Monday, March 3, 2014

In very rough draft - Last ten pages of final chapter [ignore footnote links. they're broken]


Sometime in January 1879 Russell broached the idea of a new paper, adjunct to the Herald. Barbour was surprised and, according to Russell, “suggested that I take editorial charge of the Herald.”[1] Russell declined the offer, inserting a notice in the February 1879 Herald. Entitled “Your Vote Wanted.” It requested a positive vote from those who wanted a second paper. “How many of you want a paper like the Herald twice a month instead of once. Many of those who love the Herald and the truths taught therein, have suggested that it be issued semi-monthly, saying they get hungry between bites.” He explained that they hadn’t done this because of expense to subscribers, many of whom “would find it difficult enough to raise even that small amount.” Russell did not express his growing frustration over Barbour’s censorship of readers’ letters or the gratuitous comments that cut up their articles or that were meant to refute them. Instead, he wrote: 

I now propose – if there are many of you who would like to have and read it -: to publish at Pittsburgh, Pa. another paper with another name and other matter; but of the same general character, size and price (50 cts a year) as the Herald, which would be its auxiliary; the Herald issues on the 1st and the new paper on the 15th of each month. This would enable all who desire a paper oftener to have it. 

While I should continue one of the publishers of the Herald, I should probably be unable to render any assistance to its editing. The two papers would be one in spirit and subject, but separate and distinct in management and finances. 

I presume brothers Paton, Keith, Adams and others could do more writing than they have been doing for the Herald; and though I have no assurance of the kind from them, I think we may safely take for granted they will be glad to write more to you, about the Sparkling jewels of our casket.[2] 

Now I want a vote from each of you. Those who want another paper, who are anxious for it: write at once; saying; I subscribe for the new paper. Let those who receive the Herald free (unable to pay), as well as those who pay, – write. For the new paper, like the Herald, would be just as free as the air you breathe, to all the Lord’s poor: trusting the giver of all mercies, to provide the means for its support if he desires it to live.[3]
            That Barbour only reluctantly inserted Russell’s “Vote Wanted” article seems apparent from his comments found in the May 1879 Herald of the Morning. Barbour printed a letter signed by E. J. Marden.[4] Eliza Marden praised Barbour’s Atonement theory in ways that characterized him as the last-days purveyor of truth. His articles were light from God. Barbour used this as a vehicle to comment on Russell and the idea of a new paper, writing: “We have received many letters since a new paper ‘under different management,’ has been proposed … but had thought best not to publish any personal allusions.”[5] Clearly, Barbour feared a split, but unwilling to see any but himself as the repository of last-days truth, would not consider any understanding but his own. After Russell withdrew and started Zion’s Watch Tower, Barbour let lose all of his resentment and frustration.

            Not surprisingly, since the United States was in the middle of a great depression and families “pinched pennies,” Russell did not get the support he wished. He inserted another notice in Herald of the Morning: 

Those sending in a vote for the new paper will be desirous of knowing the results. Those not sending a postal card, being counted as voting, No; shows that another paper is not generally desired: and to your decision we acquiesce. 

We have no desire to entail on ourself the labor and expense of publishing another paper, if you do not want it, and feel very anxious for it. Those from whom we have heard were evidently pleased with the prospect, and hopeful that it would start, but as compared with the whole number, they are a minority. You may therefore consider the matter as abandoned for the present, unless I hear from a great many more during the next few days.[6]

            Barbour found little comfort in this. Russell was still interested in starting a new paper, and it would be, despite the Russell’s initial assurances, an opposition paper. A letter from Rice gave Barbour the opportunity to forestall a competing paper. Rice started a magazine of his own, The Last Trump, sending a copy of the first issue to Barbour. Barbour advised his readers to subscribe, something he had not done for Russell’s proposed paper: 

The first number of a new paper just started at Oakland, Cal. has reached us; I must say I am more than pleased with its general appearance and manner of presenting the truth. Its editor and publisher, H. B. Rice, has been a Disciple preacher; but seeing the great ‘plan of the ages;” the harvest, time arguments, etc. he feels called to proclaim these blessed truth, with pen, as well as mouth. His paper is a 16 page monthly; fully one third larger than the Herald; and has a clean readable look. His style is crisp, pointed, and telling; and judging by what we have seen, we believe his efforts are calculate to do much good: and therefore ask all who can afford it, to help in circulating his paper. Price $2 pr. year. And, judging by the first number, I know of no $2, monthly, for which I would so willingly invest that amount.[7] 

            Unfortunately, there are no known copies of Rice’s short-lived paper. The claim that Rice was “an early voice,” somehow separate from that of Barbour and Russell, proclaiming Christ’s return for 1870 is not accurate. [8] And a claim that Rice predicted Christ’s return for 1875 is equally in error. Rice’s Last-Times doctrines were derived from Barbour and Russell, and he accepted their conclusions about an extended harvest or ingathering in the last days. There seems to have been less interest in Rice’s paper than in Russell’s proposed new journal. The United States was still suffering from the post-Civil War economic crisis. Two dollars was a huge amount of money. Within a month Rice cut the price in half.[9] Russell was not bound by cost. He funded Herald of the Morning, their other printing and missionary travels. So the issue was: would he continue to support a ministry drifting into a belief system he saw as radically out of “the way.” He would not. He described his decision this way: 

It now became clear to me that the Lord would no longer have me assist financially or to be in any way identified with anything which cast any influence in opposition to the fundamental principle of our holy Christian religion, and I therefore, after a most careful though unavailing effort to reclaim the erring, withdrew entirely from the Herald of the Morning and from further fellowship with Mr. B. But a mere withdrawal I felt was not sufficient to show my continued loyalty to our Lord and Redeemer, whose cause had been thus violently assailed by one in a position to lead the sheep astray – and in that position too very largely by my individual assistance and encouragement when I believed him to be in all sincerity true to the Lord. I therefore understood it to be the Lord's will that I should start another journal in which the standard of the cross should be lifted high, the doctrine of the ransom defended, and the good tidings of great joy proclaimed as extensively as possible. 

Acting upon this leading of the Lord, I gave up traveling, and in July, 1879, the first number of Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence made its appearance. From the first, it has been a special advocate of the ransom, and by the grace of God we hope it will never be any thing else.[10] 

Russell’s last article on the Atonement appeared in the December 1878 issue. He saw further attempts at refutation as fruitless. His last appeal, “You may therefore consider the matter as abandoned for the present, unless I hear from a great many more during the next few days,” seems to have born fruit. Barbour invited Russell to a conference at Rochester. Russell answered his postal card on May 3, 1879, stating his position: 

Dear Brother N. H. Barbour: - Your postal card and letter came duly to hand, and I hope my delay in answering will not be attributed to lack of interest. The fact is that with moving of house and store, spring purchasing of goods (for which I went East), and the work which our Father seems to have put into my hands for the present, viz.: ministering to His children the bread of life each Sunday, as well as baptism and prayer meetings &c., &c., I have been kept so busy as to seldom get above six or six and a half hours sleep per night. With this explanation, let me reply to your letter. 

First: It was not possible for me to attend the proposed meeting at R.(ochester), and I presume, though invited warmly, you scarcely expected me, knowing my pressure of time, &c. Second: I cannot understand how our bank account has so suddenly decreased. I expected that we still had $100 to $125 in bank. If I recollect aright the balance in bank when I was in R. was $163. Am I right? In your reply, please let me know how our account stands, viz: How much was to our credit in bank Jan. 1, ‘79, how much has been received in cash since, and how much in bank and on hand now, also, what largest items of expense have been, &c. 

While I still feel that you are a brother in Christ, and still love you as such, while there are many pleasant memories of the past to refresh my heart, yet, my brother, there has arisen a difference of view between us as to the teaching of our Father’s word, and while giving you credit for all sincerity and honesty in your views, which I claim for myself in the opposite view, yet I must be guided by my own understanding of our Father’s word, and consequently think you to be in error. Now I do not think that every difference of opinion need necessarily break fellowship and communion, yet in this case the points of variance seem to me to be so fundamental and important that the full fellowship and sympathy such as should exist among publishers and editors of a paper or magazine, no longer obtains between you and me, and because this is the case, I feel that our relationship should cease. 

I believe that we are both children of God, and anxious to know and teach the truth. Our Father’s promise is that all truth seekers shall be guided into it; therefore permit me to express the hope that we shall yet see in harmony and understand in unison, the Word. May whichever of us has truth be strengthened and established in it, and the one in error be led to discern the error. Now how shall we dissolve? Will Bro. Withington or some other brother buy out my interest for you, or take my place himself, or do you wish to resign your connection with the Herald. In that case I shall continue it (D. V.) As you are the senior, I give you the opportunity to mention the terms of purchase or sale, I know not whether you feel disposed to purchase or not. In case you and friends wish to purchase, I expect to start another paper. I do not know that, as I feel at present, it would be an auxiliary, as I had at first intended, but neither should it be understood to be an opposition paper; it should be an independent one. I should be the more studious of this, because I should fear that if the friends the readers knew of our difference, &c., the truths which we both aim to honor and advance, might be reflected upon unfavorably in consequence. Please let me know your Answer – and proposition as soon as possible, within a week certainly.

Truly your brother in Christ,

C. T. Russell.[11]

            Barbour was indignant, offended, and angry. He made the matter public, presenting a distorted view of the affair to his readers: 

I have just received a polite invitation from Pittsburgh, Pa. to “mention the terms of purchase or sale,” if I “do not wish to resign my connection with the herald”? A rather strange request from a young man who came into the views advocated by the herald, no longer ago than Nov. 1876, and made to one who established the herald, and advocated all the advanced truths, and all the prophetic arguments, as our young brother is now preaching them, long before he had the opportunity of listening to repeated courses of lectures by its editor, and learning these (to him, as well as to others) beautiful truths. Perhaps it may be well to give, in brother Russell’s own words, the reason for this hardly modest request; “While I still feel that you are a brother in Christ¸ (I am grateful for his charity), and still love you as such, while there are many pleasant memories of the past, (under the circumstances, I am no surprised at this), and give you credit for all honesty in your views, (still charitable you see), which I claim for myself; the points of variance seem to me to be so important that full fellowship no longer obtains between you and I. And I therefore feel that our relationship should cease.” 

Brother Russell has a very large heart; I love him, and shall sorrow exceedingly to lose his confidence and fellowship. He expended considerable money in traveling and procuring halls for me to lecture, in the the winter of ’76 & 7, before he joined me in publishing the herald; which, instead of issuing monthly, I reduced to a quarterly for that year, to give time for other work. When we started on that lecturing tour, by is request, I sold my type, and other fixtures, and gave the money into the general fund, with the understanding that we would hire with the understanding that we would hire the work done at some printer’s. When the next quarterly was due, we concluded to make it a semi-monthly, and brother R. furnished the money to re-purchase the type etc. After the first two papers, he deposited to our joint account $600.00, since which he has withdrawn, by direct draft, and otherwise, $615.00, (two items of 150 and 50 dollars, estimated, and probably are too small) so that since the issues of the first month of his interest in the paper, he has $45.00 invested. And there is now in this joint fund $45.00 on hand.[12] 

            Barbour significantly distorts the tone of Russell’s letter, and his characterization of Russell and their relationship is false. He characterized Russell as having gotten it all from him. While this comported with his self view, it was inaccurate. In July 1879 Russell addressed some of these issues. Barbour suggested that he put the money derived from the sale of the type and “fixtures” into a general fund. Russell politely suggested this wasn’t so: “The old type, &c., had been sold before we started out, although I know nothing of how much was obtained for it, nor what was done with the money.” When the Herald of the Morning was reestablished, it was with Russell’s money. “The paper thus started was essentially another paper but took the same name because we could think of none better or more expressive. That it was a new paper, or had at least undergone a change of management, was witnessed monthly by the heading of its fourth page where it expressly states that it is “Published by C. T. Russell and N. H. Barbour.”

 

photo here

Rowell’s American Newspaper Directory – 1879. 

            It is surprising that Russell, an experienced business man, did not handle Barbour’s flawed money arguments more directly. Investment money expended does not reduce the investment. If I invest a sum in your business, its use does not diminish my interest in your business. Instead of making that argument, Russell addressed the religious aspects of their partnership:  

The $660 referred to by Bro. B. in the May Herald I never gave to the Herald. The paper has never been self-supporting, and particularly not at first, when we sent many thousands of copies to persons who had been readers of the paper of old when it did not advocate the glorious “Restitution of all things,” as it now does, as well as to those who sent their names as two months subscribers free. At its outstart considerable money was necessary; the receipts were slow and uncertain, so, to avoid the necessity of continually sending, or of the Herald’s being in any way hindered from lack of money, I placed on deposit at Rochester the above sum which before, I had deposited in a Pittsburgh bank. I deposited the money in our joint names so that should occasion require, Bro. B. could draw and use it, but I repeat, I never gave that $660 to either Bro. B. or the Herald. It, as well as all I have, is the Lord’s, and was intended to be used wherever and whenever it was needed, wither by the Herald, any of the preaching brethren, or by myself. The greater part of it has been used for all these.[13] 

            Dissecting Russell’s rambling recollecting of their finances, we find that he paid for the new type and fixtures. That he had not used any of the money Barbour derived from the sale of the old fixtures. In fact he had not seen it. He provided “three or four hundred” dollars outright to Barbour. An additional hundred went missing out of Barbour’s vest pocket. Russell “presumed” he made up the sum. This was in addition to the six hundred sixty dollars in their joint account. Barbour also failed to keep “any proper account” of new subscriptions and money received. While Barbour suggested that Russell had withdrawn the bulk of it, the letter from Russell to Barbour challenges that. Remember that Russell had enquired about funds: 

I cannot understand how our bank account has so suddenly decreased. I expected that we still had $100 to $125 in bank. If I recollect aright the balance in bank when I was in R. was $163. Am I right? In your reply, please let me know how our account stands, viz: How much was to our credit in bank Jan. 1, ‘79, how much has been received in cash since, and how much in bank and on hand now, also, what largest items of expense have been, &c.[14] 

            Barbour’s sneering article forestalled a probe, but it is evident that to Russell’s mind money had gone missing. Russell abandoned his interest in the Herald and with it claims on the money, so this was never resolved. We wish it were, because while an historian’s evil suspicions can produce fruitful research, we’re left with a dead end. We should, at this point, remember just how much one hundred dollars represented. There are several calculations. The Historic Standard of Living measure gives a comparative value of $2370.00 in 2012 U.S. Dollars. The Economic Status valuation of that same one hundred dollars is about twenty-seven thousand dollars. The Economic Power valuation is a staggering one hundred seventy-two thousand dollars. This was not a quibble about small amounts. As Russell summarized it, it came to this: “In money direct and through publications, I presume that I furnished the Herald with about, as nearly as I can approximate, six or seven hundred dollars, in addition to its type &c. Bro. B. put in all he had his time &c. He drew out what he has since lived on, and by this new arrangement has drawn the “Herald” as well.” Additionally, Barbour’s claim to have sent out the free copies at his expense was false. Russell paid that almost totally.
 
            Russell saw Barbour’s claim that he was a babe in the truth, heretofore dependent on him for scriptural understanding, as false. A careful consideration shows Barbour to have misrepresented the facts. Barbour was, when it suited him, a liar. In reply, Russell outlined his history within the Age-to-Come and Millennialist movements. He concluded with: 

From the account above given, which many of the brethren here can corroborate, does it indeed look as though “our dear young brother Russell came into these views, and a small interest in the paper so recently?” Is it true that “this young man came into the views advocated by the Herald, no longer ago than Nov. 1876?” Again, is it true the Bro. B. “advocated all the advanced truths and all the prophetic arguments?” And did the “young brother learn all these beautiful truths by hearing repeated courses of lectures by Bro. B.?” Let us see what are these beautiful advanced truths? Is it the time of Christ’s coming? No, there is no beauty in time; it is only a thing of dread, unless the glorious object of His coming is recognized. Bro. B. can scarcely be considered the one, who brought this most glorious and most beautiful truth to our attention, for, while he believed a bonfire to be the end of the world, and that probation ended with it, Bros. Geo. Storrs, Henry Dunn and others were preaching and writing of “the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy Prophets: [Acts 3:21,] and that ”In the ages to come, God would show the exceeding riches of his grace." (Eph. 2:7) Again, of what value would it be to know the time if we know nothing of the manner of Christ’s coming? But while Bro. B. was looking for and preaching outward demonstrations, others saw and taught the two stages of the second advent, viz: Coming unobservedly [sic] for His bride and his appearing, when “we also shall appear with Him in glory.”[15]           

            Russell quoted extensively from J. A. Seiss’ Last Times to show that much if not all of Barbour’s key beliefs came from others. Russell focused on the character of the final judgment, the restoration of the Jews, the heavenly office of the glorified church, and the nature of spirit bodies. Even their shared chronology derived from Bowen and the arguments surrounding it “were used long ago by Second Adventists misapplied and their harmony not being seen, they were thrown aside.” Russell gave Barbour credit for the current arrangement saying that he “was permitted to so arrange, (gradually) and harmonize these various Prophetic teachings of time, that now, they give those of us who see them, great joy.” Later, Russell added that much of what Barbour taught about Age-to-Come came from Russell’s insistence that it was a key doctrine.

            When reporting Russell’s intention to start a new paper, Barbour’s pen dripped sarcasm: 

Now in all justice to brother Russell, for, I believe his heart is right, (I return the compliment), I will say, he holds to the idea that the “Burning of the tares,” means havoc in the churches, during the gathering of the wheat; and quite naturally he is anxious to help on the fulfillment, and you know, “charity begins at home” 

            In plain words, Barbour suggested that Russell purposely stirred the pot of controversy, that he wanted and caused chaos. Barbour added: 

We wish our brother all success, with his paper, so far as he has truth to present. Do not misunderstand me. Personal feeling has no weight; my duty as a faithful teacher, imposes the task. I want our readers to know just the facts; then if they believe God has called Bro. Russell to steady the ark, they will act accordingly. But I want them to know that the proposed paper is designed, not as an auxiliary, but to oppose vies now made prominent in the herald. This is no new phase; 5000 subscribers fell off in 1875, because of advancing truth.[16] 

            Many of those who read this book will understand the scriptural illusions found in Barbour’s text. But some will not. Barbour suggested that Russell had little truth to present. Barbour stated his position as “a faithful teacher.” Russell, of course, was not. We think Barbour meant this as an illusion to Matthew 24:47, claiming status as the Faithful and Wise servant of Jesus’ illustration. The “steady the ark” comment is derived from the account in 1 Samuel chapter six where Uzzah the Levite stepped outside his proper office to steady the Ark of the Covenant, dying for his irreverent disobedience. Those who use this illustration – Barbour included – forget that there was more “sin” than Uzzah’s. Those “authorized” Levites transporting it placed it on a wagon contrary to law instead of transporting it supported by rods on their shoulders. The entire comment is meant to put Russell in a bad light. It is the culmination of a series of lies and misrepresentations. We are not left wondering why Barbour took this tack. He expected reduced influence, and, putting the best face on it, framed it in terms of evidence of “advancing truth.”

            Russell made no public refutation until the first issue of Zion’s Watch Tower in July 1879, issuing with it a supplement entitled “To the Readers of the Herald of the Morning.” In late May he mailed Barbour a brief postcard: 

Brother N. H. Barbour: I was much disappointed at your reply in last Herald (May No.) to my letter of the 3d. inst. I did not expect that its proposition would be made public as intimated in the last clause and I certainly did not expect that it would be stated in so partial and one-sided a manner. To my mind it was unjust. And now I leave the Herald with you. I withdraw entirely from it, taking nothing from you; or it, or anyone, save Christian charity, which we owe one another. This is exactly the amount expected when I wrote to you the former letter. Please announce in next No. of the Herald the dissolution and withdraw my name. Yet still believe me, the Herald’s friend, and yours. 

            Russell’s name was removed from the masthead with the June 1879 issue. Barbour filled the letters column with comments favorable to his new doctrines, and announced a meeting for Chelsea, Massachusetts, one of the few strongholds of Barbourite belief. He announced the suspension of Rice’s paper, using that as a vehicle for retractions, corrections and something of a rant.

Barbour miscalculated. His readers weren’t the docile worshipers he presumed they were. He was forced to address the money issues he raised in the April Herald of the Morning. He did not mean, he explained, “there was anything wrong” in Russell’s retaining subscription money to defray missionary expense. Barbour didn’t mention the money sent by Russell and noted in the Money Received columns, but he confessed that “Bro. R. repeatedly asked me, how our bank account stood, and if I needed more money to let him know.”

            It “was not the money,” Barbour wrote. And he would have “submitted to his demands, if I had not believed that God had called me to this work, and that I have no right to sell out or resign.” The paper was “commercially … not worth one dollar …, but there is truth being brought out by the herald, which a world could not buy.” Russell rejected those “truths,” Barbour added. What he meant was that Russell questioned his position as purveyor of Truth. Barbour was serious. He was God’s special agent of Truth, figuratively baptized for His work. After discussing Jesus’ baptism at which God spoke from a cloud, Barbour wrote:  

I have myself experienced such a baptism just before the midnight cry proclamation began, 1870. It was a soft fleecy white cloud in which I seemed entirely enveloped, so that all surrounding objects were lost sight of; there was no voice, but an unutterable joy thrilled my whole being; I felt and knew that it was a baptism for the work, and have never doubted it.[17] 

            Barbour did not doubt that Russell could publish a competing journal. He feared the prospect. Russell had the means and talent to do so. And he had prior publishing experience. Our readers may remember that among the Russell’s business ventures was a music publishing business. This provided at least an introduction to independent publishing. Russell presents us with an abbreviated account of the weeks from May to July 1879: 

It now became clear to me that the Lord would no longer have me assist financially, or to be in any way identified with, anything which cast any influence in opposition to the fundamental principle of our holy Christian religion; and I therefore, after a most careful though unavailing effort to reclaim the erring, withdrew entirely from the Herald of the Morning and from further fellowship with Mr. B. But a mere withdrawal I felt was not sufficient to show my continued loyalty to our Lord and Redeemer, whose cause had thus been violently assailed by one in position to lead the sheep astray--and in that position, too, very largely by my individual assistance and encouragement when I believed him to be, in all sincerity, true to the Lord. I therefore understood it to be the Lord's will that I should start another journal in which the standard of the cross should be lifted high, the doctrine of the ransom defended, and the good tidings of great joy proclaimed as extensively as possible.

Acting upon this leading of the Lord, I gave up traveling, and in July, 1879, the first number of zion’s watch tower and Herald of Christ's Presence made its appearance. From the first, it has been a special advocate of the "ransom for all," and by the grace of God we hope this it will ever be.  

For a time we had a most painful experience: the readers of the tower and of the Herald were the same; and from the time the former started and the supply of funds from this quarter for the Herald ceased, Mr. B. not only drew from the bank the money deposited by me and treated all he had in his possession as his own, but poured upon the Editor of the tower the vilest of personal abuse in order to prevent the tower and the doctrine of the ransom from having due influence upon the readers. This of course caused a division, as such things always do. The personal abuse, being regarded by some as true, had its intended effect of biasing the judgments of many on the subject of the ransom; and many turned from us.[18] 

            There is an interesting point here. Though Russell did not take the mater to the courts, he pursued the money issue, seeking to withdraw what remained of the funds he’d deposited in a Rochester, New York, bank. Barbour got there first. The money was gone. If Barbour is to believed – and at this point there is considerable reason not to believe him – only forty-five dollars were left. In modern terms that seems a small amount. It was not a small amount in 1879.
 
            While Russell suspended traveling, Paton didn’t.  He continued to visit the small groups associated with the Herald preaching on familiar themes and on the Atonement. Paton’s sermons in this period were revised and published in 1881 as Day Dawn: Or the Gospel in Type and Prophecy.  

H. B. Rice Again 

            While Russell was preparing the first issue of his magazine, (April 1879) he received a letter from Rice saying that he was impoverished and The Last Trump wasn’t paying its way. Russell offered to send Zion’s Watch Tower to Rice’s readers to fulfill the remaining six months owed to his subscribers. Rice agreed and promised to write for Russell’s paper. Russell printed Rice’s letter as a supplement to the Watch Tower’s first issue. We couldn’t locate the original supplement, but Russell’s summary of it probably includes all the salient points:

bro. h. b. rice, editor and publisher of The Last Trump, has been obliged by circumstances beyond his control to suspend its publication. Knowing that such a course was probable, we two months ago proposed to Bro. Rice that we would supply the watch tower to his subscribers, instead of The Trump, up to the close of their subscriptions, and we invited him to speak to his old subscribers, and others of the body of Christ, through zion’s watch tower.
He has accepted both propositions, sent the list of subscribers, and in an open letter to them says, "I will endeavor to contribute something to THE WATCH TOWER every month," &c.
As we are much crowded, we have published this letter as a supplement, and sent it to the subscribers of The Last Trump only.[19]

            Barbour worked a similar agreement with Rice, who seemed not to care which party relieved him of debt. Barbour’s notice appeared in the June Herald: 

Bro. Rice informs me that he had the promise of help from several parties, but business failures, and other causes not known to me, have placed him where there is no choice left; me must labor with his hands, to earn a bare support for his family. … Those of his subscribers who take the herald, will please notice! Send me a card, stating the sum due to you on his paper, and I will credit you with the amount. Bro. Rice says that if you require the money returned, he will do so, as soon as he can. But please not do that; if you demand the money, send your bill to me, and as fast as I can spare the means, without crippling the herald, you shall have it. 

Bro. Rice, as I understand it, has sacrificed a good deal for the truth; and is now supporting a wife and young children, on fifteen dollars a moth, for which he as to work early and late. … Instead of sending your back-accounts to him, perhaps you had better send his family something more substantial.[20] 

            Barbour misread Rice’s letter. Rice’s income was fifty dollars a month, a considerably greater sum than the fifteen dollars Barbour claimed. If Rice promised to write for the Herald, Barbour does not say so, and we think he did not. He sent Barbour his subscription list, but the reaction from Last Trump readers wasn’t entirely positive. We find Barbour dealing with disgruntled subscribers who did not renew, and specifically with some who objected to him sending his magazine uninvited. We do not know how Trump readers reacted to Zion’s Watch Tower. Though it helps define this era of Watch Tower history, this drama was a tempest in a teapot. That the Last Trump couldn’t pay its way shows that it had few subscribers. We don’t have firm figures but believe that an estimate of one or two hundred subscribers is generous. The final act performed by Rice, a minor character in this history, is told in volume two of this work.
 
            Russell sent out six thousand copies of the Watch Tower’s first issue, but the number of readers contracted to a more realistic number within months. One writer suggests the Atonement controversy was brief. It was, in fact, the work of a score of years. A war of words between the editors of five religious magazines ensued, creating shifting opinions and allegiances. We tell some of that story in volume two.

            Russell’s reaction – and that of Watch Tower adherents – to continued sectarian division set a pattern followed through the 1940s, and which to a somewhat muted degree still marks Watch Tower Society policy. Both Russell and Barbour saw this and ensuing fragmentations as part of a divine drama. Drawing form one of Jesus’ parables and from one of Jesus’ sayings, Russell described the ensuing fragmentation as Harvest Siftings and Gatherings. God was separating wheat-like Christians from the chaff. It was God’s way of cleaning house.

            The following decade saw new doctrines, new controversy, and the establishment of Watch Tower belief as a recognizable, independent religion. This is subject matter for volume two.

[photo of sheet music published by J. L. Russell and son]


[1]               C. T. Russell: To Readers of the Herald of the Morning, Supplement to Zion’s Watch Tower, July 1879.
[2]               The phrase “jewels of our casket” is a reference to a dream William Miller related in a private letter to Sylvester Bliss, subsequently published in Bliss’ Memoirs of William Miller. (1853: pages 360-361.) Barbour introduced Russell to this, and it is quoted in full on pages 189-191 of Three Worlds. Because Finished Mystery, a book published after Russell’s death, applied part of this dream to Russell, Gruss concluded that it was evidence that Russell was a vain self-promoter. (The Four Presidents of the Watch Tower Society¸ pages 17-18.) We do not know how the statement of another written after Russell’s death proves him to be anything.
[3]               C. T. Russell: Your Vote Wanted, Herald of the Morning, February 1879, page 40.
[4]               There are two Eliza J. Mardens. The one we’re considering was born about 1808 and a resident of Vasalboro, Maine, in 1880.
[5]               Remarks by N. H. Barbour: Correspondence, Herald of the Morning, May 1879, pages 87.
[6]               C. T. Russell: The New Paper, Herald of the Morning, March 1879, page 42.
[7]               N. H. Barbour: The Last Trump! Herald of the Morning, March 1879, page 42.
[8]               Comments like these are derived from an article appearing in the January 1, 1955, issue of The Watchtower and from the 1959 publication Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose. The reference cited by the anonymous author of Divine Purpose does not take one to any comments relevant to Hugh Rice. There is no basis for the statements made in Divine Purpose. The claim that Rice looked to 1875 is made by Jerry Bergman in America’s Alternative Religions, (Timothy Miller, editor, State University of New York, 1995) on page 35. The assertion that Rice looked to 1875 is totally without foundation.
[9]               Untitled announcement: Herald of the Morning, April 1879, page 58.
[10]             C. T. Russell: Harvest Gatherings and Siftings, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1890, page 5.
[11]             C. T. Russell: To Readers of the Herald of the Morning, Supplement to Zion’s Watch Tower, July 1879.
[12]             N. H. Barbour: Correspondence, Herald of the Morning¸ April 1879, pages 87-88.
[13]             To Readers of the Herald of the Morning, Supplement to Zion’s Watch Tower, July 1879.
[14]             ibid.
[15]             ibid.
[16]             N. H. Barbour: Correspondence, Herald of the Morning¸ April 1879, page 88.
[17]             N. H. Barbour: The Marriage of Christ, Herald of the Morning, July 1880, page 16.
[18]             C. T. Russell: A Conspiracy Exposed: Harvest Siftings and Gatherings, 1894, pages 105-106.
[19]             This announcement is found on page 6 of the July 1879 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower.
[20]             N. H. Barbour: Notice! Herald of the Morning, June 1879, page

4 comments:

roberto said...

Maybe I am tedious, but just in these days I am re-reading the first chapter, and now here's the last chapter. There are always the same well-established techniques and the same wealth of details. The characters of this story are so well described in their acts and feelings that they appear nowadays characters. While I read the lines I disconnect from this time and plunge in that era. I can see and hear them. Maybe I am too much overhelmed by the story, but I love this book.

The last words: "The following decade saw new doctrines, new controversy, and the establishment of Watch Tower belief as a recognizable, independent religion. This is subject matter for volume two", are nice words but, if possible, I'd like to see a litle more connections with volume 2 and the introctory essay. Even a short conclusive essay of volume one would be interesting.

Compliments!

Miquel Angel Plaza-Navas said...

I am interested to know more about this statement "Our readers may remember that among the Russell’s business ventures was a music publishing business".

Is there more information on book one or two?

Yours
Mique

Anonymous said...

I found this extract interesting, informative and well argued.

Having said that, the penultimate paragraph jars and is a little curious perhaps. It states, 'Russell’s reaction – and that of Watch Tower adherents – to continued sectarian division set a pattern followed through the 1940s, and which to a somewhat muted degree still marks Watch Tower Society policy'.

Such an historical leap is at odds with the rest of the text which is rooted in the late nineteenth century. While not disagreeing with what is stated, maybe the assertion should be supported with an example - but this would dilute the point being made about Russell. The sentence is perhaps superfluous.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Dear Dr. Plava-Navas,

You'll find more in chapter one of volume 1.

Dear Anon,

The thought continues in volume 2.