“Adieu, Susan, The Lord bless & comfort you — N. Stacy”

It probably wouldn’t hurt to write about Universalism once in a while.

Yesterday, I received a letter I bought after a winning auction on eBay. The close is the title of this post.

It was written by key Universalist minister Nathaniel Stacy to his wife from Philadelphia, July 12, 1826. I bid on the letter because he mentions exchanging with the minister of the “old church in Lombard St.” and I had just been in Philadelphia, and saw the building, which today is the Kesher Israel synagogue. (It was night and the photos didn’t come out. See this restoration architect’s page.) He’s there — to use our modern term — in a short interim ministry. The details of letter a familiar to anyone who has either been away from one’s family for several weeks, or has served a church. Plus, his hurried hand (and complaints that his wife isn’t writing back) add some color to one of our denomination’s greatest evangelists.

He complains about the “home hospitality” but notes — more than once — how healthy Philly is. He misses home and his children. He notes with pride his article in a forthcoming copy of the local Herald of Salvation, and how he has helped the publisher (and his landlord) in it. But Stacy is right when he wrote “I have assisted Br. M[orse] in that work as much as I could since I have been here — it is quite a task for him, & I think they will discontinue it when the present year is out.” (He did: Herald of Salvation only ran 1826-1827. Link.)

He had been offered preaching and lecturing in New York and Albany, if the money makes it worthwhile.

But it is the endearing bits that make this letter: “Tell the children to be good children — I think of them almost every moment & and if they are good I will bring them something. Kiss Clara for me, O! I want to see her.”

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. My name is Laurie Shaffer and I also bid on the letter from Nathaniel Stacy to his sister in VT. While in VT I copied a file on the history of the church. I would love to have a copy of the letter that he wrote. I will share the information that I got from the file in VT.
    Thank you
    Laurie Shaffer

  2. This sounds like a great idea. I’m hoping, hoping, hoping to get a scanner for Christmas, so if you can wait until then, I can send you a high-quality copy.

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