During the half century before his death C.T. Russell spent vast sums of money. Russell travelled nearly continuously. His trips took him to Europe frequently and around the world. He often had large entourages accompanying him. The Jehovah's Witnesses, then called International Bible Students or simply Bible Students, gave out enormous quantities of FREE books, tracts, and other things. For instance consider some of the following expenses,
In 1881 the WT issued a 164-pg book Food for Thinking Christians. The cost of printing was born by the WT Society, and for some unknown reason several newspapers picked up the cost of distribution. These small books (now extremely rare) were distributed free. Zion's W.T. in 1881 says that their tract Supplement No. 2 is "for free distribution. Order as many as you can use."1
In 1882 the WT magazine (then called Zion's Watch Tower) advertises, "We have plenty of tracts and September numbers, which you can have for free distribution by asking for them."2
In 1886, Russell had 300 workers distributing Food for Thinking Christians. 300,000 free tracts were distributed in Great Britian alone. WT literature was given free to the colporteurs.
In 1893, the WT Magazine says "A good colporteur can put into the hands of the people 5 to 6 thousand volumes of Dawn in a year. One with little talent ought to dispose of 3,000 a year."3 The Dawn books were good looking hard back books with about 370 pages apiece. To distribute such vast quantities of books generally free had to have cost the Watchtower Society plenty. The WT Magazine (Z.W.T) published by the Tower Publishing Co., stated under its title "FREE TO THE LORD'S POOR." For instance, the May 1, 1893 issue states under a first page article "ADDRESSES FOR FREE READING MATTER" that "we are glad to send out matter freely to such." Such refers simply to those interested.4
In 1897, there was a mass distribution of 300,000 of the free WT booklet the Bible versus Evolution.5
In 1899,948, 459 tracts were handed out by people a half block away from churches in each direction as people came out.6
In 1910, Russell had 76 workers at headquarters and paid 2,000 different newspapers to carry his articles. How much money would it take for an unknown person without connections to pay 2,000 newspapers to run their articles? Russell wasn't without connections. In 1910, the German branch ran a $7,340.49 deficit, even though they received much of their literature free, and the British branch came up $9,331.41 short that year, all made up by the Brooklyn,NY headquarters.7
Had the gigantic literature giveaways ended yet? In 1913, in a Convention Russell states, "Do you know how many copies of free literature have been distributed by the people of Great Britian this year so far? Eight millions of copies And I am so pleased to see that many of God's people are rejoicing in the privilege of showing forth His praises. Never mind if it is not customary to go about giving out literature. Never mind if it is not popular to give out religious literature. We have a message and work, and this is our way of preaching."8
During all this time period of 35 years, the Watchtower Society had managed to rent such hugh building such as Prince Albert Hall—which by the way is famous for many big Masonic events. Renting the Hall would have ranged in the hundreds of dollars. In 1910 they rented it six times.9
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