With this number we complete our Thirtieth Volume. According to the general estimation of the longevity of mankind, in this period of the world, a generation has filled up the measure of its days, and passed away, never more to return to the transitory scenes of time, since we commenced our labors in conducting the publication of our humble sheet. We have neither the time or space to sum up all the changes which thirty years have wrought, what numbers who patronized us in the commencement have finished their course on earth, and have gone to their destiny in the world of spirits. Many of our valued correspondents have written their last communication for our columns, their labors of love are completed, - and many who extended to us their wishes for our success, in what thirty years ago seemed to be a hazardous undertaking, have also passed away - but others still survive who have steadily, faithfully, and kindly sustained us throughout the whole period, are still preserved. We also may, with propriety, record a change in regard to ourselves. In the prime of life, being but about thirty-one years of age at the commencement of this publication, we have become old and infirmed, yet blessed with a good degree of health, and we have great reason to thank God for his preserving goodness and sustaining power manifested in sparing our life, and in all the deliverances he has so graciously bestowed upon us.
In regard to the history of our paper, but few of our readers need to be informed as most of them have observed that we have not enjoyed uninterrupted tranquillity, nor altogether escaped the perplexities and trials to which our position has exposed us. But it is our happiness to say that the Lord has been very gracious, and we are still preserved.
The calamitous war which is now raging in our country has had a very depressing effect on our circulation, depriving us of all that portion of our subscribers south of the disputed lines, and has rendered our facilities for supplying our paper regularly to those of our subscribers who live in some of the border States, very precarious, on account of the frequent interruption of our mails, has greatly reduced our number of subscribers, and the effects of the war has been felt severely by many in our Northern States, who are deprived of the means of making their wonted remittances. These causes, together with the greatly increased expense of publishing, and the depreciation of our paper currency, would suggest the propriety of suspending the publication for the present, were it not for the fact that in such trying times its publication is more imperiously demanded than at other times. When war is devastating our country, and few families escape the loss of some cherished member, while the lowering clouds gather blackness, and a general gloom is depicted on the countenance of those who love peace: and while the former facilities for private correspondence is, to a great degree, cut off, Christians who have formerly enjoyed the privilege of speaking often to each other, through the “Signs of the Times” would regard it as a severe calamity if, in addition to all their other trials, they should be deprived of the consolation of hearing from each other through this medium of correspondence.
However hard the times may press upon the brethren, this is undoubtedly the more economical method of corresponding. Our letter can, through this medium, be read by several thousands, and each number will, in return, bring to the writer several letters of profitable and, in these times, cheering correspondence from various parts of the country.
But, after all that may be said by us on the subject, it is for our brethren, sisters, and friends to say whether, under all the circumstances, the privilege of hearing from each other twice a month, from all accessible parts of our country, is worth to them the expense of One Dollar a year, and, as they shall elect, we shall be governed.
Before we close this article, we wish to return our grateful acknowledgments to our former patrons, and also to those have favored us with their correspondence; and, as many of those who have contributed liberally in former times to fill up our columns, have either been called home to their crowns of immortality, or are so situated, by the belligerent condition of our States, as to prevent them from presenting to us their letters of love and fellowship, the Lord has graciously raised up others to fill up the ranks, and supply profitable and interesting correspondence, so that we have no reason to doubt that the forth coming volume will be fully as interesting and edifying as any which have preceded it.
December 15, 1862.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 5
Pages 302 - 303