1865 January 23 Remarks at the State of Deseret Legislative Joint Assembly


1865 January 23 Remarks at the State of Deseret Legislative Joint Assembly



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George D. Watt

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by President Brigham Young in the Representatives Hall in Great Salt Lake City Monday Jan 23rd, 1865
Reported by G. D. Watt.

The fact of the assembling together of this body of men in the capacity in which they appear this morning will be read on the pages of history in the future with the deepest interest. As we now veiw it, it may appear to us a matter of no great moment, <as we now view it> a matter that will pass away like other common instances of life; but the fact of this people being driven away from their homes and possessions, <and have made> of their making their way into this desert country, and of their being able to sustain themselves, to grow, and spread and prosper as this coloney has done, is a circumstance that is unparralelled in the history of all moder colonization. The organization of the State of Deseret is looked upon with but little interest by the great mass of the people. A few see it as the forerunner of great and important events that will be of immense bennefit to this community. Assembling here as we do to day, and have done on former occasions, may be considered unnecessary while we are under the protection of the parent Government -- it may be considered not worth our while to orgonize any form of government ourselves, but that it would be better for us to be contented with the form made for us, and given to us, by the parent Government, as this is more in accordance with the usages of republican governments. According to the declaration of Independance, and according to the letter of the constitution of the United States formed by the fathers, we can legislate for the government in Washington with as much propriety and right as they can for us in Utah. Still, custom in many instances have become <the> stronger <than> than law. It is customary for the General Government to give governments, and government Officers to territories, but it is not according to law. In the first place we have got to learn to take care of ourselves or not be taken care of. We were forced from our homes and from and from our possessions in Illinoi, and this outrage was santioned y that parental government which now pretends to give us succor and aid. The history of this people fully substanciates this fact. he have had to sustain ourselves when we came to this inhospitable country, and when <we were> it was found that we were likely to live, the mantle of charity and protection could then be thrown over us ostensively. Watch dogs were sent to us to bark at every corner, and the hounds are here still. After a time it was concluded that we might be a Territorial Government, and officers were sent to administer it -- a Governor, a secretary of State and three judges -- gentlemen who were considered to possess<ing> the excellencies, and virtues, in short, were <the> fair representatives of Washington society --we have had sent to us officers that were necessary for the administeration of a Territorial Government, and we have managed to live. I wish to say to the Elders of Isreal, that we are as free to day as we are disposed to make ourselves. If any man feels agreived, and oppressed in this Territory, it is because he <has n> is not disposed to be free. From the day that Brochas Bay and Brandenbery and Harris too the Secretary came to this Territory they have not had one partical of influence from that day to this, only among those that we care nothing about, they have never since that time had any influence whatever with honorable men -- with men who love truth and virtue, and if we are not free it is because we are not disposed to be. Not that I would speak disrespectfully of our present officers, they are esteemed by their friends as gentlemen in the highest digree, whether they quak like a duck or like a drake whether they ware or tight breeches, they are as harmless as a rattlesnake in the Snow. Excuse me if these words injure your feelings; this is not speaking disrespectully of them by any means; they are as we wish them to be, and we are as we wish to be unless it is to be a little better. If we had a little more faith in God, and had <in> the power of the Holy Ghost upon us, it would be as acceptable a blessing as anything else we could obtain. We cannot help occasionally looking back upon the path that we have travelled, but those circumstanses have passed away, our prophet they killed, and every preist in the pulpit and every governor in his seat, with the president at their head, and every judge, and every man in power said "Amen, we are glad that he is distroyed from the earth." The Lord said that He would come out of His hiding place and sorely vex the nation. All I have to say on the Lord's vexing the nation is, see for yourselves. Some have absented themselves from the assembly, and very likely they have felt that thus assembling ourselves is of no moment, and a great many very probably will feel so when we become a state, and when we actually elect men to come to the Legislative Assembly of the State of Deseret, the cry through all the land will no doubt be, how much are you going to give us a day. Not one dime. I am calculating to serve as governor without any remuneration whatever, and I calculate that Heber C. Kimball as Leiutenant Governor shall serve the same way, and every judge and officer in the state shall serve without the dimes. We may, when we get through, and see fit, and if we feel ourselves able when we come to make up the balances, and pass certain laws, restore to them what they have expended. Whether we will or not, I do not know. To sit here in this capacity is of greater worth and moment to us, that to be crowned with all the glory and power of the crowned heads of the Kingdoms of the world, if we did but know it. I hope there is none here who feel as though they wanted any remuneration for their services. When a fee bill is made out, and passed the two branches of the Legislature of the State of Deseret it will be light indeed. When the appropriation bill is made out at the end of the Session, and we are disposed to pay the board of the members who come from a distance and must live here, we expect to do it as we do when we buy breeches for the Elders that travel and preach.
We are now sitting in the capacity of a Legislative Assembly, and he that looks upon this with lightness, or feels a sneering smile within him, God will hold him in derision, I care not whether he is in this Church or not. We meet here in this capacity to transact business, it is all right and well. Let them hold on <to Utah> just as long as they think they can get a hold of somebody for their dogs to bite, and let them keep them on the corners of the streets to bite and baffle themselves and others as long as they feel like it. I have not heard of the legislature wishing wishing Utah to be admitted into the union, for there is no more United States and never will be again until this body of men and their associates make it. Tell of it, send it to the Vedette, or to any other filthy slow hole you have a mind to. I expect to see my remarks here to day in the vedette tomorrow. There is persons in this room who will no doubt tattle and tell what I have said here to day, I care no more for them than I do for the croaking of the crow that flies over my head. Here is a body of men who holds the keys of the salvation of the world; they may tantalize our feelings, but they may talk as much as they please and we ask no odds of them just keep hands off us. I do not want it, I do not ask it, but it would not require half the crook of the finger of the Almighty to whipe them out of existance, but I do not want it, and the Lord has said that He would fight our battles. He will sustain His people. He has fed and clothed us, and done all that He has promised to do, and more. Here we are in a legislative capacity, and this body of men and their representatives have got to send laws to the nations of the earth to govern every nation and people that lives upon the face of the whole earth. I shall know whether these men are true or not. There is not a man in this house but what professes to be Iatter-day-Saints, and I care not if others were here. I would as leave say what I am speaking here to day in the halls at Washington as here. The doom of the nation is sealed; and the lord will never cease the chastening hand on them until they are wasted away. I have prayed for them, and run my legs off, almost, to preach the gospel to them, I have traveled thousands of miles with blisters on my feet and blood in my shoes to preach to them, and warn them but did they care anything about it? No. I have told them of this very crisis for this thirty years and over from the mouth of the prophet; I have cried in there ears to repent and return to God lest the chastening hand of the Almighty shall come upon them. Do you know how long it will be before we are left here as isolated and free as we were left unnoticed in the message of the cheif magestrate of the nation; he stepped over Utah to notice our neighboring Territories; how glad I was for just so it will be, we shall be left here, and this legislative assembly will find that they must legislate for themselves for nobody will do it for them; for there will be war and trouble, and sickness and desolation that will waste this nation and all the nations of the earth; but this is preaching a sermon to the brethren. I fixed up a document which has been read to you, and if any body wants to print it, print the whole of it, and not pick out a word here, and a sentance there in this style, "let him that stole steal," leaving out the words "no more". "Judas went out and hanged himself," "go thou and do likewise" etc. Now I want this body of men realy to consider themselves as they are. That being whom <then> we call the God of the universe, our Heavenly Father whom we serve, He is as interested in our welfare, and in our doings this day, as we are interested in the welfare of our children, and more so; He is looking upon us, and our brethren <th> who have gone behind the veil, Joseph, the prophet, Hiram, father Smith, and the whole retinue <who> of departed saints are watching us, and can we sit here caring nothing about the purpose for which we have met, because we do not get three dollars a day for our services; we shall yet see the day that we would give worlds if such a feeling had never entered our bosoms. I warn you against coveting wages, and against thinking that this assembly is an idle and useless specticle to behold merely for the present time never to be thought of again; I give this warning to you and I take it to myself.
We never can have justice done us as a people, and as a nation until men are endewed with power from on high and be the people to judge according to the merits or demerits of their ease acts, that will be a court of justice, what is called the court of errors in some countries, that will be called a court of renown where there word is law, Until we have righteous judges, righteous legislatures, and representatives, and righteous officers in every place, no people can be controled in righteousness. We have got to see that day; and a kingdom of God will be established pertaing to the world to govern the Church of England, the presbiterians, and every reformed church that has ever left our mother Church, every people of every creed, and couler, and every nation; the time has got to come that laws will be issued to controle and govern each and every one of them, and that kingdom will incircle the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in its protection. We shall not turn out to be Methodists nor presbiterians, neither shall we be the mother Church in acts and faith, and doings, never. When the kingdom of God reigns triumphantly upon the earth, it will be God like, it will rule and reign as God would rule and reign. He gives His sun to rise upon the evil and the Good, and he sends rain upon the just and the unjust; so we shall do when we are santified and prepared to issue laws to the nations. We may ask if we are going to live to see this? It is no matter, men will live in the flesh that will do this work and they will be our successors in Office. If we live we shall be the men to do this work, if we do not it will be those that hold the preisthood of God, who will be santified, and understand the mind and the will of God and be ready to do it; and show mercy, and be filled with long suffering and kindness to all who will not make iron bedsteads and measure all men by the same measure, cutting off those who are too long and streatching those who are too short; but all will live in the enjoyments of their inalienable rights, enjoying their agency before the Lord, and all men will be dealt with as a part of the great brotherhood of mankind. This will be the situation all. I do not know that my brethren feel to apreciate this subject as I do. We have met to do not to please man but to please our Father who art in heaven, and to be ready for all imergencies at the drop of the hat. We want the wheel all ready for running when the gate is hoisted, and the machinery in perfect running order. How long will it be before we do this? Will we ever be obliged to do it? We will do it, and perhaps out of choice, because it is the best thing that can be done. How long shall we waite? I do not know. No man need be oppressed as to our officers; all things are right with them, and there is no necessity at present of changing the present state of things. How long will it be? I do not know; I can partialy answer the question by refering to a little circumstance that transpired in Boston. A man had been in the habit of being trusted as a man of truth, he was asked if he thought he could not be induced to falsefy his word under any circumstances; he replied there is not a man living on this earth but what will lie if you pinch him hard enough; it was then asked him how long <he> a truthful man would have to be pinched before he would lie; he replied you pinch him till he lies. How long shall we be pinched before we set the old wheel a going? Until we <do> set it going. There is no treason in being ready; there is no treason in saying that our officers are quiet, except to those on the bench, they are the only ones that are oppressed, I have thought of getting up a little subscription for them. They have but a few animals scarsely a dozen, and "we poor hounds are the persecuted ones." Let us get up a subscription for them. There is men among them who possess good hearts, and would be honorable men, and we want to conduct ourselves towards them as honorable men. I would just as leave they had our flour as not, and our oats if they will pay for them. If they will get up a subscription list as for the poor and destitute that cannot get out of the Territory we will sign something, but will we give them our grain etc for nothing when they are able to pay for it? No we will see them in hell first. We say these are jokes, and when we get through here we will go home and kick up our heels, go to the theatre, or to the dance, and eat our own bread and ware our own clothing. They never gave us anything, and never will unless it is hell. When they are hungry and cannot by buy food we will feed them, when they are naked and cannot by any clothing we will cloth them. When they say they are the top nots, the leaders, and rulers of the people I then <I> say kiss my foot up along. If I live, and the Lord and His saints being my helpers, I mean to see this kingdom reign triumphantly over all the kingdoms in the world, and I know every saint in the heavens and on the earth will say, "May God grant it; and the poor curses will snivel and whine that they are abused.
Are you satisfied? I you are not I will talk some more (voices no). We came into these mountains naked and barefoot, and we are now clothed in broad cloth, and cloth of our own <spining> manufacture also if we please to ware it, we are able to ware either. We are able to send to New York and buy our hundreds and thousands of dollars worth of goods and pay for them. When we came here we had to bring our seed grain and farming utensils, with our broken down cows and horses, and God has sustained this people, and the wicked in the world, including every officer and man in the Government never has done as much as lift up a voice to say one word in our favor, but have howled against us saying that we ought to be sent to hell. God has done this for this people. Navada was made a State by the General Goverment, with only a population of 35 thousand men. Why are they not willing to give a state Government to Utah, because we are Mormons. And what of the Mormons? Why, the Morrmons beleive in poligamy. Did we beleive in poligamy when we were driven from Ohio, when we were driven from Jackson County, when we was driven from Missouri? No, we knew nothing about it, there was no such thing, only a few men took the liberty of being our masters, who were afterwards out off from the earth. Wnen we left Nauvoo did they drive us for poligamy? No. It was not publicly known of. But now we will admit you if you will only renounce poligamy, and the next would be you cannot be admitted as a state unless you renounce Joseph Smith as your prophet, and the next would be you cannot be admitted unless you renounce the Book of Mormon, and what next, and what next? we will be brothers to you if you will only renounce the principles of reformation, and sum it all up, if you will kill and distroy the innocent, and be whoremasters, and do as we do you may come in. I will see them in hell before we will renounce any of them. Did they help us to come here? They did not but they took our houses and our farmes and our cattle from us, and when we were drove from the State of Missouri they took the cattle and hogs that belonged to my brethren, and sold them to the Poor Latter-day-Saints, and then charged the State two thousand dollars to cover their expences. I am glad I am not the Almighty, for I would have sent them to hell like a streek of lightening. "Your cause is just but we can do nothing for you" I wonder how little Mattie feels now. He is in hell lifting up his eyes in torment, where the rest of them arand will be. I am using this liberty to talk to you thus because you are in the capacity of a Legislative Assembly. Well, we are here and still living. Have we not passed through all this? Yes. How do I look upon them who have been our persecutors? Just as quick as we commenced to build the old fort, there was an army ordered to fort Hall to watch us, and another army was sent here; they then sent another exploring company and another to watch the Mormons. And then a large army was sent to distroy us; in that instance we acted like men, <and if we had e---d> Conner ought to have be c-- and bound <him> out to a gimlet maker. I forbid any man <in> to <this country> mentioniag him in our parpers, and if he ever crosses my path, and meddles with me I will kill him by the Gods that live in eternity, and every one that assists to accomplish his wicked designs against this people Hear it O Isreal.
Now I will say, brethren, When I get up to talk in this assembly the things I have spoken of will present themselves before me. I can go into our meetings in the Tabernacle and other places, and I should never think of any thing of the kind, but when circumstances press these things upon. me, I cannot help thinking upon what abuse we have received from their hands, and how they have sought to distroy us all the day long, and how they have tried to root up the last vestage of truth from the earth. There is not one soul of them that I would not take into my house if they were perishing in the street, even Gen. Connor. I do not know the man; as a citizen I have nothing against him, he wants to kill the truth, and sacrifice every virtue there is upon the earth that God has established, that is what makes me hate him. He is nothing to me as a business man.
We have sold them hay and flour for about two thirds less than they could get it any where else, but as an individual I have not the least feeling against him. We are placed under the necessity of taking care of ourselves, to legislate for ourselves, to raise our own corn, and get our own clothing, make our own farms and roads, and when we have made and surrounded ourselves with these comforts, they whine and tell about being abused because we will not let them rob us of all we possess and creep into our houses, and polute our wives and daughters; they wish to desicrate every habitation in Isreal. I say that Isreal will arise and go forth and prosper and spread in the mountains and on this land of Zion; mark it, and bye and by they will hold the reigns of Government in the whole land.