Did Ellen G. White predict that England would declare war against the United States? Here is the context of her comment:
"England is studying whether it is best to take advantage of the present weak condition of our nation, and venture to make war upon her. She is weighing the matter, and trying to sound other nations. She fears, if she should commence war abroad, that she would be weak at home, and that other nations would take advantage of her weakness. Other nations are making quiet yet active preparations for war, and are hoping that England will make war with our nation, for then they would improve the opportunity to be revenged on her for the advantage she has taken of them in the past, and the injustice done them. A portion of the Queen's subjects are waiting a favorable opportunity to break their yoke; but if England thinks it will pay, she will not hesitate a moment to improve her opportunities to exercise her power, and humble our nation. When England does declare war, all nations will have an interest of their own to serve, and there will be general war, general confusion" (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 259).
Note the conditional character of these statements: "She fears, if she should commence war abroad, that she would be weak at home." "But if England thinks it will pay." Then follows the sentence: "When England does declare war. . . ." It is evident that Mrs. White is here using the word "when" as a synonym for "if," which is good English. In fact, if we do not thus understand the word "when" in this connection, we have an unusual situation--a series of problematical "ifs" is followed by a simple statement that England is going to declare war. Thus Mrs. White's last sentence would make pointless her preceding sentences.
A similar use of the word "when" is found on the preceding page in her work: "When our nation observes the fast which God has chosen, then will He accept their prayers as far as the war is concerned." No one will argue that the word "when" in this connection introduces a simple statement concerning a future fact that will undebatably happen.
An inspired parallel to this "if" and "when" construction is found in Jeremiah 42:10-19. The prophet speaks to Israel about abiding in Palestine rather than going down into Egypt:
"If ye will still abide in this land. . . ." Verse 10.
"But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land. . . ." Verse 13.
"If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt. . . ." Verse 15.
"When ye shall enter into Egypt . . . ." Verse 18.
It is evident that the phrase "when ye shall enter into Egypt" is synonymous with "if ye shall enter into Egypt."
With the clause "when England does declare war," understood as synonymous with "if England does declare war," the statement changes from a prediction to a statement of mere possibility, but a possibility, however, whose full potentialities many might not realize.
[Adapted from Francis D. Nichol, Ellen G. White and Her Critics, pp. 122, 123.]