Extract of a letter from Edward Partridge to his wife living in Painsville, Ohio, dated Aug. 5th 1831, from Independence, Jackson Co., Missouri.
“I have a strong desire to return to Painsville this fall, but must not; you know I stand in an important station; and as I am occasionally chastened, I sometimes feel as though I must fall; not to give up the cause but fear my station is above what I can perform to the acceptance of Heavenly Father. I hope you and I may so conduct ourselves, as at last to land our souls in the haven of eternal rest. Pray for me that I may not fail. I might write more but will not. Farewell for the present.”
Extract of a letter written by Edward Partridge to his parents and brothers and sister(s): William and wife, Oliver and wife, Emily, Mercy and husband, Maria, Parmela, Samuel and wife, John, George and Cotton. I think it was written after the persecution of the saints in Jackson County, date not known.
“ . . . I want to be saved in the third heaven or Celestial kingdom of God. This kingdom is reserved for the church of the first born; even those who have come up through much tribulation. This is the Kingdom that a man cannot see unless he is born again, this is the Kingdom that a man cannot enter except he is born of water and the spirit. This is the Kingdom that a man must forsake all things for, he must have faith sufficient to even lay down his life for it if required. I have forsaken the world for this Kingdom, and how soon I shall be called upon to lay down my life for the sake of Christ I know not; but if it is ever required of me, I hope I may have fortitude to withstand the trial, and not deny the Lord that brought me.
Notwithstanding, you are honest men, I ask “Are you honest to God in all things; if not, have you a conscience void of offence before Him? I leave you to answer those questions yourselves. I can assure you it is not a trifling thing to give up all for Christ’s sake; to be willing to even lay down our lives in his cause. I know more about these things than I did when I saw you last. I have been in the hands of a wicked mob and knew not but that they would kill me. I have even sat in my house for hours with my door open expecting the mob to take me a second time, when one of their leaders had sworn that I should die that day or he would. You may judge for yourselves what were my feelings. I can say I felt composed and was determined to lay down my life if God required it. I knew they had no power only as it was granted unto them. I have seen the mob by hundreds armed and to all appearances, ready to destroy men, women, and children, companies on horseback (visiting) the houses of women and children where there was no man, threatening the lives of all that did not clear out before night. They appeared to me more like friends of hell than men. Priests headed at least two of these companies. I do not know but that the relation of these scenes will more than ever convince you that I am not sane; but be it so, you must have your own opinion. I know I am not deluded.
“I suppose that you think that you never will persecute any people as we have been persecuted; take heed then that you do not oppose this work, for when the Lord withdraws his spirit, you know not what you will be left to do. The Savior told his disciples that the days would come that those that put them to death would think they were doing God’s service. And verily I say unto you, that they that are not for us are against us, and the days will come that all parties will join together, as they did in Jackson Co., to oppose the truth and put down the people of God. Therefore I say take heed to yourselves lest peradventure you are flighting against God. Christ and his apostles were never known to persecute, but love all things which that wicked generation was pleased to put upon them. From this we learn that those who have the spirit of Christ never persecute; but they always are persecuted as we may learn both from sacred and profane history. The Bible says: They that have not the spirit of Christ are none of His. Here is a criterion whereby we may judge ourselves . . .”
“I once more entreat you to carefully examine this subject, make not up a hasty judgment, for truth will bear an investigation spare no pains to ascertain the truth, and remember that the spirit of truth guideth into all truth, throw aside all prejudice and remember that one truth is worth more than one thousand errors. If you are wise, you are wise for yourselves; and may the Lord help you by his holy spirit that you may be wise in time, that in eternity we may meet in the Celestial Kingdom of God to spend eternity in his presence.”
(I will say, the foregoing letter, or extract was taken from scraps of paper that the letter sent was copied from and perhaps considerably improved. Emily P. Young)
I have just ascertained the date of the letter which is Oct. 22nd, 1834 and signed Edward Partridge – by Emily P. Young)
To the Latter-day Saints, Jan. 1st, 1836
Dear Brethren in the Lord. In the course of my life, I have observed many irregularities, and improprieties, in families. I have seen many fathers and mothers who appeared to be, in a great measure, destitute of wisdom upon the subject of the order and government of their families.
I have also noted, to my sorrow, that too many of the saints, or those who belong with them, fail to set their houses in order, before the Lord. I feel the importance of this subject, perhaps, more than many of my brethren.
I have long desired to see the day, when I could situate my rising family, so as to be free from the contaminating influence of this wicked generation. Believing as I do in a gathering of the saints, you will readily perceive that self interest, if I had no other motive, would prompt me to encourage my brethren to set their houses in order; and to have their children in that perfect subjection to the law of the Lord, which it requires. For if we come together, and live in villages or cities, with our children growing up in wickedness; saucy, profane, and quarrelsome; lying, back-biting, tattling and the like; you can perceive, that I for one, shall labor to regulate a family that has been long in confusion, especially if it has become large, as in the case of many, when they embrace the everlasting gospel, or covenant.
But notwithstanding, the work is great, yet be encouraged my brethren; and remember the old adage that “A continual dropping will wear a stone,” therefore be patient, and persevere in the work of reforming your families until they are in order before the Lord. I will now proceed to point out some things which I consider to be errors in the management of families. It is wrong for husbands and wives to be jesting with each other. For Paul says, “But fornication, and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not once be named among you as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient; but rather given of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.” (Ephesians 5)
It is not right for a woman to usurp authority over her husband. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. “But I suffer not a woman to teach, not to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” (Tim 2 Ch. 11 and 12) It is not wisdom for either husband or wife to interfere with the other at the time he or she is correcting a child, but if either party discover an error in the other, with regard to his or her government, be careful not to tell your partner of it before the children; but rather when you are alone by yourselves, point out the fault of your partner in the spirit of meekness. I consider that for either to interfere with the other, and to take the child’s part, at the time of its being corrected, is one of the surest means that could be taken, to make the child headstrong and ungovernable. It is wrong to whip a child, when it accidently lets a plate, or tumbler fall and it breaks. A word of admonition, instructing them to be more careful for the future is sufficient. But when a child gets into a passion, and throws a plate or tumbler upon the floor, whether it breaks it or not, it is certainly an error to let that child go unpunished. It is also an error, to suffer ourselves to be in a passion when we punish a child.
I have known instances, of a child, while in a passion, throwing a teacup or saucer upon the floor and breaking it; the mother would, in haste strike the child, perhaps, two or three times; the child would bawl out as though it was half killed; the mother would bear with its crying for a long time; perhaps she would threaten to whip it if it did not stop, the child would still continue to cry because it was in a passion; the mother would at last become tired of the noise, and instead of punishing the child in a proper manner for the fault, she would give it a piece of sugar to stop it from crying; this is a very great error.
Parents run into another great error, by promising their children this, that, or the other thing, and then not performing those promises. It is a common thing for parents to speak to their children, and to tell them to do thus and so; the child frequently pays but little attention to what is told it by its parents; the parents speak again, saying, you must do what you were bidden to do, or I will whip you; the parent perhaps threatens the child in this way, a number of times; the child does not heed the command but goes and does the very reverse from what it was bidden to do; the parent neglects to fulfill its promise to the child; the child soon learns that its parent’s word is not to be depended upon, therefore, he heeds it not. No doubt many do not consider that such treatment is actually lying to their children, but in reality it is, and is a practice that ought to be done away with. It is not wisdom to let one child order, or command the other children; but the better way is to let them call upon each other, by the way of entreaty. The authority should always be kept in the head. The scripture says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right. Honor thy father and mother.” That is, you should respect, and obey your parents, if you wish for long life.
Notwithstanding, men are placed at the head of their families, yet it is not their privilege to tyranize over them; (Eph 6 ch. 4) “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the admonition of the Lord.” A man should love his wife as he loves himself and a woman should love and respect her husband as she loves and respects herself. (Eph 5 Ch. 25) Husbands love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it: And again, (Eph 5 Ch. 33), “Let every one of you in particular, so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. It is wisdom that a man so conduct himself, as to maintain a proper dignity in his family; and if he wishes to do this, let him never condescend to low, vulgar, indecent conversation, or actions; but let all his conversation be chaste and interesting, instructing and edifying. In this way he will command respect. Let the woman be reserved in all her conversation; and let all her looks and actions be chaste and modest “With shamefacedness and sobriety” always showing respect unto her husband, he being kind and obliging; in this way she will avoid giving occasion for any jealousy to rise in his breast. The Apostle Peter taught after this manner in the old time, the holy woman also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their husbands even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord; whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” Let husband and wife live together in that perfect union, which God has ordained for them; rendering to each other that respect which is their due; each one studying to understand the other’s natural disposition, or turn of mind; and conform theirs to it, as far as consistent with righteousness; and they will be blessed with choice blessings; but by not conforming to this rule many a newly married couple have had serious difficulties to encounter, which have sometimes led, unpleasantly, to a separation.
I now proceed to made a few observations farther, concerning what is wisdom to be done in the government of a family. It is wisdom for parents at all times, as I before observed, to set much examples before their families as are worthy of imitation. Be careful not to be scolding at your children often; when you speak to them, speak what you mean; be careful to reflect before you speak that when you speak, what you say may be spoken in wisdom.
Never be hasty in threatening your children, but when you have promised to your child a correction upon condition of disobedience; if it disobeys you, be sure never to neglect your word, but fulfill your promise; and if you will always be faithful to your word, you will find no difficulty in governing your children. When you correct your child, be sure that you are not in anger; be deliberate, and if convenient, take it by itself alone, and then and there, talk to it and reason with it, tell it why it is necessary to punish it; let it know that you intend to keep your word; and should it manifest a degree of humility without punishment, still I think it good to make at least some little show of punishment; especially if you have previously promised a punishment to it, that the child may not learn to be hypocritical.
But if the child be obstinate, you must be firm, yet not cruel; great judgement ought to be used with an obstinate child; first, talk to it; then punish it some; then reason with it again, and then punish it again, and then reason with it and punish it until it yields; but be careful to spend much the most part of the time in reasoning with it. It is better to spend half a day at a time with your child than to let it conquer you; the child once conquered will be apt to be a good child, if you pursue a steady course with it afterwards; and you never need to have much more trouble with it. I am not one of those who believe that it is necessary to whip children very often; yet I believe the saying of Solomon, the wise man is true, “Spare the rod, and spoil the child.” Many people think that children ought not to be corrected, or brought into any kind of subjection until they are so old, that it is difficult to make them obedient, even by those who have good government. “Chasten thy son while there is hope and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”
Children ought to be taught while young good manners, for nothing is more beautiful than to see them showing respect and honor to those who are their superior in age, and standing in society. To call by nicknames, or for children to their parents, or any man and woman, by their given names, is a practice that I for one do not approve of; I never call my children by nicknames, nor suffer one child to nickname another.
Cleanliness is a Christian virtue of so much importance that it must not be dispensed with, children should be taught it, both by precept and example. Teach children while young to wash themselves, comb their hair, and keep themselves neat and clean, and in a short time, they will delight in these things; they will, even before they are old enough to do it for themselves, if they have been rightly taught, ask to be washed, to have their heads combed and their noses wiped. I speak from experience in this as well as in many other things. How disgusting it is to those who have been brought up cleanly, to go into a house where they live in filth; where children, though dirty, yet innocently will gather around and perhaps want to be taken; whose noses and faces are so besmeared so to take them up and handle them; when on the other hand were they kept clean, it would be a real pleasure to take them and handle and kiss the little innocent creatures.
I hope that the above remarks about uncleanliness are not applicable to many of my brethren and sisters in the Lord; indeed I know that they are not; but should they hit the case of any, I hope that they may be profitable to them by assisting them to overcome that which is detestable in the sight of both God and man.
Edward Partridge - 1st Bishop
In the above are many good instructions, but in dealing with children, parents need to understand the nature of their children. Too much punishment may have an evil effect upon their future life. It is well to bend the spirit, but not break it. It is better to close the eyes to many things in children, than to be overly strict. Let them be taught by example, as well as precept. It requires great wisdom to bring up children properly. Be lenient as possible.
Emily Partridge Young