Manuscript Releases, vol. 8 [Nos. 526-663]

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MR No. 555—Ellen White Experiences in Australia and New Zealand

Yesterday before going to the station for Willie we went to take a short ride. Brother Reekie had hired a livery team and wagonette, and we piled in with our baggage. In about thirty minutes the train would be in, and then we were going to the boat with our baggage. I saw that the horse's head was held very high, like our Jim's in California, and I asked Brother Reekie, “Is this horse safe?” He said, “Perfectly.” I looked at Sister Starr and said to her, “Sister Starr, I cannot sympathize with you in your fear to ride after a spirited horse.” 8MR 80.1

It was only a few moments, as we were going down a thoroughfare, the horse began to kick, and Brother Reekie turned him into a side street, out of the press of carriages; but he kicked and kicked; his heels went crushing through the dashboard. I said to Sister Starr and Emily, “Get out, get out as quick as you can.” Sister Starr's lips were white, and I was thoroughly frightened. Brother Starr jumped over the wheel, and was at the horse's head, but his head was held so high Brother Starr could not, without great effort, catch the bridle and hold him by the bit. Thud, thud, went his steel-clad heels into the carriage. 8MR 80.2

Sister Starr and Emily were nearest the door, but they did not stop to open it; we all climbed over the closed door and tumbled out in good order without bruising an ankle, and were ever so thankful to be out of the fracas. After a time the horse stopped his kicking. My spring seat was placed on a rock by the wayside, and we all were with our satchels seated there half an hour. The horse and wagonette were taken back to the stable, and the owners were reprimanded by Brother Starr for hitching up a horse that was too long for the shafts. Another horse and carriage were provided for us, and Brother Reekie picked us up by the roadside and we went to the depot for Willie. We met him just in time, and all went on board the boat, and stowed our baggage in our stateroom, and in the hold of the boat.—Manuscript 5, 1893, 2, 3. (Diary, February 4, 1893.) 8MR 80.3

This [Kaeo, New Zealand] is a very beautiful place. Mountains rise above mountains, not sere and brown, but clothed with verdure and trees of every description. We are making our home with Father Hare's family, three miles from Kaeo, from the meetinghouse, and from the Hare brother's store, which is close by the meetinghouse. 8MR 81.1

We left Joseph Hare's home Wednesday morning. Thursday morning it began to rain, and the windows of heaven seemed to be opened. Sheets of water came down steadily all day and all night. The ravine filled with water coming from the hills, until it roared like a cataract. They say that the water has sometimes risen very high, but there has been nothing like this for twenty-eight years. It carried away bridges and floated off considerable wood. From the orchards on the borders of the creek, apples and other fruit went on a long visit from the owners. Father Hare's house stands on a high rise of ground, so they had no fears that the water would reach them there. 8MR 81.2

Our foreign mail was prepared Thursday morning, and Brother Metcalf Hare came for it in the pouring rain. He carried it three miles to Kaeo, then Joseph Hare took it by boat three miles to the harbor, to the mail boat. But the boat could not venture out in such a storm; it waited till the next morning. 8MR 81.3

When we rode to Kaeo after the storm, we found the nice road greatly changed. The gravel had been washed off. There had been landslides from the mountains. During the storm the water had covered the road, and great logs, six feet through, had come tearing down the ravine. These logs were driven up on the road, some lying close beside the carriage way, others half-way across it, but leaving room for teams to pass. Poles and debris from the flood were lodged in high trees, corn fields were beaten down, and immense logs piled on fields; the crop was utterly ruined. 8MR 82.1

In Kaeo, water swept into the houses, and some dwellings were washed away. The house of the Wesleyan minister was on a high hill. About thirty persons found refuge with him during the flood. Some of the immense logs swept down by the flood had been lying for years some miles back in the mountains. There was not sufficient water to float them down. 8MR 82.2

We intended to go about a mile beyond the store, to Joseph Hare's, but found that the bridge was gone. Brother Starr crossed over the ruins on foot and went to the house, and Sister Hare and her children came down to see me. She said their nice garden I had admired so much was ruined, and logs were piled on it. Fruit trees were broken down. The barn was flooded; the horses and cow swam out and made for the mountains. Their choice poultry were all swept away, with fifty hives of bees. 8MR 82.3

The store was on a high rise, but the water came into it about three or four feet deep. Two sisters who slept in the store put up the goods out of reach of the water, so that little harm was done. Great damage has been done on many farms, but no lives are reported to have been lost. The houses on the lowland have the appearance of the [Johnstown] Pennsylvania flood. Everything was soaked, and out on the fences drying. I tried to get some salt, but not a store in the place had any. All had been soaked with dirty water. Flour and many other things had been ruined in the water. But enough of this picture. 8MR 82.4

Here we have all the privileges of Fern Tree Gully. The best fern trees grow on the uplands and by the ravine, and you find them all up the mountainsides. Every conceivable variety of ferns is close by. They make the scenery very attractive. The mountains are on every side, before, behind, on the right hand, and on the left, towering hundreds of feet toward the heavens. 8MR 83.1

We were treated very kindly here. All seem to feel it a great privilege to do all in their power for our comfort and happiness. 8MR 83.2

I spoke eight times in Auckland, and have already spoken three times in Kaeo. Sunday afternoon we had the privilege of speaking in the Wesleyan Methodist Church. The building is set up on a high hill, and considerable climbing was required in order to get to it. The house was filled to overflowing. Extra seats were required, and then some had to stand. I spoke very plainly from the first part of the seventeenth of John, and the people listened as if spellbound. We were requested to hold meetings on Sabbath in the church. We gave an appointment for Sunday evening. The house was full to hear Elder Starr, and appointments were made for Sabbath and Sunday afternoons in the same place. 8MR 83.3

Father Hare has a very pretty place, close by a clear-running brook from the mountains. The scenery on the way to Kaeo makes one think of the road from Healdsburg to Crystal Springs, though the road here is not so dangerous.—Manuscript 37, 1893, 1-3. (“At Father Hare's, Kaeo, N.Z.,” March 1, 1893.) 8MR 83.4

I have spoken [in Kaeo, New Zealand] the two Sabbaths and Sundays, and four times in the evening. On the first Sabbath we held the meeting in the little chapel built for Seventh-day Adventists. Sunday afternoon we secured the Wesleyan chapel, and I spoke to the people. The house was crowded to its utmost extent, and benches and everything available was pressed into service. The little bench before the pulpit, and the platform, were filled with children. The Lord gave me freedom in speaking, and there was the very best of attention.... 8MR 84.1

On Sunday the Wesleyan chapel was crowded; every available seat was brought in, and at last an old chest in the hall was dragged in as the last resource. I spoke upon temperance from the Christian standpoint, and all listened with intense interest for two hours. Some said that ended their tobacco-using.... 8MR 84.2

I feel it my duty to bear a plain, decided testimony to the believers in Kaeo. They need, oh so much, to be awakened. They do not know what it means to have a burden for the souls in their own borders. They do not know what it means to seek for the perishing ones out of Christ. They do not see why they need to go to campmeeting. The common duties of life are all-absorbing, and it does not meet their inclination to go out from their work and homes, and be put to inconvenience to obtain light and strength through seeking the Lord with their brethren. We are working to arouse them. May the Lord help us.—Manuscript 38, 1893, 1, 4, 5. (“Labors in Kaeo,” March 8, 1893.) 8MR 84.3

I have had a restless night. I have passed through the process of having my teeth extracted during my dreams. Sister Caro came in the night; is in the house. I met her in the morning at the breakfast table. She said, “Are you sorry to see me?” I answered, “I am pleased to meet Sister Caro, certainly. [I am] not so certain whether I am pleased to meet Mrs. Dr. Caro, dentist.” At ten o'clock I was in the chair and in a short time eight teeth were drawn. I was glad when the job was over. I did not wince or groan. My hand was held as steadily as if I had been writing and a nerve was set in motion by the operation. I had asked the Lord to strengthen me and give me grace to endure the painful process, and I know the Lord heard my prayer. 8MR 85.1

After the teeth were extracted Sister Caro shook like an aspen leaf. Her hands were shaking and she was suffering pain of body. She had felt sick, she said, on the cars during her ten hours’ ride. She dreaded to give pain to Sister White. She slept little Tuesday night and could scarcely eat in the morning, but she knew she must perform the operation and went through with it. Then the patient waited upon the doctor; I had her seated in my easy chair and gave her sips of cholera mixture [a nostrum used for intestinal disorders]—all the stimulus I had in the house. 8MR 85.2

Sister Caro is not a weakling by any means. She is a tall, queenly looking woman, and thorough master of her business. The muscles of her arms are like steel. She can go through all the disagreeable performances firm and composed in ordinary cases. She knew I had borne much pain and that she should be the agent to give me pain caused her much more suffering that it did me. 8MR 85.3

I thank my heavenly Father I bore the trial without a groan and in the use of my senses. I took nothing to stupefy me, and as the result have not the influence of stupefying drugs to recover from. I am pleased to bid farewell to these teeth that have caused me so great suffering. I have expended no less than one hundred and fifty dollars on them and endured very much pain. 8MR 86.1

I feel so thankful that I have assurance that the Lord is to me a present help in every time of need. I arose early this morning to prepare and complete articles to send to Fanny [Bolton] for the papers, articles on the life of Christ for Marian [Davis], letters for Willie [White]. Some of these I had to finish after the teeth drawing, for Brother London takes the boat at about two o'clock for Melbourne school. Sister Caro did not leave today as expected on the afternoon train. I kept to my chamber and did not care to sit at the table with them. I suffered considerable pain.—Manuscript 81, 1893, 11, 12. (Diary, July 5, 1893.) 8MR 86.2

We are very busily engaged in preparing matter for the Melbourne [Australia] mail. The young Maori lad, sixteen years old, has come from Napier to see me. W. C. White and myself met with him and conversed in regard to his attending Melbourne school. We find him quite an intelligent lad, and we make arrangements for him, loaning him money to pay his passage to Melbourne and to pay his tuition in the school. He has large property left him by his mother. He embraced the truth while attending school twenty miles from Hastings, on the road to Ormondville and Palmerston. 8MR 86.3

Pomare also embraced the truth through the instrumentality of Everston who had once kept the Sabbath but given it up, yet believed all the truth. These boys became interested through some reading and conversation, and came to Everston for more particulars of what he did believe. He took his Bible and presented the evidences of our faith. Several became deeply interested and would not rest until they heard more and still more. 8MR 87.1

The man Pomare has been baptized and has gone to America to become a medical missionary. He had a very hard time of it to get off from his people. The case was watched with deep interest. He is the son of a chief of high repute. The lad who wants to go to Melbourne is the son of an eminent chieftain of the tribe, who is a member of the legislature in Wellington. His father gave his consent, also his grandfather—who is holding the money belonging to the young man—but some of the bitterest opposers to our faith wrote to the father and grandfather a representation of our people and they took back their consent and would not let him go. But he told them he should go, and he wrote to Sister Caro for the money and if she could not let him have it to solicit Sister White to loan it to him. 8MR 87.2

We considered this was a wonderful providence, the conversion of these young men. We recognized the hand of God in the matter and dared not close the door against this young man, and we have taken him under our guardianship. He will, when of age, receive his legacy and then will return the money loaned. Some say he can come into possession at seventeen, others say at twenty-one. W. C. White went on Friday to do up the business for the young man, and secure his tickets. 8MR 87.3

We went to a Maori house, our near neighbors, to call upon them. There was a young man, very wealthy, a Maori who had attended the same school with him [the Maori being helped to go to Melbourne]. He came home Wednesday, sick with dropsy, and died in the night. The mourning ceremony was kept up by the friends, in bitter weeping and wailing and terrible distress for the dead. 8MR 88.1

The young Maori came very near being prevented from returning to Napier and pursuing his journey as he anticipated. The Maoris insisted he must accompany the funeral procession to the dead man's home, and he said he should not have been left to come back to Napier, but in the arrangements made hastily, friends of the dead man in council were determining in regard to having another day of mourning, and while interestedly discussing the matter he slipped off unperceived, and just in time took the train for Napier. Had he not, he could not have carried out his purpose, and it is impossible to tell what device Satan might have prepared to bar his way from attending Melbourne school. Oh, how deeply interested I am that these young men shall become prepared to do the missionary work so essential to be done for their own nation! 8MR 88.2

There is still another young Maori, converted to the truth from Catholicism, who is desirous to go to school to learn the truth that he may become a missionary, but his friends refused to let him go. They say he may go next year. They hope he will give up his “notions” if they hold him back. 8MR 88.3

There are several others in the school being leavened with the truth, but since these marked cases of conversion, most stringent rules have been made so that it is difficult to get a chance at these students. Brother Everston came to the meeting a few weeks ago when I spoke in Napier, and Sister Caro talked with him and he promised to again keep the Sabbath, and I heard read a very interesting letter from his pen of his experience.—Manuscript 85, 1893, 10-12. (Diary, September 15, 1893.) 8MR 88.4

On the Steamer Wairarapa, Tuesday, December 19, 1893. The wind is increasing until it blows a gale. I do not venture upon the deck. I feel glad to keep still. All are more or less affected. Elder [O. A.] Olsen is decidedly sick. Emily [Campbell] is on deck lying down. The wind blows, the waves run high, the white-capped billows reach far, far as the eye can reach, restlessly moving, tossing, mounting up mountain high, splashing over the deck. 8MR 89.1

Willie [White] thought it best for me to go up on deck. He lashed my chair in what was supposed to be a sheltered place. Three men were sitting very near me who were splashed with the waves of the sea. Willie made another move to get in the center of the ship and lie down on the long bench for a time, but the wind had worked the waters into a perfect fury. I was lifting my heart to God for Christ, who stilled the tempest, to say “Peace, be still.” 8MR 89.2

All at once the rainbow spanned the heavens. I could see the signs of God's promise in the bow in the clouds, and I was resting in confidence in His protecting arms. It was difficult to get down to the ladies’ saloon. I clung to Willie, but the wind would not let us advance. A gentleman came to his help. Once below I was quite sick and vomited most earnestly, and felt better. I could not eat Monday or Tuesday. We had a much more pleasant night than we feared we should have. Slept much better than we feared. 8MR 89.3

How terrible it seems to be on a boat like this while its managers are apparently full of carousing and of sport; and drinking, smoking, and swearing are so abundant. 8MR 90.1

The lady in waiting is very kind to me. I gave her Steps to Christ and some papers and pamphlets. I talked with her in regard to her soul's salvation. I pointed out the perils of anyone whose life was on the sea. She said she had thought of this ofttimes, but she said, “If I could, I would be a Christian, but I cannot. It would be an impossibility to serve God on such a vessel as this. You do not know, you cannot have any idea of the wickedness of these sailors. The captain and mates are so closely of the same character with the crew of sailors that they have no influence to introduce reform, if they desired such a thing.” I asked why she did not seek some other employment. She said, “It would be no use. I have four children to support and I have not strength to do hard work.” She was a small, delicate, fine-featured woman. “I earn more here on this ship than I could obtain in any other employment.” 8MR 90.2

I tried to open before her the danger of living a prayerless life. She said, “It is no use to pray here, to try to be religious.” I told her if the Lord had appointed her that place she would, if she would accept Christ as her Saviour, realize Christ as her refuge. She said, with tears in her eyes, “It is impossible. I know the company on this ship. I could not live religion here. I hope some time to have some place opened for me where I can support my family, and then I shall give my attention to serious things. If I could only be with my children and support them in a humble way I would only too gladly choose to do so.” 8MR 90.3

We were anchored some distance from Auckland. Elder Olsen and Willie White were on board, with Emily Campbell and me. There was a small steamer going from the ship to shore and we, all of our party, decided to go and spend a few hours while the ship was waiting in the harbor. We had some hours before the ship would unload her passengers and take aboard other passengers. 8MR 91.1

Elder Olsen and Willie stepped on board the small boat, and through some misunderstanding went off before we stepped aboard. Emily felt much disappointed. I never saw her so unbalanced. She cried heartily and I felt so sorry on her account. The mate entered into conversation with her and told her that the boat would come to the steamer again before it went to the wharf, then he said much the same as the stewardess had said in regard to the wickedness of the sailors and the crew. He said, “I have been much impressed that this boat will go down with all hands on board ere long. I have felt so strongly exercised that I shall not, if I can possibly disconnect from it, continue to remain on the boat.” [E. G. White postscript: “This nice boat went down, sunk with all on board with the exception of two, in a few weeks after this. The mate was one that was saved. The stewardess-nurse was advertised among the list of the lost.”] 8MR 91.2

When I see as I do on this boat such disregard for God and for anything serious, I ask myself, What can be done? Brother Olsen has had opportunity to speak to them in the social hall. Many were present and listened, but a feeling of hopelessness comes over him that it will do no good. But, if ever poor souls needed to be worked for and labored for, it is such a party as is found on the steamers. But then we see the influences upon land as soon as the sailors leave the ship for a few hours’ delay. There are saloons all ready to catch souls and the nets and snares are ready for those who remain maybe a week or more. What is to be hoped for this class? My heart aches.—Manuscript 88, 1893, 10-12. (Diary, December 19, 1893.) 8MR 91.3

I am seated on the bed writing at half past three a.m. Have not slept since half past one o'clock. Ella May White and I are the sole occupants of a large, comfortable family tent. Close by is another good-sized tent, used as a dining tent. We have a rude shanty for a kitchen, and a small five by five storeroom. Next is another tent, which accommodates three of my workmen. Next is a room enclosed but not finished, for wash-house and workshop. This is now used as a bedroom by two men, Bro. Shannon, my master builder, and Bro. Caldwell. These five men we board. Several others are at work on the land who board themselves. Fanny Bolton occupies another tent, well fitted up with her organ and furniture. You see we have quite a village of tents. 8MR 92.1

I drive my own two horse team, visit the lumber mills and order lumber, to save the time of the workmen, and go out in search of our cows. I have purchased two good cows—that is, good for this locality. Almost everywhere in the colonies they have a strange custom of confining the cow at milking time. They put her head in a fixture called a bail, then tie up one of her legs to a stake. It is a barbarous practice. I told those of whom I bought my cows that I should do no such thing, but leave the creatures free, and teach them to stand still. The owner looked at me in astonishment, “You cannot do this, Mrs. White,” he said. “They will not stand. No one thinks of doing any other way.” “Well,” I answered, “I shall give you an example of what can be done.” I have not had a rope on the cow's leg, or had her head put into a bail. One of my cows had run on the mountains till she was three years old, and was never milked before. 8MR 92.2

The people have not the slightest idea that they can depart from former practices, and train the dumb animals to better habits by painstaking efforts. We have treated our cows gently, and they are perfectly docile. These cows had never had a mess of bran or any other prepared food. They get their living by grazing on the mountains and the calf runs with the cow. Such miserable customs! We are trying to teach better practices. 8MR 93.1

Large tracts of beautiful land lie uncleared, unworked. The timber business has brought the settlers a meager pittance, and almost every day we see a drove of bullocks used to draw one, or sometimes two or three large logs. We count six, seven, or eight span, moving slowly along with their burden. Six span of bullocks were used to plow our land for cultivation. They are under discipline, and will move at a word and a crack of a whip, which makes a sharp report, but does not touch them. They wheel into line when it seems that they must get tangled up, but the creatures understand their business, and they plod patiently with the immense plow used to break up the unworked soil. 8MR 93.2

The people about here have raised no vegetables, and but little fruit, except a few oranges and lemons that are not cultivated, and I have seen a few peach trees. Land is profitless, but in the land boom it cost eight pounds an acre, some of which now sells for four. Thousands of acres lie untouched; for no one attempts to work the land. They think it will yield nothing, but we know it will yield if properly cultivated. 8MR 93.3

The school land, fifteen hundred acres, was purchased for $5,500. The school has twelve acres put into orchard, I have two acres in fruit trees. We shall experiment on this land, and if we make a success, others will follow our example. Notwithstanding oranges and lemons have yielded year after year, not a new tree is planted by the settlers. Their indolence and laziness causes false witness to be borne against the land. When right methods of cultivation are adopted there will be far less poverty than now exists. 8MR 94.1

I did not expect to write you in this way, but these particulars we want you to have that you may understand what we are doing. We intend to give the people practical lessons upon the improvement of the land, and thus induce them to cultivate their land, now lying idle. If we accomplish this, we shall have done good missionary work. 8MR 94.2

Today Mr. Moseley comes to bring oranges and lemon trees for us to set out. As soon as this work is done, we shall begin to plant vegetables. We have to get our groceries from Sydney, nearly a hundred miles away, or from Newcastle, twenty-two miles. But we hope soon to raise our own fruit and vegetables. Willie cannot be here, so I am here in his place, where I can oversee matters, and plan and consult with the workmen. I am called out from my routine of writing, yet I arise at half past one, at two, and three o'clock, and for a week have done considerable writing.—Letter 42, 1895, pp. 1-4. (To J. H. Kellogg, August 28, 1895.) 8MR 94.3

Released September 26, 1977.