Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 72a, 1886

White, W. C.

Basel, Switzerland

January 4, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in EGWE 149-150.

Dear Son Willie:

Mary just received a letter from you. We are always more than glad to hear from you. Brother Whitney just came in, making the statement that he missed reading the last page of your letter in which you speak of Wischoack [?]. Brother Whitney thinks he had better come by all means if he can be a help as you state. I do not know him, so I cannot say anything in reference to the matter. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 1

Well, Mary and Elder Whitney did what they could in getting out an appeal in regard to the holidays. Brother Whitney pronounces it a grand thing. The letter from you came too late to do anything for Christmas, and the afflicted Edith dying at that time made it impossible to do anything before New Year’s. No appeals were made, just the matter read, and it had an excellent reception. They took selections, the very best that were applicable for this people. Brother Albert Vuilleumier says it was just the thing and took well where he was. The church at Basel, you know, are all poor, but the selections translated into French were read, and in a few moments envelopes, which were prepared before, contained pledges of one hundred forty dollars as a New Year’s donation to be used for the purchase of tents, also seven dollars for a sick sister who had no one to look to for help, and they subscribed for one hundred thirty-five copies of Les Signes. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 2

Brother Vuilleumier writes that at Bienne, where all are poor, they made an offering of fifty dollars on New Year’s for the purchase of tents. Their tithes amounted to sixty-four dollars beside this, and they subscribed for eighty-six copies of the Signes, French paper. Letters are coming in from places where there is no church with two dollars, five dollars, as their offerings. Brother Whitney feels so pleased over this, and it is indeed a wonderful thing for these poor brethren to do. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 3

There are but about two brethren in Switzerland who own the houses they live in; all have to pay rent. Of those who work in the office here, the highest wages they receive for their labor is one dollar per day. That is six dollars per week, and they work early and late and board and room themselves at these wages. Others have less. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 4

I can see a spirit of sacrifice on the part of our people here, far ahead of that which is seen in America. They believe the testimonies and accept them as the voice of God to them, and they will, of their small wages, do all they can do to advance the cause and work of God. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 5

I cannot see how we can get away from here as soon as spring. Here we can get one of my books printed at much less expense than at the Review office or at the Pacific Press, and the office here has to be heated, has to have hands employed, all the same with a small amount of work as a larger amount, and had we not better try to do more here that needs to be done? I only suggest this. I was urged to Europe, and in Europe I shall stay until I feel that I can be released to return. Now, my son, look these things all over and tell me what you think, and lay your plans accordingly. I am in no hurry to return unless the Lord says, Go to America. We have scarcely begun to mold things here. I am glad I came, for the Lord has sustained me. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 6

Sarah is here to help in running the calligraph and in taking my talks and writing them out, Mary to prepare matter for publication, but she has too much to do altogether. Christine does well. She opened her mind to me last Friday with deep feeling. She was baptized last Sabbath, so I think we are well calculated for working here if we think best. You can do as you think best about my Marian. I do not want her to be used up anywhere in any kind of work or overtaxed in any kind of study. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 7

Willie, be careful healthwise. Eat moderately and preserve your health. I have had some dreams which trouble me in regard to your health, but above everything, my son, be constantly near the Saviour, that whether you live or die, it will be well with you. Be careful and prayerful in regard to your return to Europe. Ask God to guide you. We pray for you every day and greatly desire to see you again when your work is done in America. Every day on your voyage pray, and do not let yourselves be careless. Be as God’s true missionaries. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 8

We are comfortably situated. My health is very good now again; I am so glad. I wish we had a filter. I told Brother Kellogg to see in regard to getting one in London, but no word comes from him yet, whether he made any purchase or not. I think the swelled necks are more the result of the water they drink than anything else. I think it would be well to bring a small filter. Talk with Dr. Kellogg. I understand he purchased a filter in London. The soft water here is a treasure, I assure you, and now that we can keep warn, my health is as good in this climate as in California, perhaps better. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 9

But I want you to think seriously over this matter in regard to publishing. I wish I had the matter, “Mother’s Influence.” I would have it got out here in Basel. We could help them for they would take the matter and translate it into French and German. We want many things so much, in French, that they do not have. We need short, practical subjects in the French paper, and then they could put it in tracts, then in books. Much can be done here that has not been done yet. Matter is needed and someone to see it put in shape for the papers. I think God will work for us if we have self-denial and faith in the matter. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 10

I send with this a package of letters, that you and Edson may read them, and then they can go to Elder Butler. I am doing much writing. I have written a long letter to Brother Hansen and one to Brother Matteson—good, encouraging letters with no reference to anything that will make them feel bad. I have written two letters to Brother and Sister Oyen. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 11

Well, I am determined to trust fully in God. Take good care of yourself. If sick, telegraph me without delay. Much love to Edson and Emma. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 12


You can tell whether it is best to get our work done here or in America. You know it has cost me heavily to get anything published in either of the offices. It may be I am misinformed about the cost. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 13

Mary and Ella are well, both busy as can be in their different branches. Brother Ings writes me that he was always in poor health in England. His rheumatism troubled him very much, and he proposes that Brother Starr and wife go to England. I believe this would be a good thing. Brother Ings has all he can do in California, so you can take this matter into consideration and tell the brethren who are deciding these matters that unless Brother Ings has the best of care, he is an invalid. I think under these considerations he ought to be released. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 14

Willie, they are in suffering need of a man to have oversight of the work. Brother Whitney cannot do it. If you can get an overseer, one who understands the business of printing, it would be gain in every way to the office. Brother Kellogg said, and Sarah, that everything is taken backhanded. If there were one to educate who had experience, to set them here at work in the right way! Elder Whitney is no printer. Time and money are being lost for the want of this kind of help here. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 15

Get a thorough workman if you can, if he does not stay over six months. But if he can stay longer, it would be economy to the work and office here. Brother Whitney has so many matters to see to that everything drags, and then he does not know himself what ought to be done and how to do it. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 16

Think of this matter. I have written these items as they come to my mind. 4LtMs, Lt 72a, 1886, par. 17