Notwithstanding the dreadful scourge which has fallen upon our country, the devastation of war, dismemberment (at least for the present) of our States, the interruptions and suspension of postal intercommunication with the seceded States, by which nearly one half of our former circulation is cut off, the advance in the price of paper, and other expenses of a printing establishment, as also in the cost of nearly all the necessaries of life, we have been enabled to stem the tide to adversity, and to continue our publication thus far through the current year, which is now drawing to its close. And now we submit to our brethren, friends, patrons, subscribers, and agents, shall it be continued through another year? We will not now attempt to urge the importance of sustaining the “Signs of the Times”, as a medium of Christian correspondence, through which the afflicted saints can communicate words of consolation, and comfort, of admonition and instruction, to the tried and afflicted saints scattered abroad; for of the importance of our brotherly correspondence, each for himself can judge; but we find it necessary to remind the friends of the publication that to continue it, there are obstacles to be overcome, which the Editor and Publisher, single-handed, is unable to surmount.
Having, within the last two years, fitted up our office with one of Hoe’s Cylinder Presses, steam engine, and fixtures, at a great expense, we find ourselves, at the close of this year, about $3,000 or $3,500 in debt. The interest on this alone, together with increased, and still increasing, current expenses, admonish us that the friends of the paper must decide for us, and for themselves, whether we shall be sustained or not.
Some of our subscribers have informed us that owing to the excessive pressure of the times, they feel compelled to discontinue their support for the present, but intend again, if spared, to resume their patronage as soon as circumstances will permit. We are aware of the pressure of the times, especially as they bear upon the greater portion of our brethren: but we beg them to consider that to ensure the permanent continuance of the paper they, as well as ourselves, must make an unusual effort. There are probably but few of our friends, although generally in limited circumstances, but what can, from their limited resources, in the course of a year, save a small sum of one dollar, even if they should deny themselves of other indulgence: but there are some we know who love to receive and read the “Signs of the Times” who have no means of raising even that small amount. To each, however, it has been our uniform practice to send the paper gratuitously, and we have many of that class now on our list; beside many who have neglected to pay their arrearses. We have thought we would make the following propositions:
First - Let every subscriber feel himself especially requested to make an exertion to increase our circulation by obtaining, beside his own, at least one new, paying subscriber.
Second - Those who are able and willing, beside paying in advance for their own, send in what they can afford to be applied to assist us in furnishing gratuitously the paper to such aged, or poor brethren or sisters, who desire to read, but are unable to pay, and all such contributions shall be faithfully so applied.
Third - Let those who are indebted to us, as soon as possible, remit the amounts due, and, if possible, forward also advance payment for the next year.
We feel so fully persuaded that our friends, and brethren will act on the foregoing suggestions that we shall, if life and health be spared, continue our labors through the next year; and then, if not sustained, we shall be compelled to discontinue the publication.
To us it seems there never has been a time when the publication of the “Signs of the Times” were so much needed as in these critical and trying times. While all is confusion and strife around us in the world, and while the witnesses are being slain, and as the tune of the overthrow of Babylon is so speedily advancing, let every feeble knee be confirmed, and every hand that hangs down be strengthened; and, “In the name of our God we will set our banners.”
Our terms for the next year, notwithstanding the increase in the price of the paper, etc., will be the same as formerly.
Brethren and friends, in ordering the “Signs of the Times”, please bear in mind that we shall be happy to also supply all orders for our “Baptist Hymn Book”. For terms, see advertisement on our last page.
November 15, 1862.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 5
Pages 288 – 290