1857 June 21 Remarks in the Salt Lake Bowery


1857 June 21 Remarks in the Salt Lake Bowery



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George D. Watt

extracted text

<A Discourse>
By President Brigham Young, Bowery, June 21st, 1857.
Reported by Geo. D. Watt.
I will just tell you the whole story each one of them has his price. I will say to the congregation It is pretty nigh time to <close> dismiss the congregation, and those <that> who wish to withdraw may <withdraw> do so, and we will pause for five (5) or ten (10) minutes to allow <such as wish as wish to> <you to get out of the way> them an opportunity to retire. I had to speak <to you some> last Sabath about some leaving the congregation just as we were about to close<d> the meeting, I have now merely a word to say on that subject. I wish none to go out but the hansome ones, they are so stared at <so>. Now if those who wish to go do not now embrace the oportunity, <you dont go this time, and> we commence singing to but wait until close the meeting, <let me tell you> you will hear from me again. <but> if any wish <you wait> to withdraw, now is their <your> time. <If you will be patient and hear me say a few words I will occupy a short time>.
I have enough in my mind <enough> to occupy a longer time than you would now like to <sit to> tarry and hear, or than I should like to talk. There is a few items that
I wish to refer to a few items <to> that have been laid before the congregation concerning <own own> our Government. The time will be that if that federal compact is preserved it will be preserved by the Elders of Isreal; there is no doubt of that in my mind. We <say> hear considerable with regard to the Government of the United States and <a great deal> much is <said> written by public scribblers, letter writers, etc., as you have read and heard, <heard> about <us> our having so much to say conserning the United States. <Now you will recolect> You Latter Day Saints, <you> will <recollect> call to mind that you have never yet heard from me, nor from any man <that> who has spoken to the people in this Bowery, or in the tabernacle, or in these mountians, <you have never heard> the first lisp <from any of us> against the Constitution and laws of the United States, <against the laws of the States> nor against the laws of any one State <that in> in the Union. <but> It is currup men that we have talked about, and we expect <and> to say just what we please about them.
The constitution of the United States is just what we have beleived it to be a document dictated by the influence of an invisible Spirit to the fathers of our Republic for the express purpose of affording an opportunity to bring forth the Gospel of salvation upon this contenant--the land of Joseph--first to present it to the Gentiles, then to the lost and scattered seed of Abraham. I beleive this, and I do not think that there is and individual who has really thought upon the subject but what will accknowledge it. There was no other Government, neither is there now upon the face of this earth, that we know anything about, where the Book of Mormon could have been translated and the Gospel preached, where men could have received the preisthood, received their endowments and received the kingdom of God in its organisation, and publish that to their fellow men, but under the Government of the United States. We all beleive that this has been brought about by the Lord himself.
Bro. Wells has told you his feelings with regard to the federal compact of the United States. He says that as far as he is conserned he wishes us to be admitted into the Union, and so do I and have all the time. <Well now> If my knowlege in this matter is not as much as that of others, I act according to the best I have. <But> If this Territory <be> is admitted into the Union as a free, independant and sovergn State, it gives us the privilege of enjoying our rights undesturbed, as bro Wells Has told you and as is guaranteed by the Constitution to every American citizen. With that power we <With this power political hounds that run and bark so much for their Masters> should be free from the annoyance of the political hounds who run an bark so <we should be free. Yet as long as we remanin tarry> in the <capacity of> true so long as we remain a Territorial from of capacity or merit. Government we are financially sustained <in our financial business pertaining to the Territory> to some extent by the General Government, which is a help to us, <but> still I wish so <as> far as I am concerned, that we were a State. These are my feelings, and I think that I have various good reasons to bring my judgement to this conclusion, <for various reasons> which I have not now time to give you. <There are many things for us to contemplate>.
<We hear a great deal, and a great deal> Much has been told us this afternoon, by Bro. Burnhisal, <we hear> and we otherwise learn <a great deal> much with regard to the world we live in, but <now> let us remember that when a thousand years have past away, if you and I take <the> a course to continue to learn, we can look back to this day, and <we can say> that we know but little with regard to the world we live in. <You may write that George, that> If we continue to increase in knowlege, we can look back to this day and see, even pertaining to the scientifica<l world> department, that we knew but little. We know as much as other people. We understand the politics of the day, the politics of the nations. We understand, taking the Elders as a <whole> body, more with regard to the laws of nations and the politics, <of them and the> policy and religions of nations <that are> now upon the earth, than do any other people that can be found. <in any one place on this earth> You may go to London, the <greatest> most renowned City on the earth -- <we may say it is> the Empire City <for> of this Globe -- and there is more combined intelegence in this Territory, with regard to the Nations, than there is in the City of London. As ignorant as we are, we know as mmuch as other people do. <Let this sufice my conversation upon this subject for the resent there is another item that is very interesting to you and I.>
It was related <here> by bro Burnhisal that a certian individual from Vermont presented a bill or resolution in the House of Representatives providing for the punishment of our <before the house to obtain punishment of your> acts, <and mine> <Now If I> Were I now to ask this congregation whether <if> they realy beleived that this Gentleman, Mr. Morrell from Vermont, had ever read and studied the Constitution of the United States so as to <get into his eranium> understand the disgn of the fathers in wording it as it is, <if they beleive he had ever done this, and> even to understood it as a school boy ought to, I beleive <this congregation> you would at once answer, 'no'. <at once almost to an individual>. One perticular item of the constitution is very explicit and pointed, and that is that the people of the United States in congress assembled, or in the capacity of a State Legeslature, or any other capacity as a law making department, shall never, no never, <I am laying stress on these words, because they are so pointed, they shall never> make an expostfacto law.
Were I <If I was> to ask the lawyers <here> what <this is, if I were to ask the sisters that have read the Constitution, and have had a little instructions, they would say if there is an individual, or a community, that is in their lives, habits and practices doing that that is not in fact established by law to be a transgression of the law they> such a law is, they would reply, 'it is one made after the act, or a law to punish a person for doing that against which there was no law at the time the act was done, and were I to ask even the sisters, those who have read the Constitution and had a little instruction, they would say at once, that it is no transgression of the law to do that which there is no law to prohibit. <it is not illegal> Such an act is not illegal in the sight of the law, <there is> for no punishment <that> can be lawful, unless the law has previously defined the crime and the penalty.<punishment>.
<Now> The Constitution of the United States <has been> is particularly pointed <on this that there should be no> in absolutely prohibiting the enactment of an expostfacto law. <made> We have not the privilege of making it, Congress has not the privilege of making it, neither has any State. The Nine judges of the Supreme Court of the Unites States have no authority to <enact>, decide, rule, or say that this or that <anything of the kind> shall be, unless there is a law to point out the crime and define that such an act is punishable by imprisonment, or fine, or both. <I will leave this to bro. Burnhisal> Mr. Morrill of Vermont wanted the Congress of the United States to make a law to punish a people for doing that which they have been doing for years, a <thing> proceeding that the law not only never <contemplated, or thought of. The law making departments had never thought of any such thing.> designed, but on the contrary absolutely prohibits.
You recolect that I told you last Sunday that Mr. Morrel was not more than an inch deep any where, if you measure <and take> all the sense, wit and skill he can command. He is the Gentleman who presented the bill for Congress to make a law to prohibit <punish> poligamy and punish poligamists. How pretty they would look passing a law subversive of the fundamental principles of the Government! I would ask our Delegate, if we send him again to Washington, and he should have to hear, a year from this summer, that there is trouble in Utah, that Congress has made a law to punish me for having more than one wife at one time, that they had sent <then send> their judges here, who had issued <and he issues> a writ, <brings me> to bring me to court <the poligamists, and> to condemn me to <them to> 3 years imprisonment, and a thousand dollars fine, and <if> I should resist that <this> court, <dont you think bro Burnhisal> whether he would faint? He may think of it, but let me tell you a people <that people> that would not resist a court that would not diside that Congress <that G> had no power to make any such law, is currupter than the bowels of hell, and meaner than the devil, or than he wishes <and all> his satalites to be.
I do not say that I should resist such a court, or an officer who should serve such a writ. <I said> In the midst of the mobb in Nauvoo, when I carried a bosome pin, I swore by the Eternal Gods that any man who came to me and presumed to serve a writ on me I would send him to hell across lots, so help me God. I have not yet taken back that oath. <yet> (Voice, "<and> We do not want you to take it back.) <should)>
Supose they should endeavor by their officers to bring me before a court to try me and punish me for an act the law and Constitution of the Nation knows nothing about, do you supose I would submitt to it? No, So help me God I would send them to hell as fast as they would come to me. (Voices. "And we will help you.") Such a thing will never be.
Any man or woman here who <that> has been born in Vermont would <not> be glad at any time to swap <Mr. Moral> Mr. Morrill for a quart of bean porrage. <for Mr. Morrell any time> <(Voice, "yes, bean porrage 9 days old")> <Yes it is better at that age, I was brought up on it,> I am a Vermounter myself.
We have got men of too good sense in our Government to ever atempt such a thing; it will not be. <There is a good many things I would like to say with regard to men, and the conduct of men.>
Bro Wells has just told you that perhaps there are <perhapes> good men in congress, yes, there are a great many of them, but they dare not speak their minds, or give an oppinion that would be considered unpopular by the popular party, for fear of destroying their own popularity. There are plenty of Good men in our Government, if they might have the privilege of acting out their own feelings. That they cannot have. Why? Because Gambalers, Horse racers, theives, liars, and whore mongers take the lead; <and> that is the difficulty. And it has been so for years and years and years that a man of honesty, of good carracter, one who <he that> would do good, has had to <sucume> succumb to the company he was in, or <else> his charracter would be blasted. That I have known years ago, long before I knew 'Mormonisam". <Now I will tell you that>
The Government of the United States will be sustained--it wont die. They may break to peices <and> they may split up. They now cry disunion <now> in the two houses of Congress. Members <Senators> will cry out, <I> "we wish the union at an end;" <another will cry out> "we cannot be too quick about it; <and another> "we wish it could be done to day." Since my rememberance a man would be taken up for treason and hanged, <up> almost without judge or jury, for naming such a thing. The most pusilanimous politician that ever barked on a stump dare not name such a thing, for fear of having his teeth knocked down his throat. <for> <Let me tell you> Here are the men, and here are the women who will <that> will have the men, that will put the union together again, if they do divide it, and it woll be sustained. <Now there is another thing I do want to speak about a few minutes>
We talk a great deal about what we pass through in our travels, and what this people have suffered, and so forth and so on. Now I want to say a few words to the Saints, for they are before me, and I do not know but that I might as well tell you my feelings in public, a few of them, as to mention them in private, for my feelings are continually that this is a God blessed people. And though we have talked to them and talked to them, and preached to them and pled with them to be a little better, and to be a little better, <but bless my soul> yet how can we be better? Are you not all doing just as well as you know how? You cannot find many men and women in this community but what <is> are seeking unto the Lord day by day to know how to do more good and to do a little better, and to do all the good they can or know how. There are a <is> few exceptions, <to this, but> and there are but <is> a few. I say that this is <they are> a blessed people.
Bro. Wells began to say that great blessings are ready to be pured out upon us, if we were prepared to receive them. We have got them already. Do you know it? We have great blessings now, <but> we have just as much as we know how to improve, and if we had more just now we should not know what to do with them. I know that the people are strugeling to increase and grow in grace and in the knowlege of the truth; I <just> know that they are. It was told you last year, it has been told you all the time, that let this people renew their covenants before God, and get more light and knowlege, and you would see more of the power of the Almighty exercised for our good, and more of the power and influence of the devil exercised <for> against us. The saints are trying to do better, and the Lord is blessing them, and we have the ascendency.
Bro. Heber undertook to tell you how many devils there are <is> here. We have the ground and the ascendancy here, and we can maintain it. I wanted to say this to you, and with this I want to ask you where there is another <people> place on the earth where the Saints can reign and rule and have dominion over foul spirits and wicked men, <but> except in the midst of these mountains. <It was told you that there is no other place> It was told you that there is no other place. If we had gone to Callifornia we should have had trouble. And if we had done as many of the brethren wanted us to do in l8/47 <and /48> 48 and gone to San Bernardino, before this day we would have been scattered to the four winds. We could not stay in the States and if we had gone to Texas, where Limon White went, before this day the Saints would have been driven from there. Such would have been the case <scattered to the four winds,>have been the case if we had gone to any other place <except in> but in the midst of these Mountians.
There is the place when <that> Joseph said we could build up the kingdom of God, and all hell could not remove it. He tried to get us here, and talked of it year after in our private counsels. A great many have wondered how I came here. Joseph <and I> talked about it, when he had his brethren arround him, for years, and we knew all about it. And he said, <he> "if I could get there with the few Saints there are <that is> in Nauvoo I could live until Government would be under the sway of <was brought into subjection to> a wholesome set of laws givers, but I shall not see it, for the devil has too much power here.'
We are here, and we have the ascendancy over every specious of wickedness. How can we continue to have <do> it? Live our religion. Here is a place where the wicked cannot dwell. It has been observed by bro. Wells, and by myself, that he was thankful that here there is nothing disirable <here> for any but the righteous. The money is pretty much gone. It is the only place we can find callculated <to> for raising Saints, and <it> is the only place wherein they can be reared up to manhood and inherit their father's estate. <but> This is the place in which that can be done. We rear up our children here, and if they live their religion they will stay here until they die with old age, if they please, and <Now> there is no other place on the face of this earth <that> in which it can now be done. <in.>
What is our duty? It is to santify ourselves before the Lord, to santify our houses, our families, our neighborhoods, <and> keep <that> ascendancy over the power of Satan, preserve our union and faith and power we have with God, and let that increase day by day. What will be the result? By and by we shall have such power that vile men cannot stay here. It will be said, 'get out of the way, we want more room, Zion is enlarging and spreading forth on the right and on the left.' One will cry, <cries> lengthen my cords,' and another, <cries out> 'lengthen the cords,' but if you do lengthen, let us first strengthen the stakes that are <is> set, lest they prove too weak, <role over>. This is the only place in which can it be done. We are just where the Lord wanted us to be, and his providence so prepared the way that we came here just at the right time. We were not anted here the year before; we stayed just long enough before we came to the Mountians, and not a bit too long. Now it is for us to mentain our ground, santify ourselves, purify our hearts, do the will of our Father in heaven, and let me tell you we will <inhabit> meet in this Bowevy <valley> as long as we please, until we pull it down and build a better one.
The saints are blessed. Dont you remember that last year we told you, when we spoke about the reformation and made callculations about this temple, that the devil would howl? It is so; we knew it, we expected, and looked for it. <bless your souls> We have become like the little boy that got so in the habit of being whiped every night that he could not go to sleep without a whipping. One night his mother put him to bed without whipping him and he lay and <but lay there> whined. She said to him, 'You little <rat> brat, if you dont stop your crying I will come and spank you.' He relied, <said> 'that is what I am crying for; I cannot go to sleep without being spanked.' We have <got> become so used to being spanked, that we cannot bild up Zion without it. Though we <we> want to keep <them> the spankers at arms length. <this>
I tell them now what I always told them, judges and officers of every stripe and discription, You may <bring> send on all the officers you can muster, but they must observe good law -- and that is the law of the land -- or we will make them, and then they may run and howl about it just as much as they please. <about it>. We do not care what they say.
Do you supose that 'Mormonisam" is any different from what <than> it was? No, but it will increase, that <is> is all the alteration there is in the plan of salvation revealed to us <will be> is simply when more truth is added. More truth will come to light, which we will add <in> to our testemony and faith. It will be, as it was written by the prophets, a little here and a little there, revelation upon revelation, and we will thus continue to grow in grace and in the knowlege of the truth.
The devil hates 'mormonisam'-- the way of life and salvation-- and <but> if we live and do as we are doing now, the wicked will continue to be more and more angry with us I know, as well as I know that the lord lives, that all is right. The kingdom of God is here, we have it in our possession, and it will not be removed until it is the will of the Lord that we go to the Centre Stake of Zion, <and> that will be the only moving that will take place with this people.
<Now> This people are blessed, but do you realise your blessings? The only fault there is with any individuals, they do not realise the blessings of the Lord upon them. And if <they> any do not enjoy themselves, and have peace within them, it is because <they> they do not make it for themselves, there is no other reason. <in the world> <But as> So far as I am conserned, I <just> carry my Zion along with me, and have done so for a great many years. <Long>
Before 'Mormmonisam' came, I hated the world, and the things of the world, and the poor miserable devils <that is in it> that <was> were governing it. I hated them with a perfect hatered. When 'Mormonisam' came, instead of its being a trial to me, from the day I embraced this Gospel until now, it has made all of me that there is. <of me> It has given <gave> me every comfort I ever had in my life; I never had any before. And instead of its giving me trouble, it has releived me from the trouble I had and given me joy and peace all the time. And I am a witteness of the truth of the words of the Saviour, <that> in the world ye shall have tribulation, but in me ye shall have peace.'
<Now> May the Lord bless you and all Isreal, and keep us in the truth to do his will that we may be prepared to look at each other by and by, say fifty <50> thousand years hence. Then we can look round and say, 'there is such a brother whom we met with in that tabernacle, and there is such a sister; how do you do old neighbors? how do you get along?' 'O, finely.' "Do you recollect when we met in that tabernacle? We thought we had good times then, but what is that to what we enjoy now, when we may govern and controle in righteousness to our own liking?'
May the Lord help us to gain that ascendency over the Devil. Amen.