicts has
     convinced me that kindness shown toward them is never wasted. There
     are in this prison several noted criminals,--men who have the
     reputation of being brutal desperadoes,--with whom I have
     frequently talked, and have invariably found to be easily touched
     by a kind word and act."

Last June Mr. Beach dropped dead in a Chicago depot while on his way
home. It seems proper to copy here portions of a letter written to his
family by the chaplain of the prison.

                                                      JUNE 30, 1885.

     ... As we roomed together, I was with him more than any one else;
     and when not otherwise engaged, we read and talked together.... We
     were very frank with each other, and last Sabbath eve we had a long
     talk on religion. The reaction from a Calvinistic faith had
     evidently left him somewhat adrift. We talked of the cramping of
     creeds on the one hand, and the tendency on the other hand of
     (so-called) Liberal views to produce loose morals, etc. He dwelt on
     the fact that the perceptions of the mind were so much in advance
     of the inclinations of the heart, that men knew better than they
     did; adding, "Oh, I have often come so near to the wonderful
     process by which bad men are made good!" I reminded him that Paul
     said, "It is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy
     heart,"--dwelling at length on the whole argument in Romans x. 6 to
     13 inclusive. I remarked that my habit of urging these views
     earnestly for forty-four years might have become obtrusive; but he
     answered: "No; if these things are worth anything, they are worth
     everything. If duty here affects destiny there, these are matters
     of primary and not secondary consideration." Little did I think
     then that in twelve brief hours he would know their reality better
     than I possibly could. In saying good-by [the chaplain adds], he
     said he would write soon, was glad he had ever known me, but feared
     he _would not see me again_; then walked off feebly but cheerfully
     with ----, who carried his satchel, and to whom he was much
     attached--though a colored convict, yet much of a man. At 7:30 A.
     M. he went with Mr. L----, our purchasing agent, with whom he
     talked freely _en route_ to Chicago, who carried his satchel,
     helped him up the stairs in the depot, and at whose feet he
     suddenly dropped dead. A physician was called at once, but
     paralysis of the heart had stopped the wheel of life.... The boys
     here loved him _much_. B----, a special friend, gave him a pretty
     onyx cross for his little niece. I think he put it in his pocket.
     Some Boston ladies sent him several boxes of pamphlets and books
     for the library, advising him to keep certain volumes himself, and
     I hoped he had written his name in them or set them aside; yet
     C---- (colored) and T. J. D----, who aided him in the library (and
     mourn him as a brother) think he read the volumes they recommended,
     but made no further claim on them. Some prison employees, like some
     physicians, find their sympathies decrease by constant use. _He_
     was not so; for there was not a drop of tyranny or despotism in his
     blood, and any one who used power simply to oppress another was
     beneath his contempt. He could consistently say to the Recording
     Angel, "Mark me as one who loves my fellow-men." Oh! had I known
     all he probably meant when he said so tenderly at parting, "I fear
     we will not meet again," I would have followed out the impulse of
     my heart, clasped him in my arms, and then have said (as I did),
     "Yes, we will meet in heaven!"

The following extracts are from Miss Ellis's letters to Beach:--

                                               DECEMBER 23, 1884.

     Your letter was received last Saturday afternoon, and was quite
     encouraging to us, for we may do some good work in the prison with
     one who feels interested with us. Your letter was particularly
     welcome, as the same morning came a letter from Mrs. J. I. W.
     Thacher, Secretary of the Women's Auxiliary Conference of Boston,
     who responded promptly and satisfactorily to my letter, though she
     was sick in bed. After the hurry of Christmas is over, they will
     send you two barrels of literature,--"Registers," "Harpers,"
     "Centuries," "Atlantics," and some few other materials. I feel as
     if this will be "good news" to you. Yes; it is a good time to turn
     the minds of the men, women, and boys in the right direction. "A
     little kindness" and good advice may help some of the poor
     creatures to a better life. Think Orthodoxy takes a wrong
     starting-point in teaching one that he is "totally depraved," and
     that he must wait for a sudden conversion in order to become good.
     I feel as if Unitarianism is the better way, upholding that we are
     "not totally depraved, but incompletely developed," and that our
     salvation depends greatly upon individual responsibility. That we
     have it within ourselves to become what God intended we should be,
     and what was possible with Jesus is with us,--that we may become
     "sons of God" as he was. We are not to "shift the responsibility
     off on to some one else," as M. J. Savage says. These poor
     creatures must be taught that the sin is greatly on their own
     shoulders, and they are capable of overcoming if they only will.
     Mr. Savage's closing sentence is fine,--"Not to do wrong, one must
     develop in himself the ability of magnificent self-control!" That
     is the starting-point of many of life's failures,--lack of
     self-control. Teach these poor creatures that lesson, and some
     trade by which they can support themselves when they leave the
     prison. You wrote us word you subscribed to two of our papers. I
     take it for granted they are the "Register" and "Unity." If so,
     will call your attention to a review of a book on "Prison Reform,"
     in "Unity," Dec. 16, 1884. I sent you yesterday a tract, "Unitarian
     Belief in Bible Language," marking several passages which I thought
     might rouse some of the poor men and women and _boys_ (it is the
     _young_ we must work on, and see to it that we are making better
     men and women for the future) to a truer view of what sin is; also,
     "Wrestling and Blessing," by Rev. William C. Gannett. His first
     section, on "Inherited Burden," is capital, showing that in spite
     of it we may come off "conquerors." The whole of the tract is
     good.... Hoping we may continue to aid you in the prison work, and
     with the good wishes of the season from the Women's Auxiliary
     Conference to you and all prison-workers and inmates,

                    Cordially yours,                       S. ELLIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                               FEBRUARY 5, 1885.

     If we can only make men feel their bodies are temples of the Holy
     Spirit, which they have of God, and that they are not their own,
     and that in sinning they disgrace this holy temple, it seems to me
     that there would be less crime in the world. It is the divine in
     their own souls they defile. There has been a tract of Unitarian
     hymns published. I will send you a copy next week, hoping that some
     of our beautiful hymns may cheer the poor benighted prisoners.... I
     have had people say to me, "The Unitarian faith does very well to
     live by daily; but when you are in trouble, or your friends die, if
     you do not believe in the Trinity, what have you to comfort you?"
     My reply is, "We have God, from whom Jesus received _his_ strength.
     We have the faith _of_ Jesus, and not so much faith _in_ Jesus. We
     can trust _God_ to help us in our hour of need; and if we have
     sinned we know _He_ is ready and willing to pardon us. We know that
     to live truly in this life will secure us happiness in the world to
     come; and that while we are here there is time to repent and do
     good, and we would not wish to feel that it was necessary for a
     perfect being to die to spare us from our sins. We had rather
     suffer on, if we have done the wrong, than see some one else suffer
     for us."

On receiving the news of Mr. Beach's sudden death in July, 1885, Miss
Ellis wrote to his sister:

     "... I was much shocked and very sorry to hear the news your
     letter, which was received this morning, contained, but was much
     obliged to you for speaking so plainly of your dear brother, for I
     was much interested in him. Not only I, but _all_ of our little
     Women's Auxiliary Conference, and also the ladies of the Auxiliary
     Conference in Boston. He was a noble fellow, and doing much good
     there in the Joliet prison. I hope to transfer my esteem and
     respect for him to his family in remembrance of him. How little it
     ever occurred to me, when I wrote the letter to him on the 20th,
     that the dear fellow was safe in his heavenly home. I am sure he
     deserved a high place with the dear ones above, in whatever faith
     he died. He used to write us such good, interesting letters, both
     here and to Boston. We were always glad to get them.... I never
     have known to what church he and his family belong, but have
     imagined the Presbyterian.... What church do you attend, and how
     old was Andrew? I am old enough to be his mother, I suspect, and
     looked upon him and some few other of my correspondents as 'my
     boys,' as one of my converts styles himself. My hope was that
     Andrew would study for the ministry some day.... I know what sorrow
     is, but must say yours is one of the most trying ordeals to pass
     through,--an only son, and such a noble one, to die among
     strangers. My heart aches sorely for you, and I do not wonder it
     seems like a 'dream' to you. We do not know and cannot tell why our
     dear ones are taken. We can only trust in God's love to lighten the
     burden for us after a time, and accept our present trial. The
     spirit of the dear ones will help us to be kinder and more loving
     to those who are left with us; and gradually a change comes over
     us, and as days roll on we find our lives are very different from
     what they were before,--purer and holier, and we have been drawn
     nearer heaven and been with our dear one all the time. I will copy
     a beautiful poem of Whittier's, 'The Angel of Patience,' at the
     close of this letter. 'Our earthly loss is our heavenly gain.' ...
     Bear as bravely as you can, and the good Father will send peace to
     your souls as the years roll on. 'We must through much tribulation
     enter the kingdom of heaven.' We shall be glad to send papers to
     _you_ now. I think in the 'Register' you will find many things to
     comfort you often; and from time to time I will select something
     especial for you. Let me know, please, by postal, if you prefer not
     to have them. Shall be very glad to hear from you any time."

This letter led to a correspondence continued until Miss Ellis's death,
and to the sending of much literature to the family. Further extracts
from this correspondence follow:--

                                             AUGUST 16, 1885.

    ... I do not wonder you miss the dear brother, and feel grieved that
    you may not see him again. I do not believe the good Father in
    heaven is angry if we murmur some. He cannot be so harsh as to have
    us cultivate family affections and friendships on earth and not have
    any loving feelings left. No! It is right to mourn, but yet "not
    without hope." One of the most beautiful sermons I ever heard, and
    the most comforting, was one from our pastor, Rev. C. W. Wendte, on
    "The Dark Hours of Life, and what they bring us."

Here she copies the closing passages of the sermon, and also four pages
of poems,--"The Heart Prayer," by J. N. Spriggs; "I am so Weak," Jennie
E. McCaine, both from "Unity Songs Resung;" "My Dead," by Rev. F. L.
Hosmer; and selections from "Scriptures Old and New." So little did she
spare the feeble remains of her strength in these last months. Sept. 27,
1885, she wrote:--

     "... Not that I have so much to do, but this changeable weather has
     unfitted me for work, and I have a good deal of extra work lately,
     that has exercised my brain considerably and required _long_
     letters. I was put on a committee of three at the St. Louis
     Conference last May, for drawing up systematic Post Office Mission
     methods. Rev. Arthur Judy, of Davenport, Iowa, is the chairman. He
     has planned a circular letter and a book of records. It has taken
     much of my time to read the long letters and give my opinion of
     them.... We have to work very differently in this region....
     However, in time we shall have more than one enlightened family in
     a place. The way to overcome is to lend our papers, tracts, books,
     etc., that the people may see we are Christians after all. We do
     not want to convert them so much, but to make more sincere
     Christians of them, and happier people in this world; and by
     degrees they throw aside their old dogmas without knowing it. We do
     have so many comforting books; so many good Sunday-school lessons
     adapted to grown people even; devotional books, too, with
     selections which fit each day; and also so many books containing a
     true account of Unitarianism and of the Bible, that I feel every
     one ought to read them, and own many; but of course they cannot....
     I want to lend you a little daily book I have,--'Day unto Day.' It
     is in rather a dilapidated state, because I have sent it by mail to
     a number of persons. I have two copies, but both birthday presents,
     and I do not like to part with either. The pencil-marks in it are
     mine, as they have impressed me day by day. You may retain it three
     or four months if you wish."

The sister wrote in reply:--

                                                   OCTOBER 27,1886.

    I wish to thank you especially for the loan of your book, "Day unto
    Day." It was very kind in you, and I have found it to be a perfect
    mine of beautiful gems of truth and wisdom, and "day unto day" it
    can furnish comforting thought for all occasions.

    I was very much interested in your statement of your work as a
    member of the committee you mentioned. Certainly, such an amount of
    such elevating literature distributed so extensively must result in
    much good. The literature that I receive from you we endeavor to
    make the very best use of,--by first "thoroly" reading in our own
    family, and then lending to those among our neighbors and friends
    who will be most likely to give their attention to it. On one or
    two occasions we have invited in, on Sunday afternoons, some of our
    neighbors, and made them occasions for reading to them an especially
    good sermon or article, hoping to awaken sufficient interest to
    perhaps have frequent readings and talks. In our village there are
    two churches only,--the Disciples and Presbyterian.

The date of Miss Ellis's last letter to this correspondent shows it to
have been written less than a month before her death:--

                                           November 30, 1885.

    Your letter was very welcome, and I intended replying sooner; but
    for the last three weeks have been very miserable, though up, out,
    and at work all the time, accomplishing little, however. We were so
    glad to hear you were occasionally having Sunday readings and doing
    the good you can. To-day I have mailed to you "Songs of Faith, Hope,
    and Charity," and the last Church Door Pulpit "Channing," selected
    by Mr. Gannett, whose father, Ezra S. Gannett, was Dr. Channing's
    colleague for many years. It is an admirable compilation, and I wish
    it were in small book form, for it would make a very beautiful
    little Christmas gift. Even in this form I shall use it for such a
    purpose. There are three books I would call your and your friends'
    attention to as little gifts of value at this season; namely, "Daily
    Strength for Daily Needs;" "The Thought of God in Hymns and Poems,"
    by Rev. F. L. Hosmer and Rev. William C. Gannett, just published;
    then there is a pleasant story-book for boys or girls published last
    year, "The Browns." ... All this may be quite contrary to your
    feelings this year, and I presume you cannot enter into Thanksgiving
    and Christmas with the real spirit of former days. But not as you
    see the "golden lining" to all things can you give way to gloom.
    There is always _something_ to be grateful for. How much worse
    _might_ have happened to us. Then, too, we can feel thankful that we
    had our treasures so long, and that they were such a pleasure to us.
    Thanksgiving naturally makes us ask, "What have I to be thankful
    for?" and makes us somewhat sad; but at Christmas we lay aside all
    thought of self, and think of Him who was all unselfishness; and in
    this thought we try to forget our sorrows in order to send gladness
    thrilling through some other human soul, and thus forget our loss
    for that day at least, though tears may come involuntarily. Hope the
    Thanksgiving was as pleasant as it could be; that there was a
    reunion of those of you who are still living, and that the spirit of
    the dear one only drew you all together in stronger bonds of love.
    We--father, mother, and myself--were invited to dine with my
    brother----, there to meet my dear sister's husband and five
    motherless children. It is the one pleasure to us to pass these
    anniversaries together, and to feel all our dear ones are with us in
    spirit, bidding us to be of "good cheer," for they are not dead, but
    with their love for us would guide us on to better things than
    _they_ ever knew or could accomplish. All is well with them now, and
    they look down smilingly upon our feeblest efforts to do the right
    and be cheery.

The sister wrote, Feb. 7, 1886:--

     "... We were very much shocked when we heard of the death of Miss
     Ellis. We had known that she was an invalid, yet, judging from her
     letters, we had no idea of the great weakness she must have endured
     physically in writing to her correspondents up to so recent a date.
     Her letters to us in our great bereavement were so full of tender
     sympathy with us, and were so comforting, we feel that we have
     sustained a great loss, even though we had never seen her.... It
     will be a pleasure to us to forward to you any letters of Miss
     Ellis either to my brother or myself that will aid you in the
     publication of a book ... that will extend and perpetuate the
     influence of so useful and good a life."

Mrs. J. I. W. Thacher wrote:--

                                              FEBRUARY 17, 1886.

    You will be glad to know that we have had very grateful letters from
    the several stations in Kentucky to which we have sent barrels of
    magazines and papers. To Eddyville and Greenwood we have sent twice;
    and Dr. R----(at the latter place) still says, "Send more whenever
    it is convenient;" so that we feel that the very miscellaneous
    collections have been really appreciated and enjoyed. In each barrel
    we sent large numbers of "Registers" and some good tracts, and then
    filled in with miscellaneous magazines,--chiefly the illustrated
    ones. This is hardly Post Office Mission work, but I don't doubt it
    accomplishes much good, and I am always grateful to you and Miss
    Ellis for suggesting it to us.... Do you continue to be in
    communication with the Joliet Penitentiary, and is any one keeping
    on with Mr. Beach's work for the prisoners? It is a constant help
    and inspiration,--the thought of Miss Ellis's devotion to her work
    and her faithfulness to the end!

A young Englishman in Frankfort, Ky., wrote Mrs. Hunert, in answer to
her card of inquiry:

     "I do take the 'Register,' 'Unity,' and 'Unitarian;' I am almost
     entirely dependent upon what I read here, as I can hear no Liberal
     preaching, and meet with very few who have sympathy with Liberal
     religious views. I did get the memorial of Miss Ellis, and will
     prize it much, as I was better acquainted with her than any one
     connected with the church at Cincinnati, and looked upon her as one
     of my best friends, and a very noble lady. The day on which I
     received your postal, I met the chaplain of the penitentiary here,
     and he told me how much the Unitarian literature that was sent from
     the East was liked by him; that it was all distributed, and enjoyed
     very much by the inmates of the prison. If I had another copy or
     two of Miss Ellis's memorial, I would give one to the chaplain, and
     another gentleman,--about the only Unitarian I know here."

The following correspondence is with a workingman in Northern Ohio,--a
young Englishman, whose letters tell his story. He once rose at four
o'clock to write Miss Ellis before going to his daily work. One of his
first letters to her said:--

                                                MARCH 16, 1885.

    Now, that you may know in what walk of life I move, I must tell you
    that I am a laborer. When working by the month, my wages never
    exceeded twelve dollars a month. From such small wages I have built
    up a small library of 155 volumes; have also 156 pamphlets. I take
    unceasing delight in reading, and now that I have others dependent
    on me, am not able to procure all the books I need. By some I have
    been encouraged to prepare for the ministry. Such also is my
    aspiration. It may be years before I shall become a minister,
    because my preparation is not to be accomplished very quickly. Oh,
    how I wish that some one from their abundance would forward me some
    of the books and pamphlets they have cast aside, having no further
    use for! They would be of great use to me. What are the
    qualifications necessary for the Unitarian ministry? Will you please
    tell me? If possible for you to do so, please send me a few more
    sermons by Rev. G. A. Thayer, and I shall be greatly obliged.

Miss Ellis forwarded this letter to Miss M. O. Rogers, Secretary of the
King's Chapel branch of the Women's Auxiliary Conference, Boston,
Mass., who had written, offering aid in her work. As a result, the
King's Chapel Women's Auxiliary Conference sent this young man many
Unitarian books of value, and the "Unitarian Review" regularly, for
which his gratitude was great. He loans and distributes all matter sent
him, and has procured many tracts from the American Unitarian
Association for distribution. A portion of Miss Ellis's reply to the
letter given above is as follows:--

                                                     MARCH 18,1885.

    Your letter was read with much interest, and we are glad to know our
    "little society has done good work."... Don't be discouraged if you
    cannot convert the world at once, but wait quietly till your time
    comes to do more. You are young yet. Think I can spare a few more of
    Mr. Thayer's sermons. He has only had four sermons on "Reasonable
    Religion" published.... Will send you the Meadville catalogue next
    week, and you can see for yourself, and afterwards write to
    President A. A. Livermore, telling him I sent you the catalogue. He
    can give you all further information. He was the pastor in
    Cincinnati from the time I was fourteen to twenty-one, and knows us
    well.... Hope to hear further from you occasionally. Work on
    quietly, knowing the discipline will the better fit you for
    ministerial labors. We can't jump into the highest calling on earth
    in a moment, and now-a-days a man must be something of more than
    ordinary ability to enter a Unitarian pulpit. It is not an easy
    place to fill.

He wrote to her, June 14, 1885:--

     "Believe me, I am sorry to hear that you were 'too sick to more
     than keep up' with your work. I know you must be busy at all times,
     from the report of your work in the Conference 'Unity' you sent me.
     That number of 'Unity' is very valuable to me, and will be kept for
     future reference. The four sermons on 'Reasonable Religion,' by
     Rev. George A. Thayer, have also been kept. I hope soon to see them
     in a neat binding. They are worthy of the expense. Of the books
     received from Boston, four have been read by me. Two of them were
     mostly read as I walked to my work mornings. In the same manner
     'Meditations on the Essence of Christianity' was read. This book is
     very beautiful, its author, Robert Laird Collier. 'Channing's
     Works' and 'Genuineness of the Gospels' cannot be carried about as
     readily, so they are to be read and studied on lost days, when I
     cannot work. The 'Reviews' received are very valuable; I would not
     part with them for anything. The 'Register' is received regularly
     from Philadelphia. The last one is very interesting, containing as
     it does an account of the Festival. It must have been good to be
     there. To you, and all who have aided you in your generosity to me,
     I return my heartfelt thanks."

After Miss Ellis's death, he wrote, Feb. 13, 1886:--

     "... With this I send you the whole of her correspondence to me,
     hoping that you may find something that will be of use to you. I
     cheerfully send you the letter and postals, knowing that my
     treasures will be in safe keeping. Since Miss Ellis's death they
     are doubly precious to me; I prize them very highly, because she
     who wrote them proved herself to be a very dear friend to me,--a
     laborer longing for more light. Whilst I live I shall never forget
     how much I owe to her who labored so much in my behalf. It was the
     one wish of my heart to have met Miss Ellis, and to have thanked
     her for all that she had done for me; but it was to be otherwise.
     When I meet her in the country of 'many mansions,' I shall have the
     opportunity to do so. I believe I shall meet and know her there.
     Your offer of help is very kind; my greatest drawback is lack of
     books by Unitarian writers. I buy when I can, but being out of
     work--that is, steady work--since last September makes it very hard
     work to get a book very often. If you can help me in this way I
     shall be very thankful, and if you cannot, I shall be just the
     same, because I feel that you would if you could. I have much
     opposition to overcome, standing alone in my belief in the truth of
     Unitarianism. I have great need of more books. My preparation for
     the ministry must necessarily be slow, because I can never attend
     Meadville Theological College. But I am reminded that your time is
     precious, and so I will close. Mrs. ----, will you at the next
     meeting of the Women's Auxiliary Conference thank all the dear
     friends who have done so much for me? If I ever amount to much in
     life I shall owe it all to the Cincinnati branch of the Women's
     Auxiliary Conference. Hoping that you will not forget me when
     sending out literature, I remain, etc."

In another letter he wrote:--

     "My object in fitting myself for the ministry is to be able to
     carry the message of Unitarianism to my brother-laborers, because I
     believe it will make better men--and women too--of them.... I began
     to work when I was but a little more than eleven years old, and
     since that time I have been my own teacher."

A lady in Ohio sends her "Register" regularly (the arrangement being
made through Miss Ellis) to the correspondent who wrote her this letter
of thanks:--

     "I have long postponed the note of thanks I have meant to send you.
     But when I tell you that I am a dressmaker, you will pardon me, I
     am sure. This is my harvest season, and I am extremely busy. Being
     one of the class of work-women who put _themselves_ into what they
     do, I am exhausted at night, and forced to make Sunday a day of
     rest indeed.

    "The papers do come regularly, to my great joy. I assure you that
    the pleasure and spiritual strength I get from them, if you could
    realize it, would compensate you for the trouble an hundred-fold. My
    business, showing me so plainly the small foibles and weaknesses of
    human nature, and necessarily binding one's thoughts in large
    measure to 'band, gusset, and seam, seam, gusset, and band,' or
    their equivalents of flounces and gores, tends to a wearisome
    narrowing of the mind; a half-hour spent after work is done, with
    the 'Register,' opens a window, as it were, into heaven.

    "I live alone. At times my isolation is hard to bear; but having
    seen better days, as the saying goes, to me my deprivations are but
    part of the discipline that God saw was needful for me. I am shut
    off, by reason of serving the public, from the society of my equals
    in education and breeding, and for that of my equals in station I
    have no taste. _Pardonnez-moi_ these personal details; I give them
    that you may know how much good you are doing. Long may you be
    spared the power and the will to do such kindness to those who need.
    We may never meet on earth, but I trust we shall in heaven."

To Miss Ellis, Aug. 20, 1885, she wrote:--

     "I receive the papers, and not only read and enjoy them, but give
     and send them to others. I am surprised to find 'unconscious'
     Unitarians wherever I go. I hope you may be well by this time. Do
     not tire yourself to write. Others need you more than I."

After Miss Ellis's death, she wrote acknowledging the memorial:--

     "Many thanks. I was so glad to receive it, and prize it as one of
     my treasures; also for the welcome tracts and papers. They are like
     the shadow of a great rock in a weary land to me, and are given
     away to others."

A woman in a small Indiana village wrote Miss Ellis:--

     "I understand you have Liberal literature that you send gratis to
     hungry people who are not able to gratify their appetite in that
     direction. It would be greatly appreciated by me, and after reading
     I would put it where I thought it would do the most good."

Later, she wrote:--

     "I have received a paper and often something else every other week.
     These I have accepted as a kind of trust; and when there has been a
     favorable opportunity, given them away to friends and
     acquaintances. I do not press them on any one, nor talk about it
     much. I have not the courage of a reformer. When I speak to friends
     (that are kind every other way) of a broader religious belief, they
     meet me with coldness and distrust. It chills me, and I am silent.
     Yet I believe, with Helen Williams, if any one is brought to face a
     great truth, if they accept it, yet do not speak or act upon it,
     there is retribution, barrenness, for them,--a plunging in the
     whale's belly, as Jonah was,--a figure so many have laughed at, yet
     significant for all that. I wonder now at my struggles in former
     years; am happier since the tangled skein is partially
     straightened. Still I am not fully in accord with the Unitarians.
     Miss ---- [another correspondent in the same village] spoke to me
     some time ago of your desiring us to form a reading circle. I do
     not know what she said to you. I will give you the situation. I
     live in a small village of about one hundred inhabitants, and Miss
     ---- lives about two miles away. I cannot call to mind a woman that
     would take any interest. They would go to sleep over their
     knitting, or want to use the time for social chat, as they do not
     meet day after day at the village store, as the men do (I speak of
     winter). True, there are a few that would enjoy the reading, yet
     are so severely Orthodox they could not comprehend a new truth
     outside of _their_ church. That is the dark side. Now I have often
     thought if we had a place of meeting, where we could seat a small
     audience (which we have not), and a good reader (ditto), we could
     call them together Sunday afternoons and read some of the beautiful
     sermons you have sent.

    "Your work is grand,--the elevation of the human race. The ones that
    _will_ read, will become better, kindlier, more patient with
    ignorance; and while they yearn to give every soul a chance, will
    naturally throw out a better influence and teach a broader religion.
    As to your paper, not now. It is midwinter; husband, carpenter, out
    of employment. Intend to take one of your publications after a

About two weeks after Miss Ellis's death she addressed this letter to

     MY DEAR FRIEND,--I received a "Register" yesterday, directed in a
     different hand. Are you sick? I hope not. I should grieve indeed if
     I knew that physical pain had stopped your work. These lines come
     to my mind:--

    "Only a woman, and I could not find
    The quiet household life that women know;
    So too, my part where there were sheaves to bind,
    Not much, perhaps, but more than I could do.
    My tired feet failed me in the harvest lands,
    My ripened grain but half-way reaped across;
    And, where it dropped from over-wearied hands,
    My best sheaf lies half bound for winds to toss."

    Instead, may you continue your work till eventide.

    Who can tell, when a mind gives up its beliefs, where it will stop?
    I seem to believe nothing, unless it is in the Supreme Good,
    whatever that is,--and my religion, to live the best life I know.
    The Orthodox preachers say if one strays from the "path," or
    "back-slides," they are always uneasy and unhappy. How different my
    experience is! How glad I am to have escaped the little enclosure of
    dogma, and to stand "far indeed from being wise, but free to learn"!

    Hoping this will find you in good health and spirits, I remain

                                 Your friend            A---- C----

After hearing of Miss Ellis's death, she wrote:

     "Received your postal. Have also received Unitarian papers, and
     Miss Ellis's memorial, which last I will store among my treasured
     mementos. How beautiful her life was! Though never having seen her,
     she will be treasured in my memory as a dear friend. She has sent
     me almost all the pamphlets, I suppose, that have been written for
     the purpose of distributing. Having a large family, they have been
     read and reread, and handed to neighbors and friends. One has no
     idea how many they will reach, or how much they influence; and yet
     there is so much prejudice against Unitarians among Orthodox
     Christians, some would take it as an insult to offer them one of
     the pamphlets. In our little village the 'United Brethren' have
     been holding meetings day and night for three weeks, and oh! how
     they do preach hell, and pray publicly for 'that lady that is
     leading her daughters down to hell,' simply because she does not
     believe as they do. I have more tolerance for them than they have
     for me. I think there are some people they will reach and do good,
     as I presume the Rev. Sam Jones is doing in Cincinnati."

The following letter to Miss Ellis from a poor old woman to whom she
wrote, sent papers and other aid, for several years, is given
_verbatim_, to illustrate the range of her sympathies. This letter was
also written after Miss Ellis's death:--

     "I wish I could come and see you, but I cannot afford to go up and
     down on the Trains. I have to send by someone, now Miss Ellis you
     have been a sending me good Papers to read and now you must not
     think I mean to beg but you sent me a New years Card it was a Rose
     now I would not take anything for it I am as Foolish as Littel
     Children is about Pictures the Rose I have is in my Album and if
     you got any one by you to part With Will you send it to me for this
     New year I feel more than thankful for the Papers you have sent
     me.... Well I will close Write to me soon I am alone day and night
     So goodbye from a Dear Friend to one I Love."

A young man in a State Normal School in Indiana long corresponded with
Miss Ellis. He has been an enthusiastic distributor of our literature,
and instrumental in procuring Unitarian preaching in his city. Extracts
from his letters are here given.

     "The papers received are read by myself and others. There are few
     here who know anything of what Unitarians believe."

A second letter says:--

     "The matter sent to me is read by several persons. I think of one
     young man now who asked me to send you his name. He said he would
     like to read literature made by persons who are independent of
     creeds. I gave him Wendte's 'Statement' and Chadwick's 'Art of

     "I am grateful to you for your kindness, and shall be glad to
     receive what you may send. I read the sermons by Savage with
     interest. They were the only ones of his I ever saw. I have given
     and shall continue to give the matter sent me wider circulation.
     [Mentioning a rebuff recently received, he continues:] This little
     experience, while not pleasant, is valuable to me. I see that the
     spirit of the Middle Ages is not entirely dead yet, and that one
     better not be too hasty. My convictions are just as strong as

Another letter says:--

     "I know something of what it costs to break away from old
     associations. I was brought up in the Baptist Church. All my family
     were of that faith.... My relatives all look upon me as one lost to
     all true belief, because I cannot see my way clear to go with them
     in the traditions of the fathers. Still, I feel that to be true to
     the light I have is better than to have the sanction of those who
     are simply following what their creed teaches, asking no questions.
     I do not care to argue with them, and so follow that life that
     gives me the greatest comfort and satisfaction."

Feb. 11, 1886, he wrote Mrs. Hunert:--

     "Miss Ellis was a very dear friend (although I never saw her), and
     it was a great shock to learn of her decease. The first intimation
     I had of her death was the article in the 'Register' headed 'A
     Candle of the Lord.' Whatever literature you may send me shall be
     given circulation after I have read it. I now supply some
     half-dozen persons by mail with the tracts sent me. As I know the
     personal peculiarities of all these parties, I can adapt the matter
     to each. You will see, therefore, that I am a sort of branch
     'mission.' In addition to this, I occasionally write a short
     article to a local paper in Wayne County upon subjects of

He encloses one of these articles,--subject, "Future or Everlasting
Punishment: Which?"

     "... Mrs. Smith wrote to me in regard to Miss Ellis's letters. I am
     very sorry not to have any of them. During the last three years I
     have moved so frequently, being sometimes in this State and
     sometimes in W. Virginia, that they were lost, and I am unable to
     find them. Some of them I carried for a long time in my pocket
     until they became so worn as to be scarcely recognizable. The form
     of them has vanished, but the kindness and sympathy they breathed
     is with me still. The spirit of that sainted woman cannot wax old.
     I humbly trust that I may be imbued with something of the calm and
     trust and purity which her letters always suggested. There was,
     too, an enthusiasm which was untiring, and withal a modesty that
     never was absent from her utterances. There was ever the absence of
     anything like dictation in her advice. It was the gentle monition
     of a friend, never the pompous dictation of conscious superiority.
     Rev. J. T. Sunderland, of Chicago, is to preach in our city March
     21. I have never heard him, and am looking to his coming with

A young woman who is working out a Homestead and Timber Claim in
Nebraska, and has been for several years supplied with much reading
matter by Miss Ellis, which she has circulated so zealously as to have
become one of the "branch missions," writes:--

     "When I was about seventeen years old I joined the Baptist Church
     in Newport, Ky. (where at the time I was residing, and teaching in
     the public school in that city); and I was sincere in what I did,
     only I had so many doubts about many things that they taught, and
     hesitated from the beginning of the revival until the close before
     I could decide. Then my decision was made on this, that there were
     older persons belonging to the church that said they believed the
     teachings and doctrine, and I thought when I grew older and had
     more experience that I would understand, and I had a delicate fear
     to converse with the older members about my doubts for fear of
     their opinions of me; so I quietly stayed with them for a number of
     years, when an old friend, a good woman, now gone from among us,
     induced me to attend your church, Mr. Wendte then being the pastor.
     The subject he was to speak about was 'the Christ we know.' I
     remember my thoughts then were about these,--'Christ they know? I
     don't believe they know any,' and thought I should like to hear
     what he would say, any way. I well remember that sermon; not one
     sentence he uttered jarred me in the least; and, strange to say,
     they were my own thoughts on the subject; but I dared not, even if
     I could, have expressed myself. I thought over that sermon the
     whole week every spare moment I had, and even took some that did
     not justly belong to me. I shall never forget that week. The next
     Sunday his text was, 'the God we love.' For all I enjoyed the
     previous sermon, I still thought, 'They love God? Impossible!' and
     as my friends invited me to go over with them again, I accepted the
     invitation. I never had God represented to me before as now,--more
     like a kind father than an austere judge; yes, kind, compassionate,
     and loving us all alike, condemning only our evil actions. This
     suited me exactly; so another week was spent in thought. I would
     think, 'How can I conscientiously be a Baptist and believe this
     way?' Yet how I disliked leaving the church where many things were
     endeared to me. It seemed as if I was in a sea of trouble and
     doubt, not knowing whether to go on or halt and turn back. The next
     Sunday the subject was, 'the Bible we revere.' I was more than
     anxious to hear this one, for it seemed to me that on this I would
     have to decide. I went, and decided. I broke off gradually from my
     old associations, and attended the services in the Unitarian church
     from that time until I came West. I never joined the church, but it
     suited my views best of all churches, and to-day I cannot go in any
     of the Orthodox churches and feel at home. Now as regards this
     mission work that you wish me to engage in, I could devote half an
     hour each day, and am willing to do all I can for the advancement
     of the cause. My health became very poor, and I went West thinking
     it would be beneficial. I must say I succeeded, for I am not
     compelled to stay now for my health, but business keeps me here....
     My homestead is three miles from the town, and I go out quite often
     and stay over Sunday. My house is a very small dug-out. I raised
     about ten bushels of potatoes, some beans, and a few squashes; have
     done work I never thought of doing,--that is, planting vegetables,
     made my own bedstead, put a floor in the house, and lined it with
     sacking. Some of my lady friends assisted me when they came to see
     me, and gave me ideas about my new kind of work. Now last, but not
     least, in regard to Miss Ellis. I wrote to her directly after
     coming West, and told her I felt isolated from church attendance,
     but was pleased to find so many people with whom I could converse
     on Liberal thought. Since that time she had kindly furnished me
     with reading matter which I have again sent on its errand of peace
     and joy. I looked over a bundle of letters and can only find this
     postal card from her.... This card I send you is one she sent me in
     reference to Mr. Copeland. I wrote her for his address, which she
     gave me, and I requested him to come to our town and speak to the
     people here. He kindly consented to come, and spoke on 'Into the
     Light.' The majority of the people that heard him were well
     pleased, and he promised me that whenever he passed our town on his
     way to or from Denver he would stop over and speak. Would like to
     have the card returned, as I want it for a remembrance."

In her first letter written after Miss Ellis's death she said:--

     "Imagine how I felt when I came to your letter, and read the sad
     news of Miss Ellis's death. I feared the worst when I did not hear
     from her, for a friend had written me of her decline; but Miss
     Ellis herself never referred to her illness but once to me. She
     certainly must have been a patient and uncomplaining invalid, and
     I, with many others no doubt, feel as if I had lost a dear friend,
     and would be pleased to receive one of the memorials as a
     keepsake.... I can assure you that I do all I can towards building
     up a religion that all could conscientiously embrace. ... All the
     reading matter sent to me I distribute to the best of my ability,
     and hope that as it goes on its mission good seed will be sown.
     There are numbers of Liberal people here who do not belong to any
     church; and then I find a number of Liberals belonging to Orthodox
     churches. I will subscribe for Mr. Savage's sermons, for I like his
     sermons best of all."

Miss Ellis numbered several physicians among her correspondents. One
living in Alabama writes:--

     "Your Conference speaks truly when it says, 'Many of Miss Ellis's
     correspondents had come to regard her as a dear friend, though
     never having seen her face.' I feel that I too may have the
     privilege and the honor of being enrolled among the number of her
     unseen friends. I hope some of the good seed she sowed has fallen
     in good ground, even at this distance from the kind hand that
     scattered them, and that their fruit may not

    'Appear in weeds that mar the land,
      But in a healthful store.'

     I am a regular subscriber to the 'Christian Register' and the
     'Unitarian,' all through the influence of Miss Ellis."

A man on a remote plantation in Georgia, who has been most zealous in
spreading the new light around him, writes:--

     "Please accept thanks for papers and memorial of Miss Sallie Ellis.
     She has been a good and a kind friend to me, has supplied me for
     over two years with the best of literature, something new, so
     different from what we are used to, something that lifts me above
     myself and gives me new views of heaven and immortality, makes me a
     better man to wife, family, neighbors, stock, and fills my heart
     with that new love, the divine brotherhood of all mankind. I deeply
     lament her loss. I do wish she could have lived a little while
     longer, for my sake. I do feel so thankful for the papers, and
     Channing, from Mrs. ----, God bless her!... Any books or papers
     sent me will be used to the good of the community. The Post Office
     Mission is doing a good work."

A young German in Tennessee to whom she sent much reading matter wrote

     "I am a German by birth, and received my education at German
     universities. I devoted many years to the study of the chief
     philosophical systems, and had in consequence of the results
     derived from the latter for a long time little or no connection
     with any church whatever. But during the last four or five years I
     became more and more convinced that no school of thought possesses
     so glorious a light as is emanating from the life and lessons of
     Jesus Christ. So when I became acquainted with Channing's Works,
     seeing that it is possible to reconcile with every scientific
     discovery and with every logical conclusion all that is special in
     Christianity, I knew I had found what I want and wherein to rest.
     From my own standpoint, and remembering the religious
     indifferentism which is now general in my native country and in
     France, I regard Unitarianism as the principle which is to save the
     Christian Church from ruin, and which will be an indestructible
     bulwark against Nihilism and materialism. I still believe there is
     a great future before the Unitarian Church."

From a lady in Alabama to Miss Ellis:--

     DEAR FRIEND,--For such you have been to me, and it is to you I am
     indebted for the papers, tracts, and sermons that I have received
     and enjoyed so much. I have derived genuine comfort from them, and
     sincerely thank you for thinking of one so unhappy and so tossed
     about for a haven of rest. Truly yours is a heavenly mission,
     answering the needs of many like myself afflicted beyond human aid.
     The sermons of James Freeman Clarke are peculiarly comforting; and
     indeed I have read all you sent me with the deepest interest and
     benefit. How I wish I might in some way recompense your Society as
     it deserves! And you individually have my deepest gratitude, which
     is so little for such thoughtfulness as yours.

A second letter says:--

     "Your papers, sermons, etc., are regularly received, and I wish I
     could make you understand the great comfort they are to me,
     particularly the sermons. Anything pertaining to the future life
     holds me spell-bound till the last word is read. The Unitarian
     ideas and beliefs, so far as I know, find echo in my heart; and I
     always feel comforted and soothed, as it were, with all I have read
     and understood. I attend the Presbyterian Church here, because I
     think it is better to attend some church regularly; and I am very
     fond of this minister socially. There has been for ten days or more
     an evangelist holding a union meeting in our church, and a night or
     two ago I went to hear him. The only feeling excited in my heart
     was one of pity that all persons could not be taught the love of
     God instead of being frightened into a nervous fear. I assure you,
     I feel it a privilege to correspond with you, and find myself
     wishing in my heart that you knew me thoroughly, what I have been,
     and what I am by nature, education, and social standing. I feel
     that we women of the South are to be seen at home and known to be
     understood by our Northern sisters."

The following are some of Miss Ellis's letters to a radical of the
radicals, an old gentleman in Boston, one of Theodore Parker's old
congregation, who sent much literature out under her direction, and
contributed Theodore Parker's "Prayers," and his new volume of sermons,
to her loan library.

                                                      JULY 2, 1883.

     Your letter was received on Thursday, and, contrary to your
     expectation, was read with a great deal of interest, for I always
     admire to have every one speak with perfect freedom, and I am very
     glad you wrote as you did, and feel honored by having so old a man
     for a correspondent.... You and I won't quarrel on the Bible
     question. Rather think I should come up to your expectations on
     _that_ point.... I do not consider Mr. C---- or Mr. S---- authority
     any more than I consider the Bible so; I read for myself and settle
     the question as best I can. Am I not right? I have not read Colenso
     on the Pentateuch, nor Davidson's "Introduction to the New
     Testament," but _have_ read "Canon of the Bible," Knappert's
     "Religion of Israel," Stanley's "Eastern Church," Higginson's
     "Spirit of the Bible," Dr. Noyes's Translation of Prophets,
     Psalms, Job, and Canticles, and lastly, "Bible for Learners." I
     merely mention these to let you see I have been a student of the
     Bible. Will also add Alger's "Future Life," J. F. Clarke's "Ten
     Great Religions" and "Thomas Didymus," Savage's "Talks about
     Jesus," and his sermons this winter on the Bible.... I think of
     heaven and hell as you do; but having always been fed on Unitarian
     teachings, am not so "bitter" in my feelings as those who have had
     the "Assembly's Shorter Catechism" to overcome. In short, if people
     only _live_ truly from day to day, I will excuse their view of the
     Bible, and of God, and Christ, as long as they do not wish me to
     think the same as they do, for I decidedly think they are wrong....
     I shall be very much pleased to have a copy of Theodore Parker's
     "Prayers," and shall gladly accept a copy for my circulating
     library; for, but with the exception of a few donations, the books
     loaned have been those I put in it.

After receiving the book, she wrote:--

     "First, I must tell you how much I am enjoying Theodore Parker's
     'Prayers.' They are suitable in most instances to the present day,
     and for all ages and times, and one rises from reading them with
     kindlier, broader thoughts, and renewed in strength. Am very glad
     to have the book. Shall endeavor to sell copies of it this
     winter.... I cannot _exactly_ agree with all you said in your
     letter, for I think it is not necessary yet to give up all
     theology, though it should not be the main thing in religion. The
     chief thing is to _do_ right, and people arrive at that by
     different methods. They will inquire and discuss theology, and
     therefore it is necessary as yet that ministers should preach it,
     and I do not believe that Orthodox ministers have arrived at Mr.
     Savage's or Mr. Chadwick's views exactly, or they would come out
     and say so. As for myself, I still enjoy the Communion service,
     partaking of the bread and wine, and cannot agree to casting aside
     Jesus as a helper to a better life, though I neither worship him
     nor think that he redeems us in any other way than as by following
     his example we become one with him and God. He 'died for us' in no
     other sense than as a soldier dies for his country. Then let
     theology continue, for the world is fast becoming better and better
     in spite of it, and the time _may_ come when we shall need it no
     longer. We are gradually coming to the point. I do not regret the
     time 'lost' I have spent on theology, for it has fitted me for just
     the work I am engaged in, and many are the questions I am called
     upon to answer, either by letter or printed matter; therefore I am
     glad to know where to send perplexed minds. As a friend wrote me
     from the South, 'Your papers are a great help to me. You are doing
     more good than the women did in the days of our Saviour. They
     clothed the body and you are feeding the souls.' Both acts are
     needed, but in different directions, and some people can better do
     the one, and others the other. I am cut off from active benevolence
     from want of health for it, and am glad to know there are souls
     needing nourishment. Do you not take this view too?"

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                 DECEMBER 20, 1883.

     Your kind letter awaited my return from the city last evening, when
     I returned at ten. It grieved me to think that possibly I had
     wounded your feelings, for your "heresies" have not been "too
     tough" for me, as you fear. One's religious belief never troubles
     me as long as they do not force me into the same belief. Should be
     sorry if I had not "charity" enough to see the good in one, and not
     look at the outside merely. Your last letter reached me September
     28, and I replied by postal October 19, as there did not appear to
     be anything especial to require a letter; and as my eyes were
     troubling me much at the time, I was compelled to desist from all
     but necessary letters. Am still as much interested in the good
     cause as ever, and we still have new applications constantly. We
     are gaining ground in the South. One gentleman in Alabama is much
     interested in Unitarianism, and wrote, asking me for Mr. Savage's
     address, whereupon he wrote to Mr. Savage himself, who is sending
     him "Unity Pulpit" present series. I am subscriber to it myself,
     and never can keep a sermon. I subscribed for the benefit of
     others. In Independence, Ky., a gentleman lately wrote, asking for
     Unitarian papers, etc. He is highly satisfied. Has been groping in
     the dark a long time, and wrote me, "When I read the pamphlet,
     'What Do Unitarians Believe?' by C. W. Wendte, I shouted 'Eureka!'
     Like it so well that I shall not part with it." So it goes on all
     the time. Some one finds just what they have been in search of for
     some time.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                              FEBRUARY 19, 1885.

     Am much obliged to you for sending matter to Mr. ----. He is
     extremely radical, a farmer, with a large family to educate, and
     cannot get such religious matter as he needs. You might, if you
     choose, send the Chadwick sermons to him too, or, if you prefer
     they should go elsewhere, address them to me, and I will send them
     where they are needed.

Her last postal card to this correspondent, dated about a month before
her death, says:

     "Thanks for the six 'Unity Pulpits' received. I have been too busy
     to reply before, and my health still feeble, though not confined to
     the house or bed at all. I'm not one of that kind until necessary."

Since her death, the farmer referred to above has written:--

     "I want to pay my humble tribute to the departed Miss Ellis. I
     never met her; but she was my friend, because she was the friend to
     all struggling humanity. She sent me sermons, etc., but above all,
     _kind words_. I had pictured her in my mind as a strong, robust
     person, and hoped at some future time to meet her. I now fear that
     I may have wounded her refined soul by some things I wrote to her.
     I am somewhat 'agnostic;' but I love to think of heaven if such as
     Miss Ellis preside there and give tone to the surroundings."

The old gentleman in Boston wrote:--

     "With this please receive eight letters and seventeen full postals
     from our dear departed friend, Miss Sarah Ellis, of your city,
     whose face I never saw, but whose correspondence was to me a great
     pleasure. Her personal friendship must have been a real blessing to
     you and her immediate friends. She was able to be a very active
     worker for the cause which lay so near her heart, and was at the
     same time so perfectly willing to let others believe what they can.
     I will send all I have of hers and let you select what you desire.
     There is not even a postal card among them on which there is not
     some small or large trace of her noble, generous, kindly nature."

A young man in Ohio, writing Miss Ellis about some revival scenes in his
town, makes this comment, which is good and true enough to settle the
"leaven" idea once for all.

     "If you had seen all this as I have, you would hardly think it time
     for a civilized organization like the Unitarians to cease fighting
     the great evil and wait for the leaven to work.

     "_The Unitarians are themselves a portion of the leaven, and unless
     they work there is so much of the leaven idle._"

A Christian minister with whom Miss Ellis has corresponded two years or
more, and who expects to enter Harvard Divinity School, in sending her
letters writes:--

     "... I send such as I can get at, preferring to let you make any
     suitable selections or extracts they may offer. I shall be pleased
     to have them returned, as you mention, when you have used them. I
     may add that my correspondence with Miss Ellis on all matters
     connected with religion, Unitarianism, etc., was in all respects
     most pleasant, satisfactory, and profitable to me. The careful
     skill with which she divined the exact want of a correspondent and
     sent the appropriate word by tract or letter to supply it, bespoke
     a wisdom and experience deeper than casual letters may reveal. And
     continued correspondence served thus to inspire a greater esteem
     and confidence in the judgment expressed."

The following extracts are from her letters to this minister:--

                                            NOVEMBER 12, 1883.

     Your letter was received a week since, and read with interest. What
     you said of our teachings, of course, was light and just. We do not
     expect ministers of other denominations to accept our views
     altogether, for if so they would _be_ Unitarians. Your view
     concerning studying the Bible agrees with mine. Still, it is well
     to know the latest view of the Bible, although we cannot accept the
     teaching at first. In time the way is made clear to us. Have
     mailed to you to-day two more good tracts and our church programme
     for this year. After Wednesday will mail to you "Positive Aspects
     of Religion," by English leaders. We will agree to let you have any
     book at just what it costs us, you paying postage on it....
     Theodore Parker's "Discourses Pertaining to Religion" is a good
     book for you to read,--usual price, $1.00. But first, "Orthodoxy;
     Its Truths and Errors," J. F. Clarke; and a new book just out,
     "Orthodoxy and Heresy." ... "Bible for Learners" is by three German
     divines, translated by an Englishman, and gives the latest German
     views concerning the Bible.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                            DECEMBER 23, 1883.

     ... At the time your letter reached me we were holding our annual
     fair, and since then I have been much occupied with preparing for
     Christmas. To-day am home-bound by the snow,--it being knee-deep
     between our front door and the gate, and as I have to walk half a
     mile to take the street cars to the city, and as it is raining on
     top of the deep snow, concluded it was really too bad for me to
     venture. Have read myself out, and being very much occupied during
     the week, will take advantage of the holy-day to speak on a holy
     topic. You suggested that we send "papers representing Unitarian
     ideas rather than tracts;" but papers do not contain our doctrines
     so explicitly. Since your last letter, have mailed to you two
     tracts on "Inspiration" and "Incarnation" which I thought well
     answered the thoughts expressed in your letter.

     You will see from them that Unitarians are little troubled about
     Inspiration and the Divinity, or the Deity of Christ as we prefer
     to state it. We do believe in his divinity, for we hold that all
     men are divine, while we deny his being Deity. We lay greater
     stress on the divinity of human nature, and therefore we do not
     feel that Jesus is degraded by calling him man, for we exalt man.
     If we considered man totally depraved, then to call Jesus a mere
     man might seem to lower him; but when we think of the possibilities
     of man, and that he has it within himself to reach up to the
     highest manhood, and to become in a measure a saviour of the world,
     then to compare him with Jesus--the most glorious of men--is not
     lessening the divinity of the Christ, it seems to me. Or, if we
     held Jesus to be God, a being different from man, and so far
     superior to us that we never could attain to his goodness, then we
     never could compare the two. Jesus is an example to us because we
     also are divine as he is; for he prays "that they all may be one,
     as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in
     us." If man had not been of the same nature as himself, would he
     have thus spoken? I advise you to send to the Western Unitarian
     Sunday School Society for Rev. William C. Gannett's Sunday School
     Lesson, "The Christmas Poem and the Christmas Fact," if you wish to
     understand how Unitarians of the present day understand Christ.
     Though you may not accept, you will have our idea of the birth
     legends in our Gospels.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                DECEMBER 24, 1884.

     My reply to your letter, by postal, was written before talking with
     ----. She tells me that Harvard will be decidedly the better place
     if not too expensive. Meadville has the advantage in that
     respect,--less expensive; but being near Boston, Cambridge offers
     better opportunities for students to engage in work by which they
     can support themselves in the mean time. A correspondent of ours
     went to Harvard a year ago last September. Had a scholarship
     promised him. He found a set of books to keep, and studied.... I
     tell you of this case, as it may help you in your decision.
     Meadville is very thorough, but think the younger men all give
     preference to Harvard; I presume as much as anything on account of
     the opportunities which being near Boston affords them. I have
     written to Professor C. C. Everett of Harvard to please send you a
     catalogue and answer your inquiries. We shall be very glad if our
     little Cincinnati branch of the Women's Auxiliary Conference is the
     means of securing them another Divinity student. With many good
     wishes of the season from the Women's Auxiliary Conference,

                           Very truly yours,         S. ELLIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                 JANUARY 14, 1885.

     Have been obliged to change my residence, and, temporarily, am with
     another brother. Just came here to-day, and, not having my things
     about me, have not your last letter to refer to, but having
     received a letter from our Harvard Divinity Student this past week,
     wish to tell you what he says of his surroundings, and his
     impression of Professor Everett. He writes as follows: "I enjoy the
     work of the Divinity School more than I had ever hoped. We have a
     noble corps of professors eminently fitted for their special
     departments, and personally most eminent examples of Nature's
     noblemen. In the light of what I am now learning, I consider my
     former ignorance phenomenal. Thanks to Professor Everett, my faith
     in God is clearer and stronger than ever before. He has enabled me
     to reduce my chaotic philosophy to something of a system, and has
     helped to furnish a steadfast basis for faith. His lectures are
     simply invaluable. To my mind he is not only the greatest man in
     the Divinity School, but the greatest man in Harvard University;
     and not only the profoundest thinker in the Unitarian Church in our
     country, but the profoundest thinker to be found in any American
     church." ... I feel that this will be of interest to you, who are
     contemplating going to the Divinity School. There is another thing
     I wish to speak of; that is, we have quite a valuable book, "The
     Origin of the Doctrine of the Trinity," by Hugh H. Stannus, of
     England, showing how much greater cause there is for believing in
     the Unity of God than in the Trinity. You can have the book any
     time you wish, though I have just mailed it to a lady in this
     State. By the way, the daughter of James F. Clarke, with others,
     has planned a course of "Unitarian Studies at Home." The first
     year's course includes: 1. "The Unitarian Doctrine of Prayer," by
     J. F. Clarke; 2. "The Origin of the Doctrine of the Trinity," by
     Stannus; 3. "Jesus and His Biographers," by Dr. W. H. Furness; 4.
     "Christ the Revealer," by Thom; 5. "Religious Duties," by Frances
     Power Cobbe. We have first, second, and fourth,--at least, are to
     have the latter. "Jesus and His Biographers" is out of print; but
     we are to have that loaned to us for two months, as three ladies
     here, with myself, are pursuing the course, and I have also induced
     a lady in this county to join us. We have received quite a number
     of encouraging letters from our correspondents lately, and have
     every reason to believe the Post Office Mission work is doing good.
     I mailed to you this week some arguments against the Trinity. Rev.
     C. W. Wendte's sermon, "Encouragement for Unitarians," in
     "Register," January 8, I read with much interest. We have such an
     interesting young convert, a Methodist, in Canada. His intention is
     to study for the Unitarian ministry, we having brought him out into
     the light. I thought with how much interest he would read that
     sermon of Mr. Wendte's.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                APRIL 19, 1885.

     Was glad to hear from you again, and find you are in a larger
     field. [He had gone to a Pennsylvania city.] Perhaps you may draw
     into your church--take it for granted you have gone there to
     preach--Universalists and Unitarians.... We shall be glad to loan
     you books again as soon as you are ready for them. Have had added
     to the library lately "The Origin of the Doctrine of the Trinity,"
     by Hugh H. Stannus; "Christ the Revealer," by Thom (both English
     works), "The Power of the Spirit of Jesus of Nazareth" and "The
     Story of the Resurrection," both by Dr. W. H. Furness, of
     Philadelphia,--the latter just published, and he presented the two
     to us. Am not quite ready to loan the latter, as I've not read it
     myself. If you know or meet with any Germans in your vicinity, we
     are soon to have some Unitarian tracts in the German language....
     Hope you read with enthusiasm the earnest appeal for ministers at
     the East, and also at Meadville, in the "Register" of April 9. We
     hope to have two of our correspondents go to Meadville in
     September, and hope you may succeed in your desire to get to
     Harvard. We had a very pleasant letter from one of our "boys," as
     he styled himself, a week since. He is still enjoying his
     privileges there.... Hoping to hear from you again, and wishing you
     success in your new position, whatever it may be, in which the
     Women's Auxiliary Conference join,

                          Yours truly,               SARAH ELLIS.

A gentleman in Mississippi, superintendent of schools in his county,
writes of Miss Ellis as

     "... One whose memorial I read with a saddened heart. A single
     request to her consequent upon an advertisement which I saw in a
     paper commenced a correspondence which continued uninterruptedly
     till the time of her death. Though just from the side of a dear
     sister whom she had left destined to a glorious immortality, she
     found time to write to us a letter of condolence on the great loss
     that we had sustained in the death of our son,--a young man just of
     age,--in which she blended submission to Him 'who doeth all things
     right,' with such words of comfort as could emanate only from a
     good, earnest, self-sacrificing instrument of our Heavenly Father.
     Than in her life of trials and troubles there has never been a
     greater instance of the victory of mind over matter. I am afraid
     that I do little good with the sermons, etc., among the people
     here, who, although they use the beautiful hymn, 'Nearer, my God,
     to Thee,' at their funerals, still look upon Unitarians as cultured

A lady in Ohio, who became a regular correspondent and bought many
books, wrote Miss Ellis:--

     "The lectures and papers you have sent have been, and are, the
     source of much pleasure to me; and I have given them to some of my
     friends, who also seemed pleased with them. I had thought for a
     long time that the Unitarian faith would be my idea of true
     religion, and now I feel _sure_ of it. I knew nothing about its
     creed, or whether it had one, but had had a desire for several
     years to know something of it. All my friends and acquaintances
     were as ignorant as myself, and the most definite idea I had been
     able to gain concerning it was through James Freeman Clarke's
     'Self-Culture.' When I found your little notice in the newspaper,
     it was just what I most desired. I have always wished to be
     religious; but there are things in the Bible which my reason
     repels, and the Orthodox way of teaching them became at last so
     abhorrent to me that at one time I just gave it all up and ceased
     to try to believe any of it; though I am sure I always felt the
     beauty of Christianity as taught by Christ, and would be glad now
     to be a Christian, if not compelled to believe him the miraculous
     Son of God.... We like the 'Register' better and better all the
     time, and I have no doubt shall subscribe for it regularly. I
     consider it exceedingly high-toned as a moral and religious
     teacher, and also in a literary point of view. The sermons and
     lectures supply for us a long-felt need. I intend sending a list of
     names of friends and acquaintances to the publishers soon. My
     sister-in-law has become a convert to the Unitarian faith through
     the medium of the 'Register' and the tracts you have sent me from
     time to time. She is quite an enthusiast, and feels that
     Unitarianism is a great boon and comfort to her now in the midst of
     her troubles. [The sister had recently lost her husband.] She, like
     myself, could not conscientiously subscribe to the old Orthodox
     creeds and requirements, and so remained outside the Church; but
     now she feels that she may be a Christian without stultifying her
     sense of reason. When she returns home, she expects to subscribe
     for the 'Register.'"

After Miss Ellis's death she wrote:--

     "I received the memorial of Miss Ellis. I thank you sincerely for
     sending it. It is very touching and beautiful, and delineates just
     such a character as I conceived hers to be. I had received the sad
     intelligence of her death through the 'Christian Register' before
     the memorial reached me, and it was like the shock of learning of
     the death of a personal friend. I have great reason to be grateful
     to her and to cherish her memory; for through her I have been led
     to embrace and to love the broad and charitable Unitarian belief.
     My reason had struggled for years against the great--to
     me--stumbling-blocks of Orthodoxy, and had finally abandoned the
     conflict and settled down into a kind of unthinking unbelief,
     feeling that it was no use to try to subscribe to any Orthodox
     creed, and not knowing where to look for any more hopeful, helpful,
     or reasonable spiritual aid. About four years ago, I think it was,
     I saw the notice in the paper which is referred to in the memorial,
     and Then ensued a very pleasant correspondence ... wrote Miss Ellis
     asking for Unitarian papers, etc. much like that with a dear
     familiar friend, and she grew to be like one to me, or rather was
     that almost from the first. She put so much of her real self into
     her letters that they were like a living presence. So full she was
     of true Christian love and feeling, so ever ready to forget her
     own sorrows and sufferings in her sympathy with the sorrows of
     others, that thus unconsciously truth and love and
     self-forgetfulness were stamped upon every line that came from her
     mind and hand. Truly she was 'A Little Pilgrim,' bearing good
     tidings to the fainting and weary, and lifting them up with her own
     heavenly strength. Sacred be her memory! Through her I became a
     subscriber to the 'Christian Register,' which is to me a standard
     of excellence in a religious, moral, and intellectual point of
     view. I do not want to be sectarian, as that is not my ideal of a
     good Unitarian,--I mean in an 'offensive' light; but it really
     seems to me that even Unitarian wit and fun have a refinement and
     exquisite touch of humor which cannot be equalled among Orthodox
     publications. The 'Register,' however, is the only Unitarian paper
     that I am well acquainted with. A widowed sister-in-law who is with
     me also became a Unitarian through Miss Ellis. She is a subscriber
     to 'The Unitarian.' We also have Channing's Works and the 'Oriental
     Christ,' which I bought through Miss Ellis, and some of Freeman
     Clarke's books; so that we have the companionship of much of the
     best Unitarian thought, although we are denied the privilege of a
     personal ministry."

From Springfield, Ohio:--

     "I have been greatly benefited by the papers, sermons, etc., you
     have so kindly sent me. Hope to have them continued. Will try to
     have some Unitarian volumes put in our public library. After
     reading the papers I loan them out to others. Some sermons thus
     pass into six or eight homes. They set people to thinking. I thank
     you, and your good Society, for the broad Christian education you
     are giving me. Will do all I can as your missionary here."

Rev. Samuel May, Leicester, Mass., having offered to send his "Register"
to some one, Miss Ellis arranged that it should go to the writer of the
above, who acknowledged it as follows:--

     "Your postal received. I am very grateful for this kindness, and,
     as I read the 'Register' this morning, I resolved to use it for
     others also.... Can't your Association give the ball a push at this

The following extract is from the first letter of a new correspondent,
dated Dec. 8, 1885. To him was begun the last postal card, which she was
unable to finish. She was so eager about it, dictating faster than one
could write. "Tell him I think he will like us when he knows us better,"
she said.

     "Your postal came all right, also copies of several tracts, and
     specimens of 'Register' and 'Unity.' They are mainly in lines of
     thought which I have been working on for some years. I am at one
     with the authors in main points, but not prepared to accept all of
     the so-called advanced or radical expressions. My own experience,
     observation, and reflection seem to show that they have swung too
     far from Orthodoxy, and the truth lies between; but I am not fit to
     decide yet. From the pamphlet of selections of Channing's writings,
     with which I am particularly pleased, I have derived some ideas
     which inspire me for a greater activity, and I hope a more
     effective activity, in my work of teaching.... I have a friend who
     also feels dissatisfied with current Orthodoxy. If you see fit, I
     wish you to send him some of those tracts. I wish to use my copies
     here, or I would send them."

The estimation in which Miss Ellis was held by some of her
fellow-workers appears in the following extracts from letters and

At the conclusion of a letter, a part of which is given elsewhere, Rev.
A. A. Livermore, President of Meadville Theological School, says:--

     "But though disinterested and devoted to family interests and
     helpful to the growing households of her brothers and sisters, the
     crowning interest that came to absorb and inspire her advanced
     Christian life was the propagation of her own Unitarian faith,
     early learned, later disciplined, and mellowed and sanctified by
     trial and years. What had been a stay and staff to her own mind and
     heart she was anxious to communicate to others. Hence she sought
     the instrumentalities of the pen and press, and the Post Office
     Mission sprang into being,--the invention of a Christian woman's
     heart, bent on doing good spiritually. The zeal, fidelity,
     sympathy, and adaptation with which she developed and pursued this
     work have been told elsewhere. It is another lesson to teach us
     that ever new means will arise, as time and opportunity serve, for
     the faithful in heart and life to hasten the coming of the Master's
     kingdom of righteousness and love. Miss Ellis infused a sweetness
     and sympathy all her own into her mission. To her it was no task,
     but a delight, as her letters show,--her meat and drink to help
     struggling souls to light and Christian faith. Peace to her
     beautiful and saintly memory!"

       *       *       *       *       *

           (From Rev. S. J. Barrows, editor "Christian Register.")

                           A CANDLE OF THE LORD.

     It was a feeble socket that held it. It was a constant surprise
     that so small a candle could give forth so much light. But its
     special mission was not so much to illumine the world with its own
     light as it was to ignite other minds and hearts from its own
     flame. "Behold how much wood is kindled by how small a fire!" says
     the apostle. Nothing is small, it has been said, which is great in
     its consequences. It does not need a stroke of lightning from
     heaven to raze Chicago to the ground: a little lamp-flame near a
     pile of hay is sufficient. We forget sometimes the power of a
     single humble life to extend and duplicate its influence. We have
     never learned yet how far the little candle can throw its beams,
     when its waves of light and heat come in contact with minds and
     hearts that are prepared for the illumination it may give. The wire
     and the battery have not entirely superseded the torch-bearer. The
     lamps in the house may have been filled, the gas may be ready to
     turn on; what is needed is for some one to go about with match or
     torch or candle, and tip the burner with its flame.

     So, as we have said, it was the mission of this candle of the Lord
     to ignite other minds and hearts. She had discovered that the vast
     system of intercommunication established by the post-office might
     be used for moral as well as for commercial means. In connection
     with a faithful co-worker, she devoted herself to the dissemination
     of kindling literature. Set like a luminous panel amid a great wall
     of advertisements was a brief notice, in some of the large Western
     dailies, that those who wished Liberal religious literature might
     have it for the asking, and by sending to the Cincinnati Post
     Office Mission. In the columns of this paper, from time to time, we
     have shown what a wide-spread influence these little notices had.
     They opened avenues of communication to many hungry souls. The
     confidence of many in doubt and perplexity was secured. The lady
     who was called to this special work had a keen intuition as to what
     was needed in each special case. It was not only that she sent the
     right tracts and the right books, and thus set up guide-posts for
     groping men and women; not less prized by many of her
     correspondents was the simple, earnest faith and cordial sympathy
     which she expressed in her own letters. Many are grateful to her
     for pointing out the way and giving the right impulse at the right
     time. Prevented by deafness from taking an active part in social
     intercourse, she yet found an opportunity to unstop the deaf ears
     of others and to open their blind eyes. In this Post Office Mission
     work was a channel for her faithful and consecrated endeavors.

     We cannot estimate the radiating influence of such a life. Its
     quickening flame has gone from heart to heart, and it is destined
     to go still further. Her devoted example has given an impulse to
     many other women in the Unitarian body, who are sowing in the same
     field the seed for an abundant harvest. It is now seen that this
     diffusion of our literature is one of the mightiest means for
     propagating our faith. If such a devoted woman, working
     independently, could accomplish so much, how much more might be
     effected by thorough organizations and wide co-operation for the
     same purpose!

     Her best monument will be the prosecution and extension of the work
     to which she gave her life. It was but a pair of lines in the
     "Deaths" of the last week's "Register" which told that the candle
     had gone out, but its flame is still propagated in the lives it has
     served to kindle. The great work of her life was done far beyond
     the circle of her immediate influence; and there are many who have
     never seen her in the flesh, who will still feel that the name of
     Sarah Ellis represents an abiding spiritual reality.

       *       *       *       *       *

             (From Rev. George A. Thayer in "Unity," Jan. 23, 1886.)

                                 SARAH ELLIS.

     Sarah Ellis, the faithful organizer of the Cincinnati Post Office
     Mission, and the pioneer in that admirable form of the ministry of
     Unitarian doctrine through the writing of letters and the
     circulation of religious literature, "went up higher" from her
     sick-bed, on Sunday evening, December 27. There are many, East and
     West, to whom her wise guidance in spiritual perplexities has been
     as a strong hand lifting them from confusion and doubt concerning
     all religion, into tranquil joy, who will read that she is dead,
     with the shock which comes with an unforewarned calamity. For
     almost up to her last hour she was carrying on her correspondence
     with the wide circle of men and women to whom she periodically sent
     glad tidings of a reasonable faith, and never giving intimation to
     the most regular of these correspondents that she was any less
     vigorous of health than usual. For many months her friends had seen
     the end approaching, and very likely she herself had understood
     that "the task was great, the day short, and it was not incumbent
     upon her to complete the work." But her inexorable conscience,
     blended with her delight in having found at last, within this
     recent five years, a work needing to be done, and calling into use
     her store of admirable wisdom for such business, kept her at her
     duty until the body ceased to obey the will.

     Only the people who knew Miss Ellis well could understand her rare
     fitness for her office, through long and ripe study of Unitarian
     religious literature, and through her genius for apprehending at
     once what special reading and counsel her various applicants for
     light upon their darkened ways of the spirit needed to
     receive,--only those to whom she spoke the word in season, or those
     nearer home to whom she was a quiet exemplar in holy things, can
     appreciate the quality of virtue enclosed in that fragile and
     infirm body, which shines on earth only "in minds made better by
     its presence," but shines with renewed honor elsewhere in the house
     of many mansions.

            *       *       *       *       *

     It was not my good fortune to know Miss Ellis personally, but her
     works have praised her East as well as West. Her death is a great
     calamity to the cause, as well as a great sorrow to her friends;
     but she has put life and power into a good instrument of influence,
     and it will live.

                                     REV. GRINDALL REYNOLDS,

              _Secretary American Unitarian Association, Boston, Mass._

       *       *       *       *       *

                             LEICESTER, Mass, April 10, 1886.

     ... Her communications made no mention of her infirmities or
     illness; and her death was a great surprise. I had become quite
     interested in her manner of doing her work; the perfect
     intelligence, good sense, and self-reliance she manifested.-----of
     Springfield, Ohio, has written to me in the highest appreciation of
     her helpfulness to him.... I enclose three of her postal cards,
     which, if quite convenient, may come back to me. [On one of these
     postal cards Mr. May has indorsed, "Miss Ellis lived but about a
     month after this was written. Her death was a great and immediate
     loss to the cause of a wise and large Christian faith in the
     West."] She was eminently worthy of a special commemoration and

                 Respectfully yours,          Samuel J. May.

       *       *       *       *       *

     I have thought of you often since the "Christian Register" brought
     the news of Miss Ellis's death, and am moved to express my sympathy
     for the loss you have met,--a loss which all of us share indeed. I
     suppose it was very good to _her_ to be summoned from a state of
     feebleness; but it will not be easy, I believe, to fill the vacant
     place. Perhaps her own inspiration will rest upon her successor,
     and so she will indeed help to carry on the work which she has done
     so beautifully.

     I suppose the time will come, some day, when the loss of a good
     worker in our Conference will not be felt so seriously as now; but
     we are far too few as yet.

                                              MISS ABBY W. MAY,

                   _President Women's Auxiliary Conference, Boston, Mass._

       *       *       *       *       *

     Though I had had but comparatively little correspondence with Miss
     Ellis, that little had made me regard her as a personal friend, and
     I felt especially drawn towards her after I learned about her
     deafness, for that was my own mother's trial for many years. It is
     a comfort to think that all suffering and weakness are over for
     her; and so we can but rejoice that she has entered upon the
     blessed life, although the feeling of loss must be very great. I
     have thought often of Mr. Beach's sudden death last summer, during
     the last few weeks, and I was glad to tell our friends, at the
     meeting the other day, of Miss Ellis's tender, helping sympathy for
     his mother and sisters at that time. I think one can hardly help
     feeling that perhaps Miss Ellis and the young friend whom she had
     led to a bright and happy faith may already have met and rejoiced
     together in the heavenly life. Much sympathy has been expressed
     here for Miss Ellis's father. I hope that the thought of all that
     she has gained is a constant comfort and help to him.

                                       MRS. J. I. W. THACHER,

                _Secretary Women's Auxiliary Conference, Boston, Mass._

       *       *       *       *       *

     The news of Miss Ellis's departure from among us filled us all with
     grief and regret; and yet we feel she is so sure to continue her
     good work there, that we ought not to _regret_. What a delightful
     awakening for her when, with no feeling of weakness or pain, she
     opens her eyes to find herself surrounded by those who have gone
     before, whose lives she had gladdened here, and to learn that part
     of her mission there is to meet and welcome her host of friends,
     personal and parochial, as they follow her over there! How many
     people will miss her here! Ten times one is ten. Their number
     cannot be estimated.

                                         MISS F. LE BARON,

                _Sec. Western Women's Unitarian Conf., Chicago, Ill._

       *       *       *       *       *

     I want to express my great sympathy for you and your Society in the
     loss of your friend Miss Ellis.

     Although I knew she had been an invalid for a long time, the news
     of her death was a great shock to me. She has been so kind in
     helping me to get started in the Post Office Mission, and made me
     feel so truly that she stood ready to help always, that I cannot
     but feel that I have in her death lost a good friend, which must be
     the case with many others all over the country. She has left us all
     the memory of a brave example, which ought to fill us with the
     desire to carry on the good work by her begun, more faithfully than

                                       MISS ELLEN M. GOULD,

                      _Sec. Post Office Mission Committee, Davenport, Ia._

       *       *       *       *       *

     I have just heard of the death of Miss Ellis. How great a loss it
     is to all of us, but how great a _gain_ to all of us that she has
     lived, and illustrated the possibilities of a life lived under even
     so many limitations as hedged her about! Will you not send me a
     sketch of her life and work for the next number of the "Unitarian"?

                                    MISS ELIZA R. SUNDERLAND,

                           _Assistant Editor "Unitarian," Chicago, Ill._

       *       *       *       *       *

     I had heard from time to time that she was feeble, but her fragile
     frame held so strong a spirit, that I hoped she would triumph over
     bodily weakness for many years to come. The world can ill spare
     such as she. Each time I saw her I was impressed more and more with
     the strength of her character and the clearness and directness of
     her mind. Upon meeting a stranger of whom one has heard much there
     is almost always a little period of bewilderment before the ideal
     and real can be harmonized, even where there is not disappointment;
     and at first I was at a loss how to reconcile the strong,
     well-balanced mind, with its keen insight,--as revealed in her
     letters,--with the delicate, dainty, sweet-looking little woman,
     shut out from her kind to so great a degree by her affliction. Yet
     when her tiny hand grasped mine so firmly at our first meeting,
     there was that in the clasp that reconciled and united my ideal
     with the actual; they were only two sides of the same nature. She
     was so strong, too, in being so genuine and so full of faith. In
     these halting, doubting times, a faith in the eternal verities so
     strong and unwavering as hers is like a rock to many a tossed and
     uncertain soul. Such people do not know their own power of helping.
     I can never refrain from questioning _why_ those who are so needed
     in the world must be taken, when the useless and worthless are
     left, unless it is that they go that they may leave the _spirit_ of
     their service to do a larger work as a heritage to all who will
     accept it. Though dead, they speak with many tongues.

                                          MISS FRANCES L. ROBERTS,

             _Ex-Sec. Western Women's Unitarian Conf., Chicago, Ill._

       *       *       *       *       *

     A Union Meeting of the Women's Auxiliary Conference for Suffolk
     County, which includes all the branches of the Conference in the
     Unitarian churches of Boston, was held at Arlington Street Church
     on Thursday, Jan. 21, 1886.

     At this meeting was officially announced, with the most profound
     regret, the death of Miss Ellis, of Cincinnati. A brief account of
     her life in connection with the work of the Conference was given by
     Mrs. J. I. W. Thacher, Mrs. Kate Gannett Wells, and Miss Abby W.
     May, and it was unanimously agreed that there should be entered on
     the records of the meeting, and transmitted to the friends of Miss
     Ellis, an expression of our fullest appreciation of her beautiful
     and self-sacrificing character, our high estimation of the work in
     which she had already accomplished so much, and our deep and
     earnest sympathy for those who have suffered an irreparable loss.
     Our sorrow is not without the hope that the tender memory of a life
     so pure and unselfish, and such earnest devotion to all the
     principles of our religious faith, may influence for good the lives
     of each and all of us, and prove an incentive to every member of
     our Conference to further activity in the work we are trying to do.

                                EMILY A. FIFIELD, _Director_.

    _For the Suffolk County Branches of the Women's Auxiliary Conference._

       *       *       *       *       *

                                  PORTLAND, ME., Jan. 17, 1886.

     MRS. FAYETTE SMITH, Director of Women's Conference:

     At a recent meeting of the Portland branch of the Women's Auxiliary
     Conference, an article in the "Christian Register," entitled "A
     Candle of the Lord," was read; and on motion of Mrs. Dr. J. T.
     Gilman, the Secretary was requested to express to your Conference
     the sympathy of our little band in the death of Miss Sarah Ellis.
     While we cannot have the sense of personal loss that you feel in
     the extinguishment of that light, we have the highest admiration
     for the work she accomplished under such limitations, and trust
     that her example will be an incentive to every Unitarian woman to
     do something to continue it, till the flame she kindled may become
     a glorious light, glowing in every hamlet of our common country.

                    Very truly,            MARY R. MCINTIRE.


       *       *       *       *       *

                     57 HAWLEY ST., SYRACUSE, N.Y., Feb. 7, 1886.

     DEAR MRS. SMITH,--As I have had the pleasure of a little
     correspondence with dear Miss Ellis, our Society have asked me to
     express to you our deep sympathy in your loss. She must have been a
     remarkable woman to have accomplished so much when so feeble. Her
     warm heart spoke plainly in her letters, and we shall regret more
     and more, as time passes, that we shall receive them no more. Let
     us believe that her freed spirit is not far off, but is still
     interested, and far more able to help in the work she loved so
     well. Her sphere is only larger. Our branch of the Woman's
     Auxiliary Conference resolved to incorporate in its minutes a
     resolution of regret at her death, and sympathy with you, and to
     preserve the "In Memoriam" you so kindly sent, among its papers.
     Please accept our warmest sympathy and expression of interest.

                    Yours sincerely,           FRANCES J. MYERS.

     _For the Syracuse Branch of the Women's Auxiliary Conference._

The Post Office Mission Committee at Davenport, Iowa, at their meeting
Feb. 10, also took formal action upon the death of Miss Ellis, and sent
expressions of "heartfelt regrets and sympathy" to the Cincinnati

                                     CHICAGO, March 29, 1886.

     A part of Thursday afternoon, May 13, will be given to the Women's
     Conference, and occupied with election of officers and report of
     Post Office Mission work. It seems very appropriate that something
     should be said at that time in memory of Miss Ellis; and Miss Le
     Baron and I request that you prepare the paper or remarks and
     present them.... We leave the form of the memorial entirely to your

                                           MRS. E. A. WEST,

                   _Pres. Western Women's Unitarian Conf., Chicago, Ill._

     In accordance with this request, Mrs. George Thornton, of
     Cincinnati, read the following memorial before the Western Women's
     Unitarian Conference, May 13, 1886:--

     Such an occasion as this, full of words of good counsel and
     cheer,--a reunion of the little band of women workers in the cause
     of Liberal Christianity,--will be incomplete if we do not mention
     one name, held in loving remembrance in the hearts of many here
     present, and of a still greater number scattered far and wide,
     whose lives have been touched to higher issues by the active
     ministrations of our beloved co-worker, Miss Sallie Ellis, who has
     laid down her work on earth and passed on to the great Hereafter.

     When we recall the fragile form, so full of the Spirit's life,
     which, rising above the many disabilities of physical suffering,
     accomplished so much in the brief years allotted her, we take
     courage, and thank God that we have had such spirits with us.
     Nothing doubting that their work continues here and elsewhere,
     though we know neither the manner nor conditions of its progress.

     We who are cheered in moments of sorrow by the great faith that the
     future of those who have passed behind "the veil which hath no
     outward swing" will be but a continuance of the _best_, under
     nobler conditions, rejoice, even in the midst of personal
     bereavement, that Miss Ellis has entered into that rest, so nobly
     won by her patient endurance of the heavy burdens laid upon
     her,--burdens which yet never seemed to close her sympathy for
     others, but only served to quicken her eagerness to work for the
     extension of that vital faith she found so satisfying.

     It is to her warm heart, and earnest desire to help others in the
     midst of spiritual difficulties, that we owe the unique but most
     efficacious method of reaching such through the medium of postal

     Scientists tell us that each wavelet of sound, produced by the
     tiniest cause, goes on in ever-widening circles of ether, to the
     uttermost limits of creation. Had we but senses acute enough to
     receive the sensation, how full of pulsing sound would all Nature
     become! It seems to me that this keener sense, enabling her to
     catch the questionings of troubled souls, became one of the great
     compensations of Miss Ellis's later years. As the outer organs of
     hearing became dulled to what was passing around her, the inner or
     spiritual became more observant; and as we listened to the
     correspondence which came to her from North and South, East and
     West, from the home and the camp, from the teacher and the taught,
     we seemed to stand in some great whispering-gallery, echoing with
     the sighs and anxious inquiries of seekers after truth who sought
     aid in solving the great problems of the soul's life. As from time
     to time came back acknowledgments of gratitude for aid rendered,
     either by her sympathizing letters or the Liberal literature which
     she widely disseminated, we realized what a great lever had been
     applied in this simple way to the spiritual needs of many.

     It is in this phase of Miss Ellis's work that she has become better
     known to the members of the Women's Auxiliary Conference; and it is
     of this especially I have spoken to-day.

     But the roots of this activity lie deeper, and this work was but
     the fruitage of a life which drew its strength to suffer and
     endure, as well as to labor and to wait, from those fountains of a
     rational faith for whose extension we have met here this week.

     To her it was the manna of life, and it was fitting that her last
     years should have been spent in unselfish endeavor to extend its

     Knowing how heartily she would have entered into the spirit of our
     meetings during this Conference, we cannot leave unsaid the word of
     tender remembrance which links her memory indissolubly with the
     work of our Women's Auxiliary Conference. The little band who are
     engaged in spreading the light of a higher faith, in lifting the
     load of crude ideas in regard to our relations to God and humanity,
     may surely feel that though our friend "has joined the choir
     invisible," yet her work "lives on in lives made better by her
     presence," still keeping alive the union with us who remain
     behind,--a help and incentive to continued progress.

     No better key-note of Miss Ellis's life can be given than in the
     words of a poem copied by her into her diary, January, 1881. It
     was taken from the "Woman's Journal," and was entitled:--


    Nothing noble, nothing great
      The world has ever known,
    But began a seed of thought
      In some generous nature sown.

    Any soul may rise to be
      A new saviour to its race;
    Every man and woman fills,
      Well or ill, a prophet's place.

    In our Now the Then lies folded,
      All its wealth, and all its power;
    From the promise of to-day
      Bursts to-morrow's perfect flower.

    Every deed of solid worth
      Helps the world to find its place;
    Every life of homely truth
      Raises higher all the race.

    "Ye are gods," the Scriptures saith;
      "Yea," our spirits make reply;
    Let us claim our birthright, then,--
      Prove our high divinity.

    We too may be, if we will,
      Athlete winners every one,
    Conquerors of fate and chance,
      Lords of all beneath the sun.

    Let us thitherward aspire,
      Take whate'er we find to do,
    Making life what life was meant--
      Something liberal, earnest, true!

       *       *       *       *       *

University Press: John Wilson & Son, Cambridge.

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