Lt 245, 1899

1899

Lt 245, 1899

White, W. C.

Sunnyside, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

August, 1899

Previously unpublished.

Dear Son Willie:

After Elders Haskell and Irwin left us I was nearly completely exhausted. I cannot describe my feelings. I felt as nearly alone as I have at any period of my life. I shall miss Elder Haskell very much. He could appreciate the character of my work as no one else now living has ever done. If your mind were not called in so many ways, engrossed in so many things, you might in time be the best help I could have. But it is not possible for me to expect this. Your education has been in that line that business is your forte, and I have tried to be reconciled. Whenever a call has been made, you were up and off. I made the remarks I did to you that I should no longer place any dependence upon the surety of your help. I do not think you have felt the burden of my work or how I have been situated and my sore perplexities. Lt245-1899.1

I expected when Sister Peck came at my call you would link up with her, and you being acquainted with the character of the work to be done, a great burden would be taken from me. But I am sorely disappointed. When you give yourself to the work, you can do that which no other one can do; but this has only been for a limited period of time. Then you accepted other burdens, some of which were apparently a necessity, some things—I might say many things—were placed first and [my] work second or thirdly. Lt245-1899.2

I have felt that Edson should be with me. Whether he would be a help or hindrance depends largely upon the state of his mind. I know of no one who could do this work as well as yourself and he. But I am compelled to realize the fact that you have little confidence in your brother, and he does not have much confidence in your course of action. He has not written me anything but what I have placed in your hands, so you understand his expression as well as I do. I was very much disappointed that you, his own brother, did not take a special burden on you to visit him in the field of his labor. You seemed to me, in this, to pass an opportunity that you may never have again of seeing things on his own ground of labor. This hurt my soul. I was here, working to supply the necessities of your family. I neglected nothing that I knew needed to be done for your wife May and your children. I made every exertion to build you a home and to make you a present of the same. You knew this when you were in America. And I was intensely interested that you should act a brother’s part toward Edson. Lt245-1899.3

I did not suggest some things to you that I might. I left you to be just as forward to help your brother as you have been to help others, just as solicitous in his case as you have been for others who were no kith or kin to you. You ought by this time to have known his temperament and to have been very tender and careful in speaking with him and acting in my behalf toward him. I was acting toward you the part of a mother. I mothered your family and I sincerely hoped you would feel the same toward Edson. Lt245-1899.4

I would say to you, Willie, I am supplying all the money that you loaned to Edson White, and I think it would be a brotherly action for you to say to him, “Edson, you are, I see, having a hard time and a hard struggle. I will not ask you to pay to the uttermost farthing of the debt you owe me. If ever you get in a situation to pay, all right. If not, I shall never ask it of you.” This is what I expected and had a right to expect. I thought you were so very susceptible to all these things in many other cases you would certainly understand the right thing to do. But when the case was laid open before me by yourself, I felt bruised in spirit; and the close terms, as it appeared to me you made with Edson, would not serve to strengthen brotherly affection as God would be pleased to have it, but to make the breach between you wider. Lt245-1899.5

Now, Willie, I have begrudged you nothing. I paid the school debt of May’s. I paid about one hundred dollars to have her teeth set in order. I have clothed her and your children almost entirely since you were married. I have shared my fruit with you and loved to do it and in no case would be deprived of the privilege. I have told you I made to you a free gift of your home, and the land you required. And could not you have handled this case of Edson in a similar manner? Lt245-1899.6

Now, W. C. White, my son, I love Edson White and his wife just as much as I love you and your wife, and am more sympathetic for Edson than for you, because before his birth circumstances were peculiarly unfavorable in regard to his stamp of character. My association while carrying him, the peculiar experience I was forced to have, was most objectionable and severely trying. After his birth it was no less so for years. It was altogether different in your case. Lt245-1899.7

I could not have felt worse if he had died, than to have the impression on your mind and on his mind, as I know it was when you were in America. I know you tried to help him, but mingled with this was the business in the book arrangements that made him sore by every touch of yours in the matter. From the light given me of the Lord, these things should not have been managed the way they were, for it cut deeply and there has not been that tenderness exercised in regard to your brother that there should have been. There was too much of the spirit, “Pay me what thou owest” [Matthew 18:28], when I was doing for you and for your family all the time everything I could do, and I did it gladly. The light that the Lord has given me has been that there should be unity and love existing and constantly cherished between you, and you have just as much to do in this matter as has Edson, your elder brother. Lt245-1899.8

This alienation must not exist. Any sacrifice is better than this. The Lord has dealt tenderly with Edson and has accepted his labors in the South, although he has made mistakes in not heeding the instruction given him in regard to plans that were revealed to me, but that he was anticipating. I do not now want Edson to come here if there is not a change in your feelings toward him. I have written him to come, for I wish him to be with me awhile, and I wish him to help me in my work. I have not confidence that your mind will be able to assimilate to the work I have in hand. The Life of Paul must be revised, and the temperance book brought before the people. Could you have given to me more of your time, the large bills paid for that work that amounts to nothing would have been saved. How to Live is to be revised, and all these things weigh me down as a heavy burden. The Testimonies are to be prepared in right shape to come before the people. Lt245-1899.9

I stop here, but say to you, Do not withhold yourself from any position you think you should take, for you might just as well have the position assigned you as to do the work without the appointment. You can then have your pay from the union conference and do the work you are accustomed to do and have been educated to do, and then I will not count upon you and will shape myself to the situation and manage, if possible, to get some help from a woman, not a man. I will take right hold myself with Sister Peck. We will read matters together, and then I will not be looking forward to and expecting your help, which I do not get. Lt245-1899.10

I think you can read this without copying. Lt245-1899.11

I shall send my letter to Edson White that I read to you. If he decides to come, I will be glad; and if you will both decide to do those things which make for unity and peace, the Lord will greatly bless you both. I am sure you can help your brother by sheathing the sword of sharp words and showing tender, thoughtful affection. Your words are sharp and severe, not alone to him, but toward others. This is not natural. This is not hereditary with you, but is the habit you are getting into, and have been for years. Let a change come, and the Lord will bless you; but words spoken have displeased the Lord Jesus, for they were sarcasm and wholly uncalled for. Lt245-1899.12

I leave these matters now with you, and [will] be perfectly free, for I shall not be hindered any longer. It is not the will of God that I should be. I shall do my best now while life shall last, to press these testimonies right into circulation. And do not think I have not appreciated the work you have done to get hold of the matter. Lt245-1899.13

I shall not attend camp meeting in any place without special light from the Lord. I shall be with my workers; and we shall, if possible, accomplish something—if it is not so wonderful and precise. This is the plan to which I have thought I should work. I see no other plan. I did not send this matter to Sydney as I designed to do, but see[ing] things now as I do, I shall go straight ahead as soon as the American mail leaves. I shall not wait one day for you, my son, or for any other one. The work I supposed would be done is not done. Lt245-1899.14

Mother.

August 13

My son, W. C. White, Do not think I do not appreciate your work when you give yourself to it, for I do appreciate it highly. Lt245-1899.15

But I have lost all hope of any success while I wait your notion, or freedom, to work in the matter so important to me. I cannot have you take hold of the work in a sort of catch it up [manner], to drop it to do work at the school, and I keep the burden of matters, of planning and devising methods and ways, while I have a very little of your mind, for it is on something else. Lt245-1899.16

When you proposed last night to have Sister Peck take a class of teachers to educate for church schools, I said to myself, What does he mean? Can he have any real sense of my labors and the burdens I carry? It is a hopeless case. He would suggest things to take away the only working force I have on these important matters which should come to the people. There cannot be catching up my work as a woman would her knitting work and dropping it just as readily. Every time Sister Peck has her mind called to other work, that mind and its power, which the work should have, is diverted. Lt245-1899.17