Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 167, 1897

White, W. C.

Sunnyside, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

January 14, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in 8MR 256.

Dear Son Willie:

We are all well except myself. I am some better than when you left Cooranbong. We have much to be thankful for. We feel sad that Brother Shannon should pursue the course he has done, and Sister Shannon also has done a large amount of mischief making. When I consider the matter in our connection with Brother and Sister Shannon, what grounds they can have for their present feelings and complaints in a mystery to me. We are not safe anywhere and to connect with anyone, even of our own professed brethren and sisters. We feel so burdened over the condition of things we seem to be unable to help. What can be done? 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 1

I think the principles of Brother Lawrence have developed most decidedly. Here he is on the school ground, and he has from first to last questioned the price of things he would purchase, to make as low a price as possible; then he has placed his work at a high estimate. His time he considered of great value. Wherein he will help the school is a problem. He keeps his money in the office in Battle Creek. He has nothing he gives in point of money. His tithe is not brought in here, and he considers he would have helped the school with money if he had confidence in the managers. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 2

You know, Willie, we have met these close, selfish men who make money their god, who have come to [the] Health Retreat and other places when we were trying to build up special interests, [such] as schools and sanitariums. They had money they were going to invest, but something was not according to their minds, and they never did anything. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 3

The penurious spirit that Lawrence manifests is so unchristian, so sharp for himself, that it is painful, distressingly painful. For eighteen months he had bedstead, mattress, and bedding from the school. Brother Hare charged him the simple sum of five shillings. He told him he thought three shilling was plenty. In several things in business deal he has shown great tact to get things cheap and then try to sell them for nearly double what he gave. This, I learn, has been his education. But we cannot write all these things. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 4

I have done what I could to show him what he was doing, but it makes no impression upon him, I think. He has cultivated this spirit until it is second nature to him. Brother Craig gave him one pound for girdling the trees that were on his allotment. He hired a grayheaded man, Brother McCann, and gave him ten shillings, and when I presented this to him he said he had to stake out the land and show him where to work; “my time is worth something.” I told him if I should count my time for every favor I did a brother or neighbor it would swell into a large sum. Here were several poor families we had felt it our duty to help. How much had he done to help them? Christ said, “The poor always ye have with you.” [John 12:8.] I said, I am writing on the case of Judas. It is stated he was a thief. [Verse 6.] He cared not for the poor, but took the money for his own benefit, to help himself. In doing the little essential things in connection with Christ and His brethren he exacted to the last penny for every act of his. None of us should do as Judas did. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 5

I am very tired and very sick of such missionaries. We can do very well without them. I have not confidence in Lawrence locating in Gisborne. I would not dare to have him do this, for the spirit of avariciousness is so marked that he seems either to be completely blind or all shame or sense of propriety is gone. He will talk all you will listen to him of his tact and ability, and he told me once, in a certain period of his life, he did do considerable work in some line of missionary labor—what line I cannot remember—but he said when he engaged in farming he could not do religious visiting, for he could not carry on two lines of work. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 6

Now, I cannot discover where he has one qualification to benefit any church that was ever formed. His wonderful qualifications for farming may exist, but I have been unable to see anything superior in this line. But he principles and practice of Brother Lawrence in dealing, in buying cheap and selling again for double, is marvelous. This is of that kind of ability that would be dangerous for any church. All that he will admit is he is selfish. He said he offered for the land nigh us all that the land was worth. It was no good and it was only for my sake he proposed to purchase it that it would increase the value of my land. This is his manner of trading. I have perfect evidence of how much interest he has manifested for me or for anyone in Cooranbong. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 7

But I wish to tell you that we miss Rousseau very much. It is no use to think of running a school with the young men, Lacey and Teasdale, unless you can have a principal of dignity, a man of firmness, who will stand firm as a rock to principle. You will not succeed here with surrounding elements, and I would not remain here. The men Shannon and Lawrence have proved unreliable to work in our school interest, because they cannot fleece money out of the enterprise in benefiting themselves. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 8

And here I am, standing in this mixed-up condition, without one person who has influence enough to be respected. I entreat of you to secure to most reliable, conscientious man who has sufficient authority to command respect. If Brother Starr could connect with the school a portion of his time, what would you think of that? I do not know what is best, but one thing I do know, we must have preceptor of the school who is of sufficient age and experience to command respect. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 9

I talked with Brother Semmens in regard to the sister we thought to have come to connect with the Health Home. He says he dare not encourage her coming, for we must have a less expensive matron and one who will work in any place where she is most needed. So this is the situation, and he has one in mind, a Sister Hungerford, who will, he thinks, suit all around much better than the sister I had in view. So we must not urge her any more, for it is Brother Semmens’s privilege to understand and choose who shall be connected with him as helper. We will visit Sydney either this week—tomorrow is Friday—or next week. We may be able to help them some about planning. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 10

I have, just a few hours ago, talked with Brother Lamplough in regard to the building. I am sorry to say that I cannot get my lumber without sending to Sydney. Brother Hare has lumber to get out for school building, and cannot get what I want under four weeks. These four weeks the carpenters have nothing to do, and I will have the two rooms and my barn put up in that time. The building of house will cost me, all complete—two rooms thirteen and a half by fourteen and a half, all plastered and painted complete, piazza eight feet wide, full window put in where little window is now in the house which is May’s bedroom, the window where my house joins cut down, the chimney to carry three stoves built outside of old building—three hundred fifty dollars. I do not know as I can ask to have it done for less. I thought it would be more enjoyable if there were two feet more width on piazza. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 11

I am sorry that I must pay money out and out for much of this, but my two White boys must have room. They were rather poorly when they came here. They are teething good and strong. Had some restless nights, but they are looking so bright and sweet and wholesome. May the Lord spare them to us is my prayer. I go in every day, and sometimes twice, and the babes stretch themselves to get at me, laughing and crowing. Both are well now. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 12

May feels much less lonesome than where she was. If I get peaches, I take in some every day till they are gone. Anything I get I shall let them have a share. May is quite comfortable as she is now, but we wish to provide for the winter. We thought we must put off building for at least two months, but the plasterers cannot come to do the school building for four weeks. In that time the house in prospect will be done. He puts all hands on the building and drives it as fast as he can. Then the barn must be planned and up while workmen are here and can do it. As soon as the school building is plastered then they can do my work on the house. It seems to fit in exactly. So we will get lumber at Healy’s mill and in Sydney. The flooring will be Oregon pine. I believe that is all I can say in regard to the building. Is this too high a price—three hundred fifty dollars for all complete? 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 13

Friday, January 15

Sara and I had a talk with Brother Hare since writing the foregoing. I have had the bill of the building complete, and find it is four hundred and _____. I said I must not build. I will defer building now. I will not invest so much. I will get your plan of house and will consider the advisability of putting the building on the spot where you designed it should be—put up the whole framework and finish off two comfortable rooms, or four as we can decide is best, with the lean-to as kitchen. I shall ascertain the plan of house all finished. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 14

I thought I would see Brother Hare. He says if the carpenters go on my building it will delay the next building they intend to build, that there is enough to keep them employed to finish up odds and ends on the school building all ready for the plastering. I told him my conclusions. He says it is good, and he would advise the last decision to be carried out. It would be the saving of many pounds. May coincides with this. The house she occupies is made fifty per cent more handy, and cooler. It is cooler in these hot days than our cottage. There is circulation of air all through the house by cutting the door from the diningroom to that little room, which placed the stove in there nicely. And the door was already there, so it is a comfortable house. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 15

In winter we will have another house for her. If we could move this little building across the road and then attach the rooms to it, the money invested would tell to some account and no loss at all would be sustained. I will wait for you to express your mind in this matter. She takes babies and Ella and Mabel down to washhouse and babies sit in carriage or on rug on the floor, and they wash everything. She says is so handy; it is only half the work. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 16

You have got two of the least troublesome children I have ever seen, except Henry and Willie. Edson was not well much of the time of his babyhood. It is wonderful how little they worry and fret. Sara fastened the hammock in the added room, and they enjoy it very much. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 17

I would say I have consulted Father Lacey, and he thinks it altogether the wisest plan. I am going to have the building examined and see if it can be moved. I shall never want a family [that is] not one with us so near me. But we will wait your decision. If we can get the barn we will do so; if not, we will wait until we can. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 18

I instructed Brother James to attend first to the school orchard and see the special necessities there. When he has done this he will come to my orchard and see what is needing to be done there, and when these are done he will have a plan for [a] barn and see that a rough building is put up to accommodate horses, carriages, and feed for stock. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 19

My eye is quite bad, and I cannot write much. I have written to Shannon and to Elder Daniells quite often, and I am burdened much over many things. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 20

One thing, I am thinking, you are crowding families all together too near the school. I advise that a large space of land be reserved without settling families so near the school. We see the folly of this. Let them locate at some distance from the immediate school lands. When families come in that can render moral strength to the workers in the school, then you have accomplished a good job, but from the light given me there will be, as there is now, those who shall settle on the land who will be thorns in our sides. Close by is the water and the boats, and the carts and the wagons and the horses between the school and me. We shall have a severe time of it. The _____ they use will be broken and injured, and the school must stand the expense of getting them repaired; and then if they are not permitted to be favored they will do as Shannon has done—go away and talk and fill the minds of churches with suspicion and distrust. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 21

The Gage family locating here, I fear, is a mistake. They are very free to expect favors and very exacting in regard to any favors they may do. I do not fancy we shall have any easier time with such families locating here, but it looks to me a big mistake to crowd in as close as possible to the school grounds persons whom we have not proved. I have seen such a grasping spirit, such a readiness to ask for favors, and, under the missionary banner, to consider themselves are the ones to be considered. There will be a constant friction in this line, for they will never be pleased unless they receive all they desire and expect, but they do not consider obligations are mutual. Well, enough on this line. There is a positive demand for good families from America to come to locate in Cooranbong—not right on the ground nigh the school but at a distance; on the school land, but not in its shadow. Families will complain of the children, and the children may have sufficient cause to complain of families. Think of this thing and let me know your mind. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 22

Nearly one week ago I had an interview with Brother Lawrence. I set before him his true situation—that his love of money constituted it an idol. “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou are also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” [1 Timothy 6:9-12.] 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 23

I told Brother Lawrence that his love of getting money and his great desire of keeping money were proverbial. It was a physical and moral disease. I set before him the principle. I should have acted in regard to the cow. He had tried to sell the cow to O’Neal for four pounds and the calf for ten shillings. He said it was a new thing to pay for a cow and a large price for her calf, which was supposed to go with the cow. Then he offered the cow to Sister Coulston for four pounds ten shillings. She would not give so much. I told him if it was a good animal he knew the school should have it, and he should return the cow and calf at the same price he gave for it. But he said he thought it was a straight business deal. Then I sent four pounds for the cow but he said he must have four pounds ten shillings. I stated in a two-page letter that I would place that cow in the school and give it to the school, just where it should be. Our conversation was not satisfactory. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 24

Then the money he had taken from Brother McCann for his own pocket came to me, and I called a meeting, and, as I have stated, I had to talk very plainly. I brought up the case of Judas. His appearance was that of an intelligent man of keen discrimination and possessing shrewd business capacities. Judas had all the opportunity of the other disciples of learning the practical lessons of instruction given of Christ every day, if he had appropriated these lessons. But his scheming propensities were carnal and were corrupting the whole man. I said, You are following in the very same track—selling your soul for your love of gain. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 25

I poured out words that the Lord gave me. The Lord spoke through me that he knew not what manner of man he was. He was following the leadings of Satan. He was hindering the work of the Lord. I said to him, Money is your god. You worship it, hoard it, and soon the word will be spoken of you “Ephraim is joined to his idols, let him alone.” [Hosea 4:17.] The meeting closed, and as I passed out he shook my hand. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 26

Well, the Holy Spirit of God was striving with him that night, the next day, and the next night. He felt convicted and began to see himself and his condition. He felt an awful burden, and he began to surrender to God. Then light came in and he began to see himself more and more. Early in the morning he went down to Brother McCann’s and paid him the ten shillings he had withheld, and the Lord blessed him. He talked as if he was gaining a rich experience, expressed a desire that the work should go deep and not stop there. I believe the Spirit of the Lord was working with him. He made a good confession. Said he had been like a man paralyzed and blind, perfectly blind. He was as a man awakening out of a long sleep. He would not rest until he should see all things clearly. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 27

The next day was Sabbath. We had the Spirit of the Lord in the meeting. I knew the Lord gave me a message for the people. Brother Lawrence confessed. He made a very long story of his coming from America, but he at last came to the point and confessed his influence had been all wrong. He seemed to be broken up, but he did not touch the particular things. I do not know whether he met the mind of the Spirit of the Lord or not, but I was much burdened. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 28

Sister Lawrence got up and had a long story to tell of how good she was and how good her father was. He had not embraced the truth, was very much opposed to the truth, but what a good Christian he was, and he had brought her up. Oh, it was so out of place and so tedious! I at last begged of her not to take precious time to tell the family history. She had stated that she wrote to her son if they had money to waste to send it over here. I suppose she meant to give the impression that this is the business they were engaged in. Some took it that she meant that they would find abundance of opportunity to use all they would waste. But as she and he both had talked so freely about wasting means, I think it was as I first understood it, that was to send money here to be wasted by being misappropriated. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 29

It seemed as though a funeral pall had enclosed us, and I was mortified and distressed. The meeting soon closed and I was glad to go out while they were singing. I felt so burdened. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 30

I am unable to write much today. My left eye troubles me very much. Tonight we have a meeting about the horse dicker, the strangest piece of business I ever heard of being done. Tonight we have this matter investigated—Brother Lacey, Brethren Wooden, Connell, Hare, and myself. What a pity I have to engage in such business, just because not one man is left here who will be respected. It is too bad. I will do my best, but ought not to do anything in the matter. I will write the results after the meeting. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 31

I received the letters Brother Daniells sent to you. I am relieved of a great burden. Brethren Miller and Wood and the Miller younger brothers were needed. I am very thankful to the Lord for this reunion and in a proper, correct manner. I also received excellent letters from Brother Farnsworth and Brother Baker. I will send them if I can get them copied. These three letters were a bit of sunshine amid the clouds. I read them in meeting Sabbath—not the Farnsworth letter, for that was too long. May the Lord bless him for writing so tenderly and so truly. You know I wrote him in regard to his preaching the Word and keeping his hands off the machinery. How it relieves me to hear such a response to a message of caution given. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 32

Received a letter today that Sister Baker has a fine boy, weighing nine pounds. All doing well. They want Chrissie Martin to come. They need her much. But Chrissie Martin goes home. She learns her mother is not well. Her father is sick. Sister Lucas has just gone to visit her mother and is to remain away two weeks. Now Chrissie leaves and we have no help. I thought of going to Sydney but will not go this week. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 33

This letter is in jots and tittles and I am afraid it will not interest you, but just pass it over to Edson. I wish you could see the few late peaches we allowed to remain on the tree. They are very large and very nice. We have tomatoes in abundance. There will be all May and our family will want. The vines hand full. Our grape arbor is now being put up. Harry is here while there is no work for him on school building. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 34


Willie, did I send you a copy of a dream I had in regard to you and Dr. Kellogg? I cannot find it; thought I might have sent it. 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 35

(Could not get this copied.) 12LtMs, Lt 167, 1897, par. 36