Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 33a, 1880

White, James

On Steamer Oregon en route for San Francisco, California

June 23, 1880

This letter is published in entirety in 16MR 149-151.

Dear Husband:

We left Salem Monday, June [21], and I remained over a Sabbath and First Day, longer than was anticipated. The Methodist minister’s wife was determined I should speak in the Methodist Church and the officials sent me an invitation. After Elder [S. N.] Haskell left I spoke three times. The people came out well in the tent and the attention was excellent, although the evenings were very cool. 3LtMs, Lt 33a, 1880, par. 1

Sabbath I sought to have our Sabbathkeepers by themselves and then bore to them testimonies given me of God for individual cases. This was an important meeting, and many confessions were made. Sunday evening the Methodist Church, a grand building, was well filled. I spoke to about seven hundred people who listened with deep interest. The Methodist minister thanked me for the discourse. The Methodist minister’s wife and all seemed much pleased. 3LtMs, Lt 33a, 1880, par. 2

We took the steamer Monday night. Elder [I. D.] Van Horn got off five dollars from each of our fares, which made our expenses both thirty dollars. The boat lay at Portland wharf during the night, and at three A.M. we were in motion; but after six hours’ ride we stopped at Astoria, at the salmon cannery establishment, and here we remained from nine o’clock A.M. until this morning. We shall cross the bar twenty miles from here at twelve, and then our peace and quiet will be very much shaken up. 3LtMs, Lt 33a, 1880, par. 3

We are here because the boat is loading on twenty-two thousand boxes of canned salmon. Twenty men worked steadily all day yesterday and away into the night putting these boxes on board. The weather is quite mild; no wind now and the prospect is for having a favorable time. I hope so, for I have no strength to resist seasickness. 3LtMs, Lt 33a, 1880, par. 4

Elder McClafflaty, of Oakland, introduced himself to me yesterday and we had quite a chat. I am fully satisfied it was duty to come to Oregon and to visit Washington Territory, but it has been a severe and trying time for me. If I ever worked earnestly, it has been on this journey. In Salem there is an earnest interest aroused. Some have taken their stand with us, and others are upon the point of deciding. 3LtMs, Lt 33a, 1880, par. 5

Elder [I. D.] Van Horn accompanied us to Portland. He returned yesterday to continue his labors. He is to visit. We urged him to this before he left, and he will keep it up now. We think personal effort will do more in such a place as Salem than pulpit effort. I think I never felt a greater burden than in Salem, or had a more solemn testimony to bear to the people. At every meeting, when it was given out that I would speak, the tent seats were well filled. But evenings are so cold that it is almost dangerous to attend meetings evenings in a tent. 3LtMs, Lt 33a, 1880, par. 6

How we shall find things when we arrive at Oakland, we cannot say. May the Lord make my duty plain. I believe He will, for I have not had a will of my own, but I have inquired most earnestly to know the will of God, and then without murmuring have followed in the path of duty, often contrary to my wishes and inclination. Light will shine. I shall see my way clearly. I shall know the will of God. 3LtMs, Lt 33a, 1880, par. 7

One of the Methodist ministers said to Brother Levitt that he regretted Mrs. White was not a staunch Methodist, for they would make her a bishop at once; she could do justice to the office. I have spoken in Walla Walla three times, at Milton ten, at Beaverton one, at Portland three, at Salem camp meeting and after, twelve times at length, beside many times from fifteen to twenty minutes. 3LtMs, Lt 33a, 1880, par. 8

Sunday night we had a full house and although I was weary the Lord strengthened me to bear a faithful testimony to the people. 3LtMs, Lt 33a, 1880, par. 9

I have been feeling very exhausted. There is an inability to think; weakness generally. I may rally after a few days’ rest, but I cannot tell. I sometimes fear to cross the plains and go from cool climate to a hot one, but what can I do? This is my study. If you were here we would go out on some excursion and camp out away from everything that would bring care. But I cannot feel like doing this at all, not for a moment, even with families, for I feel such a sadness at the thought. It would do me no good. 3LtMs, Lt 33a, 1880, par. 10

I may be directed East to the camp meetings, but if I do not see plain duty, I shall not go. I will do as you have suggested: remain in California until you come. But if the Lord sends me East, He will sustain me. 3LtMs, Lt 33a, 1880, par. 11

I am feeling at times great weariness. I have carried heavy burdens. I have had to bear very plain testimonies to others. I have written many private testimonies to different ones, then to keep my writings up has been no little tax to me. Were you here now, I would feel it duty to take some recreation—go to Yosemite, and camp out, or go to some retired place and write and rest. Time seems very short to me, and I do not want to shirk responsibilities one whit. If I know what duty is, I will do it. 3LtMs, Lt 33a, 1880, par. 12