Ellen G. White: The Lonely Years: 1876-1891 (vol. 3)


The Relation of Ellen White's Articles to D'Aubigne

All this publicity and urging Seventh-day Adventists to secure and read D'Aubigne's works on the Reformation is significant in view of the suggestion that in her tracing the history of the controversy she plagiarized the works of other authors. It is clear that she did make use of the writings of others in her narrative. But there was nothing surreptitious about it, and her use of the writings of others in no way injured the income from these standard works to their authors. 3BIO 214.2

As she penned the Luther story, she had at hand a condensation of D'Aubigne's work that she found most helpful. A notation in her handwritten manuscript on Luther gives a lead to this: “See Words That Shook the World, 240 pages.” She was here referring to a volume in her library written by Charles Adams: Words That Shook the World; or, Martin Luther, His Own Biographer. Being Pictures of the Great Reformer Sketched Mainly From His Own Sayings (New York: Carlton and Porter, 1858). In his preface Adams informs the reader: “For most of the sketches herein comprised I am indebted mainly to the work of D'Aubigne, from whose voluminous and captivating pages I have endeavored to draw forth the subject of my book, and, with a style and brevity suited to youthful readers, set him forth for their contemplation.” In her writing on Luther for the series of Signs articles, she found this condensation of D'Aubigne helpful and copied some, paraphrased some, and gave some in her own words. 3BIO 214.3

Through 1883 Ellen White was optimistic about the early completion of volume 4. On March 17 she wrote to J. N. Andrews in Switzerland: 3BIO 214.4

I have not been able to write many letters on account of the effort I am making to get off volume 4. I am making good headway on this book, and four weeks, I think, will complete it.—Letter 9, 1883. 3BIO 215.1

On July 3, while in Oakland hurrying the publication of the Testimony for the Battle Creek Church, she wrote her helper, Mrs. Ings, “I am in a hurry to get all settled down and rush this book.” Marian, she said, “can press ...volume 4” (Letter 13, 1883). But in mid-August, with Butler urging her to help with the camp meetings, the unfinished work was laid aside to wait until the next year. 3BIO 215.2