Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)


Difficult Days in Paris

James and Ellen White faced difficult times in Paris. She wrote of it: We suffered many privations.... We were willing to live cheaply that the paper might be sustained. My husband was a dyspeptic. We could not eat meat or butter, and were obliged to abstain from all greasy food. Take these from a poor farmer's table and it leaves a very spare diet. Our labors were so great that we needed nourishing food. 1BIO 205.2

We had much care, and often sat up as late as midnight, and sometimes until two or three in the morning, to read proof-sheets. We could have better borne these extra exertions could we have had the sympathy of our brethren in Paris, and had they appreciated our labors and the efforts we were making to advance the cause of truth. Mental labor and privation reduced the strength of my husband very fast.—Life Sketches of James White and Ellen G. White (1880), 278. 1BIO 205.3

They did have with them in Paris their horse, Charlie, and the carriage. In early January, 1851, they lent these to Rhodes and Andrews to visit brethren in Canada and northern Vermont. James and Ellen had received a special invitation to attend a conference at Waterbury, Vermont. In spite of the fact that it was midwinter, they started out traveling by train and private conveyance. Finding one poor brother whom they felt should attend the conference to which they were traveling, they promised him if he would go they would give him their fare to aid in buying a horse, and ride with him. En route they called on Joseph Baker. Eager to see him attend the conference, they gave him $5 to pay his fare on the railroad, then they spent most of three days traveling in an open sleigh without blanket or buffalo robe to protect them from the January cold. Commented Ellen White, “We suffered much.”—Ibid., 279. 1BIO 205.4

At the Waterbury conference they ran into distressing criticism. A whispering campaign had been started against James White in which many joined, even the venerable Joseph Bates. It was based on the opinion that the Whites had too good a horse, and as James had been very liberal in contributing to the conference, he must be making money. Wrote Ellen White: 1BIO 205.5

This was the reward he received. We were forced to wade through a tide of oppression. It seemed that the deep waters would overflow us, and that we should sink.—Ibid., 280. 1BIO 206.1

One discouraging episode followed another. Severe colds that took hold of him on the journey to and from Waterbury settled in James's lungs. Of the result wrote Ellen White: 1BIO 206.2

He sank beneath his trials. He was so weak he could not get to the printing office without staggering. Our faith was tried to the uttermost. We had willingly endured privation, toil, and suffering, yet but few seemed to appreciate our efforts, when it was even for their good we had suffered. We were too much troubled to sleep or rest.—Ibid., 280, 281. 1BIO 206.3

The situation finally came to the point where James declared, “Wife, it is no use to try to struggle on any longer. These things are crushing me, and will soon carry me to the grave. I cannot go any farther. I have written a note for the paper stating that I shall publish no more.”—Ibid. As he stepped out of the door to take the note to the printing office, Ellen fainted. He returned, and she rallied in response to earnest prayer. The next morning at family worship she was taken off in vision. She wrote of what she was shown: 1BIO 206.4

I saw that my husband must not give up the paper, for such a step was just what Satan was trying to drive him to take, and he was working through agents to do this. I was shown that he must continue to publish, and that the Lord would sustain him.—Ibid., 281. 1BIO 206.5

So the Review and Herald continued to come from the press one or two issues a month until Number 13 was put out on June 9, 1851. With this White closed the first volume and they terminated their stay in Paris. The back page of the next-to-last issue carried an announcement disclosing their plans: 1BIO 206.6

All orders for publications, letters, and remittances should be sent in season to be received by the ninth of June, as we shall leave Paris for western New York about that time. Our post office address from the eighteenth to the twenty-third of June will be Camden, New York. From the twenty-fifth to the thirtieth of June, West Milton, Saratoga County, New York.—The Review and Herald, June 2, 1851. 1BIO 206.7

The notice included appointments for conferences to be held in New York State, Camden and West Milton. 1BIO 207.1

The next week the Review carried on its back page a message from James White concerning the paper: 1BIO 207.2

It seems duty to suspend the publication of the paper for a few weeks, to attend the conferences at Camden, and Milton, New York, and visit other places as the way may open. But we are satisfied that we must have a paper, and we would now suggest that it may be duty to have it published weekly. Does not the cause of truth require it? 1BIO 207.3

Our brethren are scattered in a wide field, and can be visited by the traveling brethren but seldom, and we think they need the weekly visits of a paper containing not only the evidences of our position, but the experience of those who are receiving the truth, and cheering accounts of the work in different parts of the field. Doubtless the brethren would be free to write, and thus contribute to the interest of the paper. 1BIO 207.4

Perhaps it should be published at a more central place, where the publications could be obtained with less expense, and where we could go out and spend the Sabbath with the brethren in different places. We now ask the brethren to write freely relative to the above suggestions.—Ibid., June 9, 1851 1BIO 207.5