Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years: 1862-1876 (vol. 2)


Supplementary Income Aided White Family Finances

James and Ellen White were often involved in various financial enterprises for the advancement of the publishing of the message. It has also been noted how they opened their home to orphans, widows, and needy young people. This could not be accomplished on James White's very limited salary—$12 per week in 1865. A modest income from his literary productions and those of Ellen White was dedicated largely to these financial interests. Also, during the war James White discerned that paper prices would rapidly increase, and he invested in stationery, which he sold for a profit. In addition, he carried Bibles, concordances, and other useful reference works that he advertised occasionally in the Review. 2BIO 96.1

In later years he mentioned his regrets that these interests had drawn on his strength and broken into his time, but he saw no alternative. This was before the days of Adventist Book Centers. 2BIO 96.2

He wrote of this while at the Dansville institution, when he could look at some things from a distance and ponder the involvements. He was troubled with seeming indifference manifested by ministers and laymen, and chose to call attention to what had been accomplished by his diligence. 2BIO 96.3

We wish here to state that our intense anxiety for the prompt accomplishment of enterprises, such as the association fund, and the relief of ministers in providing them homes, has induced us to lead off with donations far beyond our real ability. If it be inquired, How have you been able to do this? we answer, By loading our trunks, when out on preaching tours, with Bibles and books of various kinds, and becoming a traveling merchant, in connection with the duties of a minister, and the vast amount of office business, and in pursuing the same energetic course when at home. 2BIO 96.4

It has been double and sometimes triple labor that has brought into our hands means by which we could set examples, to be so slowly and stintingly followed. 2BIO 97.1

The sequel thus far is you are laying up treasures on earth, while we have been growing worn and old, two years in one.—The Review and Herald, September 27, 1864. 2BIO 97.2

He reported, perhaps with a touch of egotism: 2BIO 97.3

We are happy to state that our circumstances are very comfortable and respectable, for which we can thank God, and our own energetic business tact. We would not appear ungrateful for the many kind favors from dear friends since we have been connected with the cause. But it is our privilege to here state that for every dollar we have received as a gift, we have given during this time $10.—Ibid.

As he sat there writing at a table in their room at “Our Home on the Hillside,” he could in his mind separate himself from Battle Creek and the pressures of the cause and could project some good resolutions. He wrote: 2BIO 97.4

We wish here to state, at the age of 43, we design to content ourselves with doing one man's work. If the friends of the cause think our services of sufficient value to give us a support, in so doing, we shall, from choice, give up all separate interests in business, and do what we can for the interest of the association, and the cause generally.—Ibid. 2BIO 97.5

He made it very clear: 2BIO 97.6

For the future we design to pay tithes of all we possess, and labor proper hours, seek for the restoring influence of rest for ourselves and overworked family, and give ample chance for those who have a zeal for the Lord to lead off in the liberal enterprises of the cause. Only this one privilege we claim, of paying $10 to each efficient minister who shall be drafted from among us, to help him pay the $300.—Ibid.

Brave words, but how soon forgotten in the din of battle! 2BIO 98.1