Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 40a, 1874

White, J. S.

Battle Creek, Michigan

July 10, 1874

Portions of this letter are published in 2Bio 437-438; 10MR 69-70.

Dear Husband:

It is one week ago today since I came to Battle Creek. I have not much that is interesting to write, for I have confined myself quite closely to my chamber. 2LtMs, Lt 40a, 1874, par. 1

Yesterday Mrs. Graves came to see me, but I had accepted an invitation to Brother Bailey’s to dinner, therefore was not at home. In the afternoon I went to the office for the first time. It was cloudy and I ventured to walk out. I called upon Sister Smith and Brother and Sister Ings. They all seem to be doing well. 2LtMs, Lt 40a, 1874, par. 2

In the Woolsey case, Harriet has been on the right side. His business is in as bad a state as Aldrich’s. He had made his proud boasts that he was the only businessman among us, and that the church was loath to let him go for he was the one that gave them influence with the world. Poor man, he dug a pit for Jones and Lunt and has fallen into the pit himself. His debts are terrible. Rock and Peters had just gone security for him for five hundred dollars. He was pressed by the lumber men for money. He went to see them, thinking he owed them only five hundred and found it was fifteen hundred. And in different places he owes two hundred here and two or three hundred there. All the men he owed will be losers. His house is mortgaged; his horse is mortgaged. He was too great a coward, after he said so much about Jones and Lunt, to stand the humiliation of being in a worse fix than they. Poor man! I have not seen his wife yet. Shall probably call upon her today. It is a terrible thing for a man to have his own way. 2LtMs, Lt 40a, 1874, par. 3

Brother Ings inquired if you wished to sell Edson’s house. I told him we would write you. Will you answer immediately what is your price upon property if you wish to sell it. Brother Ings thinks of buying the property if it is for sale. I do not believe Edson will ever be able to do much in Battle Creek, if he should come back east. He is so well known and his mistakes have been made the most of. Brother and Sister Gaskill think that a helping hand might have been extended to him by the brethren when they saw him struggling to do something and humbling himself. 2LtMs, Lt 40a, 1874, par. 4

If you could come east and let all the difficulties and perplexities of the past entirely alone, we might unite our efforts and great good might be done here and at the camp meetings. But I think if your mind is so constituted that it will dwell upon things that are unpleasant, it would be better for the cause and better for you to remain where you are. If your testimony could be borne upon the precious truth and the advancement of the cause, and you could advise in regard to tracts and various matters in connection with the work, your efforts would be blessed of God. But if you are coming to discourage and weaken yourself and me by censure and suspicion and jealousy, I fear we should do great injury to the cause of God. 2LtMs, Lt 40a, 1874, par. 5

I long to see you and would be so glad to bury the past as I know God would have us, without making reference to it, and to take hold in faith and courage with you to do our duty and work to help the people of God; but I must be left free to follow the convictions of my own conscience. I will not blame or censure you, and I cannot have you take the life and soul out of me by your blaming and censuring me. May the Lord bless, heal, and lead you is my daily prayer. I must be free in God. He wants me to be free and not suffering under a load of depressing discouragements that unfit me for any position. 2LtMs, Lt 40a, 1874, par. 6

Private. I called upon Mrs. Graves. She had a burden upon her mind and ever since she knew I was at home she desired to see me. She said she felt that she must talk out her feelings to me. She is desirous that women’s suffrage should be looked into by me. She says women ought to vote, and she related many things of a startling character which were legalized in France and St. Louis, and an effort was made to carry them out in Chicago this year, but failed. Houses of ill fame are legalized. Women who travel alone through those cities, if they are the least suspicious of them, are taken up by the authorities and their cases are investigated. If they are diseased, they are placed in the care of the doctors and cured. Then they are fit for the visits of men and are placed in the legalized home for men to satisfy their lusts upon. No examination is made of the men, and where this law is carried into effect, the crime and immorality resemble the condition of the world which existed previous to the flood. 2LtMs, Lt 40a, 1874, par. 7

Mrs. Graves viewed the matter as I do in regard to the increase of crime and demoralization of society. She says women must vote if this law is withstood. We had a long talk in regard to temperance. I told her that my mind was unprepared for any such matter as women voting. She had been thinking and dwelling upon these things, and her mind was ripe upon them, while my work was of another character. We were doing, upon the point of temperance, what no other class of people in the world were. We were as much in favor of a pledge against tobacco as liquor. 2LtMs, Lt 40a, 1874, par. 8

“So am I,” said she. “I am against the use of tobacco in any form.” We were interrupted by company and I returned home. Strange things are developing. God help us to occupy the right position in all places and at all times. 2LtMs, Lt 40a, 1874, par. 9

In much love, 2LtMs, Lt 40a, 1874, par. 10

Your Ellen.