"If Elected, I Am Willing to Go"
John A. Broadus had been elected to the first faculty in 1858 and decided that he could not leave his church. Boyce continued to work for the successful establishment of the seminary, which included continuing to urge Broadus to accept the invitation. By April 1859 Broadus consented to be among those that dared to initiate this new, and somewhat controversial, venture for Southern Baptists. His friendship with Boyce was no small matter in this decision.
Written on April 21, 1859.
Dear Bro. Boyce:
With much difficulty, and much distress, I have at length reached a decision. I tremble at the responsibility of the thing either way, and hesitate to write words which must be irrevocable. Butů if elected, I am willing to go. May God graciously direct and bless, and if I have erred in judgment, may he overrule, to the glory of his name.
Jacta est alea. Do not fear that I shall change my mind. And my dear Boyce, suffer me to say, that few personal considerations about the matter are so attractive to me, as the prospect of being associated in a great work with you. I rejoice in a warm mutual friendship now; and I trust we shall ere long learn to love each other as brothers. Pardon me for just saying what I feel.
Please keep all this private. I feel some natural delicacy about having it known that I am willing when it is not certain that the great Board of Trustees will elect me. Of course, your Provisional Committee must know. But those who may come to Richmond must keep dark about it for the sake of my people here, who need not be distressed till the thing is settled. Only four or five persons here know, and they can be trusted.
Now I beg that you will come to Richmond, unless some matter of life or death keeps you away. We can do something there, privately if not publicly. I learned, in confidence, last week, that a scheme was on foot for keeping Manly in Richmond. Come, that we may counteract it. Then I shall need to consult you about a variety of points, as to the Seminary and as to the establishment of my family in Greenville. I must continue in my pastorate till 1st August, both for sake of the church, and to get as much as possible of the year's salary.
Will there be any money for the library? I lack many books which will be almost indispensable in the beginning. I cannot buy them all myself. Will the Furman University let us have the theological part of their library? And if so, can you bring with you to Richmond a catalogue of its contents?
I shall be sadly disappointed if you cannot come. I expect to leave for Richmond on May 2nd. If you cannot write in time to reach me here before that day, direct to care of Dr. Jeter, Richmond.
Begging to be kindly remembered to Mrs. Boyce, I am
John A. Broadus
I shall now write to Winkler and urge.