1865 April 7 General Conference Remarks


1865 April 7 General Conference Remarks



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George D. Watt
George Q. Cannon

extracted text

By President Brigham Young, in the Tabernacle, in G. S. L. City
April 7th, 1865.
Reported by G D Watt

I will try to speak to the saints a short time upon the subject of our temporal salvation; and in the course of my remarks I may notice the character of our speculators. Before we were flooded with merchants of every grade <from> from a sixpenny merchant upward, I called to gether my friends, those whom I esteemed as my friends, and as the friends of God, and they met in my Office where I laid before them certian principles <with regard to> upon trade, and I gave them my views <with> regarding <to> speculators. I well knew <the result that would arise be> the consequences of the previous course that had been taken by our merchants would be, and how the prices would range <that had been asked> for the goods that would be brought into our market. During our national trouble, I knew that speculators who care nothing for their neighbor's welfare who are neither abolishionists nor pro-slavery who would not care <careing not> whether the nation should sink or swim, if they could only make money, would flock here. I knew that circumstances would compel them to do so. <In their> During our meeting I reasoned upon the necessity of persuing a course to save the community from being cheated and robbed by that class of itinerant merchants.
We hear <a good deal> considerable said about the kingdom of God, and the brethren who talk from this stand often speak <regarding> about our position before the heavens, and before the nations of the earth, and regarding our faith, our progress and the requirements of the heavens, etc. All these things are before us, and we are called to be Saints and to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish the Zion of God; we are called to redeem the lost sheep, and bring them back to the true fold. Jesus Christ has paid the debt of the origonal sin by His blood; <and> He has thrown open the gates of life to all beleivers, and He now calls upon us to assist in gathering the House of Israel and in establishing His kingdom, and to prepae ourselves and all who will hearken to our counsel, for the reception of the Son of Man again upon the earth. This is our calling. There is a marked difference between those who have come here <to> for the purpose of making money, and those who have come to be faithful to their God, to themselves, and to their brethren. All are not honest in their intentions, who join this people; some join them for the sake of popularity; and some for the sake of making money; and some, who went into the waters of baptisam with an honest intent, and have been faithful for years, begin to trade and deal, make a little money and property <when> and they become ambitious for earthly wealth and influence. <which> This ambition or desire seems to draw out from their souls the life of God and the interest which they formerly possessed for the progress of the kingdom of God, <from their souls> and the spirit of the world enters into them.
I see all this, and I see the danger men are in, and I invited my brethren in our little meeting to consider these <things> matter. I then told them that we were about to be flooded with men of no principle, whose sole object in life was <is> to get money, and who <will> would endeavor to ruin every virtuous person in our community.I advised them that if they wanted to trade, to do so for the benefit of our society, and to <to> import such articles to this country as the people really <want> needed, and then to <and then> sell them at a fair remuneration to make themselves comfortable, and even wealthy after a time <I wished then to> and be willing to be with and for the people; for I said The people tug and toil the year round, and at the end of the year have made <very> but little more than their expenses. I exhorted them to ask a reasonable profit on their goods and thus hedge up the way of the unprincipled speculator. Not
only did I advise this class of our community in the manner which I describe at that time <at this time have I advised that class of our community>, but it has been my constant <theme> endeavor, when speaking from this stand and in my private conversations, to induce my brethren to import useful Machinery, and raise the necessary material for the manufacture of our own clothing; home manufacturing has been urged upon the people from the beginning -- from the first of our occupying this ground. I told that assembly of merchants if they must trade, to do so upon fair and honest principles, and be<ing> contented with a reasonable percentage for their <your> time, and not seek to make them<your>selves independantly rich in one year; for for those who do this, wring it from this poor people; they do not honestly get it, and before the heavens it is just as much theft as it would be to <take> steal cattle from the range, butcher them and sell them to the owner, which has been done all the time this winter. This is my private opinion, publicly expressed, asking no odds of cattle theives, and merchant theives, or scounderels of any kind.
After our <little> conference had continued sometime, and much conversation had passed upon the subject before us, the leading man of the company said to me "Give us your means and credit, and we will do as you tell us." I saw at once that he cared more about a dollar than about the salvation of his own soul, or the soul of anybody else; and the rest partially followed in his wake. I state these facts to let you know where my mind has constantly been. This people are capable of making themselves happy and wealthy; they can enjoy every blessing that the earth affords, or, on the other hand, they are capable of bringing sin, misery and death into their midst to their utter ruin; they can take their choice and do what they will, and receive, in return, the results of their works. How can our merchants enjoy the fellowship of the saints as they have done and stilldo and now charge so exorbitantly for their goods? They cannot. In all the history of merchandizing I think it will be hard to find an
instance where a merchants have cleared fifty five cents per pound on Sugar except in the case of our Salt Lake Merchants; and this they have made out of their poor Sisters, and their poor brethren that had nothing only what they earned with hard labor. What merchants abroad can make ten, twenty, thirty, and, in some instances, forty cents on a yard of <of> any kind of light co<u>tton goods? The Salt Lake Merchants <can> do it. Who can <make> get a dollar clear upon <clear for> a tenpenny toy? our merchants will bring a toy here worth twenry five cents and sell it for a dollar and a quarter. Who can do this I ask? The Salt Lake merchants do it; and we sit quietly down and suffer ourselves thus to be robbed by them, and sell our flowr to them for six or eight dollars a hundred. In this way our community is impoverished and the merchants are made rich, and then they will go to New York and boast of their making from seventy five to one hundred thousand dollars clear of all expenses in one year. They have
set the example for every cut-throat that comes here to cry to the world "Come to Great Salt Lake City and gull the Mormons." Can such persons have fellowship with the Holy Ghost? They cannot; the Holy Ghost has no fellowship with them, but they would rather go to hell than not to get our money from us. This is talking hard, but I told them how to avoid bringing <flooding> in a flood of strangers here; I have told the authorities of this City and County and Territory how to avoid it in a great measure. If I had my way about it there should not be a liquor shop in this City, nor a gambling saloon; but it is said, if they cannot get liquor here, and a chance to gamble, they will go some where else to get it. Let them
go somewhere else; that is <what> the very thing we want them to do; let them go where the people love such vile institutions. I say this because I occupy the capacity of a public man, and guide this people, and dictate them giving them counsel and advice that they may be saved in the kingdom of God. I am here for that express purpose; then stop your gambling and your drunkenness, stop haveing gambling shops and drinking saloons, and stop trading here and cheating the poor. <that is what> I wished to say this much to the Merchants and to the City authorities.
<I had> It has frequently been said, and is generaily beleived that all the nations and kingdoms of the world have been governed and controled by the women. I thought I would propose to our sisters to get <get> up societies and enter into pledges with each other never to go into a store to trade one dime with them; if the sisters will do this the men will fall in the wake. I would be willing that the sisters should rule just <as> so far, I should be willing that they get up societies properly orgonized for the purpose of taking measures, <and of> to exercis<ing> an influence to incourage home manufactury, to produce and make that which we need, and never to need anything which we cannot make; and then let the wives of the merchants say, "<I> We will leave you if you do not stop this business," and they will wheel in line quickly and bid good bye to their speculating. They are speculating upon every thing you can think of; they are speculating upon land. What is the land worth here? Just as much as it is worth any where else and no more. I have paid as high as $400 a foot for land which I bought for the sake of shutting out a neucense, when that very piece of land is worth no more than it is in Provo; I would just as leave have a lot in Provo, or in Saint George in the South, or in St Charles in the north as to have a lot <it> here. "Well but we are going to do such great things, the railroad is coming through here, and we shall find ourselves located upon the public high way; I want to tell you that it is but a little while before you will not get a dollar for your land. All the land in the Territory is here before us, and the land in the City is worth no more than land is worth any where else. A toy is worth a dollar and a quarter because you can get that amount for it, but <that> it is no proof that it is worth it <that> by any means, a man gets his money for it, and when he gets his hundreds and thousands of dollars in this way, can he take any of it to hell with him? Why do not the Latter-day Saints see for themselves, and find out the path they should walk in and secure to themselves. the life they now possess and the life which is eternal, they can do this if they are so disposed. Let the merchants, and men of capital generally import woolen factories to this country; there ought to be at least five hundred of them in this Territory, and then the demands of the community could not fully be supplied; with the great amount of machinery which I have imported, I suppose I could not do one hundredth part of
the work required to be done in this City alone. Mr Merchant will you bring a factory here? "No I will bring <a> some calico and and some cotton cloth here, and throw it before the people and if they get money they will buy it." <Whil> At the same time the people are alowing their sheep to perish for want of care. The merchants will not import machinery to work up wool, and the <the> people will not take care of their sheep to multiply wool in the country. Instead of seeking the independance of our people by importing useful machinery they would rather speculate <out of> on the peoples means having no interest in their permanant and substantial good. I have no fellowship for such men unless they alter their course, as I promised them in this stand not long ago I again promise that hell and damnation shall be their final doom. A man that brings a carding machine here does a real good to his neighbor <to the community> the man that gets up a machine to make a nail is the man that does a real good to the community. A man that makes a light of glass in Utah does good to the Latter-day Saints and to the kingdom of God; the man that gets up a little machinery to manufacture a little cloth either woollen or Cotton he is a public benefactor, and does good to himself. The merchants say they cannot make money fast<er> enough in that way; there is not a merchant among us but what callculates to clear fifty thousand dollars a year for standing behind the counter a little and talking to the ladies, and see that the clerks do their duty. <they calculate> When their hired hands are paid, their household, <expenses their> freightage and insurance expenses liquidated they calculate to clear from fifty to a hundred thousand dollars each. Where do they get all this money? Out of this poor, honest, industrious, trusting, innocent people, and it is stealing as much as to take my ox off the <plains> range and butcher it, and then sell it to me --it stealing before the heavens though it may not be considered so before the law. I know by sectarian rules it is not considered stealing to take what the law gives. An old deacon with <his chin> lower portion of his religiously lengthened face hanging down upon the skirts of his garments could say to the poor man whose wife and children were starving for bread, "Well brother, it is written that it is more blessed to give than to receive, if you will worke for me two days and a half, I will give you a bushel of corn". The <damned> old hypocrite, why could he not tell the poor starving family at once that he wished to cut their throats and rob them of all they possessed, or that by taking advantage of their necessity make them his slaves. Much has been said about the sufferings of the black slaves in the South, but their ill usage never did compare with the ill usage of the poor of the North which they receive at the hands of religious bigots. There are this day multitudes of poor people in the North who are crying and weeping for a morsel of bread, whereas if these poor destitute men had belonged to descent men they would have been fed and clothed; but they are free men, they are free to die in the streets if they cannot earn their bread, or perchance to die in prison if they owe five dollars and cannot pay it. I have expressed myself just as I feel with regard to our merchants; if they want life and salvation let them come to me and be dictated by me, and they will be saved from the damning sin of robbing this poor people of their hard earnings, rather will they by their <their> eagerness to make fortunes in a few days by their over-reaching and cheating induce the spawn of hell to <hatch> locate here, grow fat upon the hard toil of the honest poor and hold high carnivile in our midst. If our merchants have not said it in words, that they want all that the poor man makes over and above a meager, hungery, ragged existance they have loudly proclaimed it by their actions, and they would take all you have from if they could get it. Have they any consciense? Not towards God. If they have any it has been made by their mother, or by some miserable ignorant preist. Some of our merchants are pretty good men, but they allow themselves to be blinded by the God of this world, and unless they repent speedily they will loose the Spirit of God and their salvation and be damned in the end. I expect my next sermon will be on the lawyers.