Amherst April 12, 1835
Rev. Mr. Tyler,
I have had many thoughts lately, & many queries about our new enterprize. I send you a few of these queries on the preceding page. Though I am very fearful of a long delay about commencing the buildings, I have not the ability of judging about the expediency of commencing them this season, so that I dare form an opinion. If the gentlemen of the Committee take time to consider the subject carefully, I shall be perfectly satisfied with their decision, whatever it may be. My only anxiety is, that this great question may receive so much time & thought, as to be carefully examined, & deliberately decided. Relative to the two last meetings, the fact seems to be, that the gentlemen were so oppressed, & troubled with the one question of location, that they had no time nor energies left to reach out & bring up for consideration other great questions relating to the enterprize.
If the business of raising funds has been somewhat retarded, or any other business, in consequence of the peculiar situation of the committee, there has been no fault anywhere. But the next meeting will be different and the work is now to be begun as it were. While I have the utmost confidence in the ability, & candid decisions of the committee, I must confess that I feel a degree of painful solicitude lest the gentlemen will some of them come together with so little reflection on the business which should be accomplished, & in so much haste to get through &return home to other important concerns, that some urgent business will be left unexamined, or that some important questions will be hastily decided.
I shall also take the liberty to write Mr. Todd a few lines on this subject.
Queries relating to the new seminary at South Hadley
Will there not be considerable hazard with regard to the impression on the Christian community to defer the commencement of building till another year? May it not be better to put up, or at least to commence a small part of the buildings the present season? In such a case, would it not be best to lay out the whole plan, according to the design of the Committee for the whole establishment, with the estimated expense, & then take a definite portion to be built the present year, deferring the cost till another year or longer?
If anything of this kind should be judged expedient by the Committee, will there not be some very important business to be accomplished at the next meeting, which ought not to be deferred till the last of May? Would it not be necessary to have a small executive Committee appointed, who can take the time immediately to do all the business, which would suffer by delay? If any contracts are to be made, could not some part of this business be done to much better advantage early in the season than later? Ought not measures for deciding on the building spot, &for obtaining a plan for buildings to be immediately adopted?
If there are not now on the General Committee a sufficient number of business men, who can take the time to fulfil the duties of an executive Committee on every branch of business, ought not some measures to be adopted at the next meeting to add to the General Committee such men as are needed? And is it not important that great care should be taken about adding more to the Committee, lest the number should be filled up without accomplishing the object?
There are two important objections to making preparations immediately
for commencing buildings the present summer. 1. The smallness of the sum
already raised. 2. The longtime before some part of it will become due.
In carrying out the undertaking, it will undoubtedly be the path of wisdom,
to avoid presuming on means which have not been literally secured, &
to avoid spending money faster than it has been obtained. But in the small
undertaking of erecting a small part of the buildings the present year,
will it not be safe to venture a little farther than can be done hereafter?
Would it not do to calculate on the raising of a few thousand dollars more
during the course of the summer considering the reception which the enterprize
has hitherto met & the extent of ground which is yet to be gone over?
And in this small beginning, would it not do to endeavor at a suitable
discount, to turn some that will be due in future years into ready money?
If the gentlemen of the Committee should judge it expedient, consider the
urgency of the case, to venture something, & go forward, possibly they
would be disappointed in their expectations. But on such a result, could
not the builders cease from their work, & the waiting walls be delayed
till funds could be raised, & till the money to be paid in future years,
should become due?