Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Ms 2b, 1895

Statements Concerning the Walling Suit

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville, N. S. W., Australia

January 23, 1895

Previously unpublished.

I wish to make some statements in regard to the matter which is the ground of Mr. W. Walling’s suit against me. On account of the state of my health, I may not be able to take the long sea voyage to America in order to bear my testimony in court; and in that case, some further statements from me may be essential. When I proposed to settle the matter with Mr. Walling by the payment of a sum of money, I did this, not as acknowledging the justice of his claim, but for the sake of his daughters,—that they might not be compelled to appear in court against their father. But besides requiring the sum of $1,500, Mr. Walling has transmitted to me, through my lawyer, Mr. Boals, of Denver, Col., certain statements to which he desires me to subscribe as a condition of the settlement. But there are some of these statements to which I cannot conscientiously testify. In view of Mr. Walling’s course of action during the past few years, as I have learned it from his own children, I cannot in truth certify that he is a worthy man, or that I approve his conduct. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 1

The circumstances that led me first to accept the care of Mr. Walling’s children were these: While my husband and I were on a visit to Colorado, we found Mr. Walling in much trouble and perplexity. He expressed the wish that we would make our home there, saying that if we did so, he would gladly place in our care his two little girls. I told him that it was impossible for us to remain in Colorado. The only thing we could do for the children, would be to take them home with us to California for a while. Mr. Walling caught at this eagerly, and urged us to take them. I consented to do this out of sincere pity for them, and for him, and also for the sake of their mother, knowing that she would rather have them in my care than in the care of any other person than herself. We took the little girls with the understanding that they were to return within a few months, or in a year at the most. There could have been no agreement in regard to their education, for I had no thought of keeping them longer than the time suggested. Had it been proposed for me to keep them permanently, I would not have felt that I could consent; for our work was of such a character that we could not remain in one place long at a time. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 2

This is to meet the point he makes in regard to my urging him to let me have the children, and also the alleged agreement that they should receive a musical education. The subject of a musical education was not as much as introduced; for the children were mere babies, and I had no thought of long encumbering myself with this burden, in addition to all my other cares. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 3

Mr. Walling himself urged us to keep his little daughters when we proceeded to return them to him. At one time, when the girls were still but children, I wrote to him, stating that they must be returned to him unless he would give me a written statement that I should have the charge of them until they were of age. As he did not do this, I proposed to send them to him by Mrs. McDearman, an old friend of ours. Mr. Walling then wrote, begging me not to send the children, as he had no suitable home for them, and no one who could take charge of them. If I could not keep them, he wished me to get them boarded in some family, and he would pay their expenses. I did have them boarded for a while, but concluded to purchase a house in California, secure the best help that could be found, and make a home for the childrens’ sake. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 4

By his neglect to communicate with me or inform me of his whereabouts for nearly ten years, Mr. Walling threw upon us the whole burden of their care and education. This responsibility I accepted, and in bringing up these children I gave them the same instruction and discipline as I had given to my own. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and as a missionary for the Master I made every effort to counteract any wrong tendencies of character that would destroy their present happiness and imperil their eternal welfare. I regarded the children as the Lord’s property both by creation and redemption, as young members of his family, to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and I ever kept before them pure and holy principles. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 5

Mr. Walling did not profess to be a Christian, but he knew that my husband and I were seeking to live and serve God. During the time of our association with him while traveling in Colorado, we had our daily seasons of prayer, soliciting the guardianship of powers out of and above ourselves. We realize that it is essential for every soul to be surrounded with an atmosphere that is not earthly but heavenly, and we desired that such an atmosphere might surround the children. In their school education we were careful to place them where our home teaching would not be counteracted. Mr. Walling knew the instruction they were receiving, and declared himself well pleased. The last time that he visited them in their childhood, he stated that he was highly gratified with the results of their training. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 6

During the long interval in which we heard nothing from him, the work of education was continued as it had been begun. The girls had naturally a distaste for household labor, and were inclined to have little respect for those who performed it. These ideas I tried to correct by employing my own family persons whom they could not but respect, and showing them the same attention given to other members of the family. Several persons who filled the position of housekeeping in my family, have since for years acted as matron in our sanitariums and college home. May and Addie, being kept in school, usually performed little of the work of my household, and I employed a seamstress to do their sowing; but I was anxious for them to have a thorough knowledge of domestic duties, and from time to time placed them under the care of competent persons for instruction in those lines. I encouraged them to diligence, with the hope that they might surprise and gratify their father, and some day be able to keep house for him. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 7

During all the years when we knew nothing of Mr. Walling’s whereabouts, he knew how to reach us by letter at any time. We had told him to address us at the office of the Review and Herald, Battle Creek, Mich., or at Pacific Press, Oakland, Cal. Our winters were usually spent in Oakland, and our summers in Battle Creek. We sent to Boulder, Col., several letters addressed to Mr. Walling, but received no response. During all this time we supported the children, abundantly providing for every necessity. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 8

My husband died in 1881, but I continued to make a home for the girls until the time of my journey to Europe, in 1885. Then I left May Walling in school, at Healdsburg, Cal., boarding her for the time at the college home, and afterward in a private family. We secured a position for Addie in our publishing house in Oakland, and she had a pleasant home in the family of Elder Loughborough, the President of our Cal. Conf. and an old and tried friend. Addie was to learn the compositors trade, in preparation for proof-reading. I wished the girls to have such an education and training as would enable them to be self-supporting; as I knew that my own life was uncertain, and their father had done nothing for their support. More than this, I was anxious that they should become intelligent, helpful members of society. For these reasons I gave first attention to the solid branches of education, and to instruction in practical duties. When once gained, the accomplishments could receive attention later. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 9

In 1887, while in Europe, Mr. Walling visited Addie, and she returned with him to Colorado, with the promise that in a few months he would himself bring her back to Oakland. This promise he did not fulfill. After my return to America, I received letters from those who understood the situation, entreating me to come myself for Addie, for her father did not treat her kindly, and she was very unhappy. I was also advised not to write to her, and told that it was not best for her to write to me, for the letters would be intercepted. I felt as a mother would feel under such circumstances. I had long suffered from an affliction of the heart, and the anxiety caused a severe illness that nearly cost me my life. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 10

I finally sent for Addie to meet me in Nevada, Cal. and return home with me, but she did not come. I arranged with Mr. Ings and his wife, who had been matron in my family, that as they returned from Europe they should call on Mr. Walling in Colorado, and see Addie and pay her expenses back to me in California; for my anxiety and distress of mind in her behalf seemed more than I could bear. But Mr. Walling would not consent to Addie’s return, and she would not leave without his consent. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 11

Afterward, he took Addie, with her brother Bert, to New Mexico, where he left her with a Spanish family, paying her board for only a few weeks. Afterward she paid her own expenses by teaching the children of the family. Bert, desiring to return to Colorado, borrowed of Addie forty dollars, her own earnings, leaving her alone in New Mexico without funds. After remaining here for a while, she concluded that she had followed her father’s strange will long enough, and must begin to act for herself. Bert wrote advising her to return to us in Michigan, and to send to me for money to defray the expenses of the journey. Addie acted on this counsel, and afterward repaid the money as she earned it. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 12

When she returned, the child was so troubled and grieved at the thought of her father’s treatment of her that she seemed able to talk of nothing else, and we begged her not to mention the matter. Both Fred and Addie dwelt upon the unkind, unjust way they had been treated by their father. Mr. Walling’s own course of action had estranged his children from him. But what was my surprise on learning that he accused me of alienating their affections from their father. I found that Fred, Addie, and May Walling all had the same feeling toward their father. I had not created this; it was the result of his own attitude toward them, especially while I was in Europe. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 13

When Mr. Walling took Addie with him to Colorado, he did not find her in all things ready and willing to concede to his wishes. No doubt he was disappointed, feeling it his right to dictate absolutely as to what she should do. He was not a Christian; Addie had given her heart to Christ, and was trying to walk in His steps, following the light of the Scriptures. She had become a member of the church, and was a teacher in the Sabbath-school; but when she went with her father, she found herself in an entirely different atmosphere. She was then above eighteen years of age, and of course felt that it was her duty to act upon her own convictions in matters relating to her obligation to God. Mr. Walling made it very hard for her to do this. In regard to this matter of conscience, I had advised Addie, encouraging her to be true to principle; for I knew that she would be severely tried. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 14

She wrote to us after I went to Europe, asking what would be my advice in case her father wished her to go with him to Colorado, as from his letters she judged that he might. Would I think it best for her to go? I had not seen Mr. Walling for nearly ten years; it seemed a strange thing for him, after so long neglect, to take the time of my absence for a visit to the girls. I could not tell what influences would be thrown about Addie in such a visit, and as one who felt a mother’s care for her, I could not think it best for her to go. I knew that she did not realize how trying her situation would be in Colorado. I advised her to serve her apprenticeship, perfect her trade, and I promised that on my return from Europe, which would be in a few months, I would go with her to make a visit in Colorado. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 15

After a time I received a telegram from Addie, containing the question, Shall I go with Father to Colorado? This I did not think it best to answer. Addie was old enough to decide for herself. I had already given counsel, and I wished to do no more. She decided to go with her father. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 16

My misgivings were not without foundation. When Addie did not consent to her father’s wishes, he tried to force her to submission by threats as to what he would do to me if she did not comply. I wrote to Addie advising her to be kind and faithful to her father, and to comply with his wishes in everything that did not conflict with her service to her Master, Jesus Christ. Here she could accomplish good only by being true to principle, letting no one interpose between her soul and God. She should pray much for grace to live the religion of Christ, and she might have an influence for good where she was. But trials would come to her that she had never met before, temptations would present themselves in various forms, but she must be faithful to God, even if she met with opposition. She should set upon her convictions of duty to observe the Sabbath, keeping it the best she could under all circumstances. She must love the Lord with all her heart and soul, and not swerve from her allegiance to him, whatever the circumstances in which she might be placed. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 17

This instruction is the same as I give to the people in my public labors wherever I go, teaching them to serve the Lord with undivided heart under all circumstances. Such instruction is in harmony with that given by both precept and example in the word of God. It is the lesson taught us from the story of the Hebrew children in Babylon. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 18

Daniel and his companions had from childhood been brought up in the knowledge of the true God, and in the enjoyment of all the religious privileges of Jerusalem. When these youth were removed from their own land and its associations, to be captives among the heathen, the principles they had received in their youth by education and training, were severely tested. The lessons that Daniel and his three companions learned in their childhood had molded and fashioned their characters after the divine similitude. The principles of righteousness were vividly impressed upon their minds by the Holy Spirit; for the Lord never leaves his children who love and serve Him to be the sport of Satan’s temptations. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 19

When taken to Babylon, these Hebrew youth were brought into the presence of the king, who himself judged as to their ability and qualifications. The monarch took kindly to them. He saw in them a spirit of independence and yet true courtesy that he appreciated. He found that they were of royal lineage, and well instructed, and he flattered himself that the change of country and associations and the influence of courtlife in that magnificent city, would efface the impressions made by their early religious education. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 20

Their Hebrew names, which had a reference to the true God, and showed that they were His worshippers, were accordingly changed to Chaldean names that would in a singular manner signify a devotion to heathen deities. Instead of the food normally apportioned to captives, there were to be served with “a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank.” [Daniel 1:5.] 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 21

This attention, which implied special honor, Daniel and his companions could not accept. The meat served on the kings table was often portions of the sacrifices offered in heathen temples, and the wine too was dedicated to the gods, a portion being poured out as a libation before the beginning of each meal. All who partook of the yields thus dedicated to the gods, were regarded as connected with the heathen worship. Moreover, many articles of food, such as swine’s flesh and things of an abominable character, were by the law given to Israel forbidden as unfit for food. These Hebrew youth could not conscientiously partake of that which God had forbidden, and which they knew would weaken physical, mental, and moral power. They would do nothing that would in any way stimulate or confuse the brain and impair the faculties that god had given them for His service. They preferred the favor of God and the approval of conscience above all the honor that could come from the greatest monarch of his time. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 22

Daniel and his companions saw their danger, and determined that they would not eat of the king’s meat, or drink of his wine. By his brave yet courteous presentation of the matter to the prince who had them in charge, Daniel secured the privilege of a ten day’s trial of the simple pulse and water they had chosen for food. The results—when at the end of ten days their countenance appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than the than the faces of children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat, decided the matter. Daniel and his fellows were permitted to carry out their principles. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 23

The fruits of their self-denial were manifest in physical and mental vigor. No such students as these Hebrew youth were to be found in all the courts of Babylon. “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” At the end of the three years, these Hebrew captives were brought in before Nebuchadnezzar, and their examination took place. “And in all matters of wisdom and understanding that the king required of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were is all his realm.” [Verses 17-20.] The Lord has said, “Them that honor Me I will honor.” [1 Samuel 2:30.] 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 24

Many who follow the customs and practices of the world would say that these young men were altogether too scrupulous; they need not have made themselves so different from all the rest of the youth. But Daniel and his companions saw that a vital principle was involved, and they were firm in their refuse to compromise in the least degree that which concerned the light that God had given them; they could not sacrifice their loyalty to God; no influence should come in between them and their Maker. Here was the turning point in their Christian life. To comply with the demand of the kind and his officers, would have meant the surrender of principle, the compromise of truth, apostasy from God. Whatever the consequences, Daniel and his fellows determined to be true. However men might judge them, the great Judge over all was God. In later years, their fidelity to God forced them to open disregard of the king’s requirements in the very face of death; but God vindicated His servants, and through their steadfastness the knowledge of the true God was spread abroad, throughout the length and breadth of the empire of Babylon. God was honored by the faithfulness of His representatives, and the very purpose was accomplished for which He had permitted Daniel and his fellows to be carried as captives to that heathen land. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 25

Such lessons as these God has set before us, that verily we may understand our duty never to sacrifice principle, even in the slightest particular. Better to incur the displeasure of men than to surrender our loyalty to God. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 26

The principles set forth in this history are such as I have tried to implant and to encourage for the minds of all under my care. It was regard for principle that forbade the Hebrew youths to consent to any sinful custom of the Babylonian court. It was similar regard for principle that made it impossible for Addie Walling to concede in all things to the plans and requirements of her father. It is true that a child is under obligation to obey the parents, but there is a higher law to which parent and child are alike required to bow. If the parent refuses allegiance to God, must the child therefore consent to prove disloyal? the true principle is set forth in that grand declaration uttered eighteen hundred years ago by the first persecuted apostles when brought before the Sanhedrin, “We ought to obey God rather than man.” [Acts 5:29.] 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 27

Mr. Walling’s daughters whom I have educated and trained, are very dear to me. From their childhood they have listened to the teaching of the Word of God, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. Morning and evening they have bowed with us in prayer in the family circle. From their early years, Christ has been lifted up before them, and both at an early age gave their hearts to God, and the peace of Christ rested upon them. While quite young, Addie was selected as a teacher in Sabbath-school. The children were early taught that attention must be given to little things, that faithfulness in that which is least will insure faithfulness in greater things. As new paths opened before them, they were taught to inquire, Is this the way of the Lord? Is Christ my leader? 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 28

Mr. Walling did not educate these children, he did not watch the unfolding of their minds, he did not study their dispositions, and did not understand that they would be ruined by unkindness, harshness, and an overbearing, dictatorial manner. To accuse, taunt, or ridicule them, would make them despise him unless their hearts were wholly under the sweet influence of the grace of God. These children could never be driven, but if one gained their confidence by a consistent forbearance and the manifestation of love, they could be easily managed. I am not surprised that there was not harmony between Mr. Walling and his daughters. The soul of Mr. Walling is surrounded by an atmosphere entirely different from that which surrounds those who love God and are doers of His Word. If Mr. Walling constantly makes light of the principles that his daughters have respected from their childhood, can it bring them anything but pain? This is an alienation that has not been created by me. It lies between the Word of God and the soul that rejects its control. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 29

I have tried to do my duty in the fear of God. I have not made the father of these children a subject of conversation and reproach, to alienate their minds from him, but have ever tried to set before them principles that would make them faithful missionaries for Christ wherever they might be. If it should be true that under trials and temptations Addie and May have not manifested all the grace that Christian youth should manifest, ought I be held responsible for that? If trying to please God and do His will, they have received no help from their father, but an opposing influence, and they have not in all things yielded to his ideas, am I therefore to be judged and condemned? 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 30

If my teaching has resulted in keeping Addie and May steadfast to principle, if it has led them to be doers of the words of Christ, and because of this, after reaching the years of womanhood, they could not in all things be in harmony with their father, and accept his way as the best way, am I to be charged with alienating them from their father? Then to what lengths might not such a charge be carried? On such grounds a suit might be instituted against every faithful minister of the gospel. All persons would who, having been placed in charge of children, train them to a consistent Christian life, contrary to the practice of parents that are living a godless life, are to be condemned in having alienated the children from their parents. If Roman Catholic parents should send their children to a Protestant school, and allow them to remain from infancy to womanhood without the slightest restriction or influence from the parents, could it be expected that the children would be found perfectly in harmony with the views and wishes of those parents? And if not, who would be responsible for the alienation? 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 31

In the fear of God I take my stand that in my care of the children I have taken no course to alienate their affections from their father, unless it be to educate them to love truth and righteousness, and to keep the fear and glory of God ever in view. 10LtMs, Ms 2b, 1895, par. 32