1858 January 16 Mass Meeting Speech


1858 January 16 Mass Meeting Speech



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George D. Watt

extracted text

by President Brigham Young Tabernacle Jan 16/58 1 P. M.
Mass Meetting
Reported by G. D. Watt

While the committee are prepareing their reports we will occupy the time by speacking a little. It is pretty well known by the people in Generall through this Territory the actions of the Government towards us, and all the act of the mass of the people. Many of the inhabitants of our country who have been aquainted with us, and many who have not been aquainted with as a Christian society have been striveing for 30 years to distroy the few that beleived in the Lord Jesus Christ as he revealed himself to them. Christians have tried to distroy the very foundation of their own hopes, by the prejudice that has arisen in their hearts against the boy Joseph who was called to be a prophet, and through whome God has revealed the preisthood. This is the starting point. You take an individual who beleives not in a God -- who beleives not in a supreme being, and they care nothing about religion, but those who make a profession of religion have fanned the flame of persicution against Joseph, and his brethren until it has grown to what we now see it; it has become a national persecution. The preists, with the Editors to back them up, and the polatitions to <supply> supply the fuel, with the petit officers, judges, and courts high and low and legeslative assemblies, have taken up the matter and urged it on the congress of the United States, from thence it has become defused into the minds of the Cabanett with the president of the United States at their head, until this nation now is determined to distroy the preisthood on the earth, this is what places us in our present condition. The people in other parts of the Territory have been disposed to assemble themselves together in a similar capacity as what we find our selves this day; they have drawn up resolutions and passed them by the unanimous voice of the people, that they will sustain their leaders and dictators in resisting this unhallowed, ungodly persecution against this people, and bear their insults and their cruelties no more. The people have been assembled here to day to learn the feelings of this community to know if they will place themselves in the frunt, or as near as they can be and bear the insults of our Government no longer, and tell them so. You know the acts and doings of myself and the brethren that sit before me; they have manifested their feelings by their doings; we know them when they have been called out to resist an invading foe they have been sorry they were not all called, and the greatest difficulty has been to keep them at home: while out they have not been permitted to injure a person: they have not been permitted to do that our enemies have done; they have shot at our brethren many times, and the men who are sitting before me have not been permitted to return the fire. If the presist in their in their unhallowed course we do not know what will be done we do not know. I can say what my private feelings are. When Joseph was living, said, they hunt me, and they have hunted me as the wolves hunt their pray, and if they succeed in taking my from the earth they will then seek for yours. My reflections and private feelings are they seek our lives, mine in perticular, but God and the Saints being my helper I will make millions of them bite the dust before I go through the vale. These are my private feelings. If they will presist in trying to take away my life, they have got a job on hand if the Lord continues to be on my side, and I think he will if I do not forsake him and his commandments. As is was observed here not long ago, we are the only friends the Lord has on the earth. This is true, we are his only friends, and it would be pretty natural to suppose the Lord will be our near and dear freind. If we could overcome our wickedness, and blindness in this corrupt wicked, and ungodly world we would actually be his freinds if it should be thro' the sacrifice of all we possess, and naturally suppose he will be our freind, and I just tell you we will make the poor devils bite the dust. I told Cap. vanvlete when he was here that the United States had undertaken a big job, and they would wish to let it out to subcontractor befor they got half through. What the result will be we cannot tell, but as the prophet says the Lord will lead us mysteriously, and he will lead the wicked, and cause them to fall into the pit they dig for the innocent and into the snares <and into the sna> they set for our feet, and our enemies will be overtaken by the fruits of their own doings on the earth, and it will be as Bro. Geo. A. prayed to day in his opening prayr here. it will be as nothing had been done, they will be as tho' they had not been, and the acts of the Govt. will be as tho' there had been no acts at all. If this <eople> Govt. presist in persecuting this people, and we know assuradly that the present movement is nothing more than a religeious persecution, they will be as they were not. The army that has been detailed for Utah is for no other purpose than to come here and distroy the leaders of this people, and all who will adhere to the Holy Preisthood beginning at the head. They see no further, they know no more than to beleive if they could take the lives of a few men here to begin with they could then ride over the whole people and overcome them We accknowlege many times the devil is very cunning, but all the knowledge and wisdome, and forethought necessary to subserve the kingdom of God is withheld from the devil, and all his associates, just as much as it is from you and I. He has not a foreknowledge of all things, he only foreknows that that is revealed to him, or made known to him. For instance if the government of the United States had foreknowledge 25 years ago that this people would have come into these mountians they would have kept us in the State of Missouri where they could have handled us; but the devil and his associates had no better forknowlege than to beleive if they broke up a community it would brake up their principles also, which is one of the most foolish things in the world. When we were broken up in Missouri, and gained a foothold in Illinoi it still revealed nothing better to our enemies, but they must break up the Mormon society in Illinoi thinking it would surly break up their principles, scatter them among the people, and that would be the end of Mormonisam. We see the hand of the Lord in all this, he has lead us in a mysterious manner and produced the blessings now bestowed on us. Without the very course being taken that was in our removal, in our ignorance, in our poverty the Lord might have given revelation for ever telling us to leave our homes in the States and repair to the rocky mountians, to this desolate country, and the revelation would have been vain to us. Nothing but persecution would bring this people to this place. All this is necessary and through persecution the Lord produces his work, and he fosters with parental care his people; he brings forth the righteousness, good works, and the fear of God upon upon the people through the persecution of our enemies, to there overthrow and distruction, but to the promotion and exaltation of the faithful. Do the wicked understand it? No they do not. In the vision of Daniel speaking of the last days, that the Lord would work and that marvolously, and in all his works and doings the wicked shall not understand but the righteous shall. We have the privilege of seeing the handy work of the Lord. They have no better view now than to beleive if they could break up this people in this Territory we should scatter to the four winds, and become as they are, when in reality it would only prompt every man and woman to be more faithful to their religion. The seed is swon in the world, and whatever they are permitted to inflict upon this will actually promote the preisthood, and the gospel of of Salvation on the earth; and where one is slain for his faith hundereds and thousands will grow out of his ashes. They have no object in veiw in sending an army here but to distroy this people. They may talk about their pacific feelings and all this, but hell is in them and it is running over, they are filled with it, they have no wish nor disire but to do us injury, they have no wish to do us good. The foolish baby ignorance of officers and merchants is seen in their sayings. "I say you Mormons let the soldiers come in, why not let the army in they have a great deal of money with them, the Govt. wishes to do this people good, and have sent the soldiers here to distribute money." Such things cannot be thrust down our throats. If they want to make money plenty here let them pay the compound interest that is growing over the heads of Government for the property they have taken from us, and it will make us as wealthy as we wish to be, to say nothing of the interest on the principle They owe me as an individual for services I rendered the Indians here, and they have my drafts and bills in Washington. Why dont they pay over that Money? No, but they are ready to pay 500.000 dollars to keep 5 dollars out of the pockets of the saints. They cannot cram such things down our throats, we have no stomach for such <things> wicked work. They are sent here expressly to take away our lives, and to break up this community: they are sent here expressly to distroy the preisthood from the earth, and as I stated God and the Saints being my helper, we will make millions of them bite the dust if they do not stop their ungodly course. We are ready for them, we are on hand (shout of "We are") and that is not all we can whip all they can send here, how? Let them alone until they starve to death. And we will be like paddies flee, when he came to put his finger on him he was not there. I do not wish to harm them, but I said long before Joseph gave himself up to go to Carthage, it was in my heart rooted and grounded that I would see them further in hell than they are out before I put myself in their possession; that was my feeling, And you know what I told them when Joseph was taken away, and the twelve steped forth to take care of the lambs of the flock; I carried my long bowi knife, and said I would send them to hell cross lots if I had the power. I told the lawyers looking them in the <face> eye, they were a poor miserable set of men who prowled arround Joseph, and professed to be his freinds, and were laying at the same time their plans to get up a persecution against him, that they might get his money for pleading his cause. I could see through them like looking through a lantern. I knew their damned hypocritical course. I told them I had the law in my hand that would plead my cause. I callculate to live and see the end of them, if the Lord will help me I mean to live until their names are forgotten from the earth, until Zion is established on this continant, and the law of Zion is the law of the land, and the people are governed by the eternal preisthood, then I think the Lord will make our executers peace &c. we have a great many men now if they were put on the judgement seat would jude as nigh to the line of right as an angel could according to their knowledge and our officers will be filled with righteousness. It is true a great many that have been with us that are good saints, <but> in the time of trouble, <are not able to stand>. Brethren I can tell you that we shall have peace again by and by,and prosperity. Now prepare yourselves, and see if you can endure peace and comfort without apostatising. I am never afraid of Apostacy in the day of trouble. Men have gone from us when we had plenty to eat and drink; when it easy for them to get along and to good times they must go to California, and are now coming back to fight their best for this cause, probably hundreds of them are on the way now making their way into the midst of the Saints. This is in consequence of the lack of wisdom and forethought. Theyare uneasy and restless, and want something to be going on. I want to forwarn the brethren that by and by we shall have fine times, times of peace dont postatize then; and again the time will come when the nations of the earth will be arrayed against this people as the United States now are, and we will be as well prepared to whip them as we are are now to whip out the armies of our enemies; or as we were to whip out the State of Missouri, or Illinoi. They have now got up a couler of law to say the President has a right to order an army where he pleases. It is true, he has a perfect <particular> right, to order Jenerall Scott totakehis cabanett, the whole Seven of them, and string them up by the neck, the one being just as constitutional as the other. And after he has ordered General Scott to string up his perticular associates by the neck they would have a perfect right to send him to hell. And when those darred infernal scounderels come here to take aways our lives, our rights, and liberties we have a right to send them to hell. (cries of "Amen") and that is not all we callculate to do it
Now in time of war you know I am not a partical afraid of any man's leaving us. But when peace comes again, You will find rather a different reception from what our Elders now do. I do not care which course they take, they may withdraw their army, and say the money presure is so great they cannot sustainan army, and congress refuses to appropriate: then let Erastas Snow, or Bro. Elridge be seen passing through the streets of St. Louis and it will be "Mr. Eldridge" or "Mr. Snow, what can we do for you, can we do anything for you." The poor miserable curses: now it is, "You damned Mormons." They may turn which way they please and the out come will be, we will be respected, and that is not all will make them respect us; we will respect ourselves at any rate if we cannot be respected by our neighbors, we will mentaine our rights, and sustain the constitution of the United States; and we will have the privilege of enjoying our religion God being my helper and ask no odds of them. They have driven us here, what a misstake they made! "what fools we <they> were, why did we not give them
a little Territory close by, where they would have been more under our controle" After we were driven from Nauvoo we had to provide 500 men to fight the battles of the United States. The old men women and children and a few that remained settled on the Missouri river, some were in Ioa, and some in what is now called Nabraska. The Indian agent came to order us off. He spent about half an hour with me, and he went away. I told him plainly I should not go; and says I if the government is disposed to send some of their poor miserable cursed welps here to order me from this place they will meet hell I wont stir one inch. Said he, "I could wish you were on the other side of the river," And what the devil do you want us there for. "You are locating on Indian country which is conterary to law. "Where do you expect to drive us if not on Indian countary? Have you a foot of land that does not belonge to the Indians? You have not;every inch of land <we have> not purchaced of the Indians belongs to them, and wheredo you think we are going? Still he could wish we were somewhere or other where we should not be such a great annoyance. I told him in about four weeks A company was going to start to search out a location, and I am going with them, and now you can write to washington, and inform the president and all who wish to hear, that I am going away with my brethren to find a location where we can make homes for our women and children, and if they send officers here to disturb our families while we are gone, so help me God I will be after you until you are wasted away. Just let my wives and children alone, and the rest of the people. Hewent off and reported that Mr. Young the head of the Mormons is a strange man.
They drove us here and was it not a short sighted peice of buisness. If that poor miserable devil had wrote back then to the Indian department to intercede with the president to lay it before the Cabinet and assembly to let us purchace a peice of land there or give us a peice they would have had us in their power. When we came here this land belonged to the Mexican Govt and we helped to obtain it. They did not know where we was going. I told Col. Cain when we got to the Great basons in North American there we shall stop, and droped his head as tho' he was asstonished, and studied for a few minutes, then clapped his hand on the knese of <the> Col. Cain, and says he Col. are you sure they are going there, "it is the key of the Contenant for a Military fource," and the key we have got in our hands; and I feell, curse them, they wont get it out. and talking about these matters, now with regard to trouble and war I will just tell you, there never was a people overcome on the face of the earth, and they never can be that are united together in a mountaineous country. There never was a people so isolated as we are that had to contend with a forign foe. You may take the scotish Chiefs for instance, their country is not more than 200 miles square. England never would have overcome them to this day if it had not been for divisions among themselves. You take a handfull of men like these in this house, and we are good for all that is to come, and what is it to do? We will raise our own Jonny Cake and eat it, and they cannot get any of it until they are wasted away. They cannot come without bringing supplies with them, and when they bring them, we can take our share of it at our pleasure. We have not began this season, only to show them a few tricks.
You know I have always stated when I get on this strain, and telling what we have in our midst, that the world cannot produce such men as we have. If you want a few tricks at cards, we can beat the world, or if you want a game at cards we can beat them. We can beat them at shooting at a mark, or at slight of hand. Here is Ephrim Hanks, and Lot Smith. Lot was a terror to that whole army, they would rather see the devil than see him. The boys would ride among their tents, and the officers ran into Col. Johnson's tent, saying we'll be damned if the Mormons dont ride into our tents if we dont see to them. Supose we had commenced upon them in the black hills, how far do you think they would have got, with their waggons? I reckon we have beef enough to serve our boys another year. I told Vanvlete we callculated to partake of their supplies, for we are not going to war on our own expences altogether. What we have done is merely to show them what Mormons can do when they have a mind to try. anybody hurt? No. But these Mormons were wonderfully anoying said Col. Alexander; "You cannot look on a hill but you may see Mormons, or down into a valley but there is Mormons, if you try to get out of sight a little theres Mormons, what the devil does it meanthey are every where!! Now I observed that just we few who are here are no more afraid of them than I am afraid of a grasshopper, nor half so much. There is no man nor woman that I have heard from but what is ready to say they shall not come here, it is only when we say we will have our rights. We shall socume to them no more God being our helper. We shall have some documents here, they are Gentle easy and full of human kindness. Or as bro. Phelps would say full of the milk of human kindness.