1858 May 6 Letter to John M. Bernhisel

Title

1858 May 6 Letter to John M. Bernhisel

Description

A lengthy letter detailing extensive issues with the mail and the antagonism of the U.S. army and prejudice against the Saints. Brigham expresses strong feelings toward Utah being accepted into the Union and has positive feedback about the new Governor Cummings. Letter also includes updates about the mass relocation of the population north of Utah County and other business matters.

Type

Correspondence

Sender

Brigham Young

Recipient

John M. Bernhisel

Date

1858 May 6

Location

Great Salt Lake City
[Washington D. C.]

Number of Pages

6

Subject

Government/Territorial
Business Matters
Military
Utah War

extracted text

Presidents Office
Great Salt Lake City U. T.
May 6 1858.
Hon John M. Bernhisel,
Dear Brother:-
Your note dated Decr. 17th to D. O. Calder is the only one which we received from you by this mail; we do not fully understand how it is that we have received nothing later from you. We have written to you by every southern Mail, the only one you are aware that we are favored with as yet since last June. We send this by our mutual friend, Col. Kane (and duplicate by mail to California) who is going home; and is the bearer of important dispatches to the Government. The Colonel's health is much improved since his sojourn in the mountains, and only for the sad news of the death of his father, which sorely afflicts him, would now feel very well. He visited the army, and after remaining there three or four weeks, returned to this city accompanied by Gov. A. Cumming, who is still with him and on a visit south, but contemplates returning with the Col. as far as the army where he left his wife. He intends returning here soon and bringing his wife with him. You will see his report, which we trust will disabuse the mind of the President and cabinet and have a tendency to correct public opinion in regard to this people,. The Gov. seems disposed to do all he can to make things right, if he can only be recognized as Governor -- an item which the people have not as yet acceded to, His course, however, thus far is calculated to modify their feelings, and he doubtless feels quite sanguine of ultimate success.

The people north of Utah County, including this city, are all moving. Myself and Bro Kimball have moved the principal part of our families and effects, and the northern settlements are now principally vacated, and this city will be, in a few more days; so if the Officers do come in they will have to chase up the people to get any subjects; and if the army comes they will find blackened desolation. Every preparation is making for the conflagration, preparing to sacrifice comfortable houses, improvements and possessions-- the labors of the last ten years rather than to sacrifice our constitutional rights; have officers thrust upon us at the point of the bayonet; or submit to a military despotism.
We see by the papers that the redoubtable Judge Eccles has formed a Grand Jury out of the followers of the camp and gone through with the judicial ceremony of finding indictments. `Tis strange that they could not wait until they fairly got into the Territory, qualified, and organized, before they disclosed their purposes. We knew before that this was their plan of operations, but did suppose that they might have had sense enough to have kept it in the dark a little longer; but if they or the government think for a moment they can hoodwink us, or that we will permit their law clutches to fasten and hold us while their assassins can slay us they will find out that they are"barking up the wrong sapling". We are not to be caught in that snare, they will have to try some other expedient that is not so palpable, or <that> they have not practiced quite so often. So you see that matters are by no means settled as yet, but we hope <that> the present demonstration may be turned aside and actual collision avoided. We shall act as we always have done, strictly in our own defence, and that we have a right to do. We are sacrificing much to avoid collision; let them also recede from their positions which were taken in the dark; based upon foul calumny and misrepresentation.
Let the government admit us as a state into the union if they would avoid such difficulties; They cannot consistently expect us to receive their officers, much less their standing army to enforce them upon us; and they well know that such acts are antagonistic to their own platforms, to their own principles, and the genius of free institutions; that this demonstration is an onslaught upon American liberty, which would consign any administration to eternal death and infamy were it attempted to be perpetrated upon any other than this people. They have presumed, and do yet rely upon the popular prejudice existing against us as a people, on account of our religion, to sustain them; but as the Editor of the `New York Herald' very properly remarked nearly a year ago, Mormonism as political capital will not pay;' and it appears from present indication that the government is beginning to find it out. We see no other way for them than to act consistently and save the Democratic party (Buchanan, poor fellow, is gone already) than to admit us into the Union: then we care nothing about their army; they can do us no harm but what can be remedied or provided against. With this object in view we have been writing to you to present our constitution and application for admission into the Union. We do not know as you have received our letters, and if you have, but that you may esteem it the height of absurdity and presumption to make this application but Doctor, we do not reason as the world reasons upon such subjects. Do as we request you, if you have to leave Washington within half an hour afterwards, and leave the result with God. If they reject us, all right they will most likely not have the privilege of rejecting us but once, and in time to come they cannot say you never applied. We have no feelings in the matter. If the Lord lets them reject us we are only the more happy for them to do so. If on the other hand they should entertain the idea of admitting us it may have a tendency to restrain the dogs of war a short time; and if they admit us before they go to pieces, still there may be an advantage in being placed in that position. You know that we are aware that the nation cannot last long in its present capacity, she is liable to perish in an hour -- at any moment she may be dismembered and rent assunder; the only wonder is that the slender thread which held her together has not already parted. Therefore improve the present opportunity to make our application lest another may not occur. Earnestly advocate our admission: you have a right to speak, and they will hear you. Claim it as a right and bring the matter to such an issue, if possible, that each house will be obliged to vote direct upon the merits of the question of admission or against it, and have the ayes and nayes taken whenever you have a right to call for them on every point, that they may be recorded. Tis nothing you need be ashamed or afraid of -- that God who rules and dictates in the affairs of men will witness your struggles in behalf of his people. He it is <that> can set up or cast down, and the lives and destinies of all men are in His hands to do as seemeth Him good; therefore fear not but be mighty in exposing the cause of truth and the Lord will bear you off victorious to the end.
We have learned that Bro Adams and others have received letters from you on business matters of late date, and know of no reason why we should not have also been blessed with like favors if they had not been purloined from the mails. You can pay the postage instead of franking them, and address under cover to some one else if you have any fears of their being stolen; and be careful to have them forwarded by the way of California at latest date before the sailing of the steamers. Get some woman to write the address so that it may appear in another handwriting and direct to Eliza R Snow, Bryant Stringham, Hannah C. Free, Susan Alley, or Emeline Free, In regard to money matters we cannot direct you having received nothing from any of our agents east. We have written you in regard to these matters during the winter in which you were instructed to assist Bro Horace. L. Eldridge if you had it in your power and he needed it.

All is well with us, and enjoy our moving very much, the Saints are very cheerful. The Temple foundation is cached, the public shop removed, except what is required to be retained in operation in order to fix wagons, shoe animals, make boxes &c. All is stir and bustle to get away and all are fast leaving to be ready for whatever may occur.
May the Lord bless and preserve you from every evil and raise up an influence around you that none can withstand or gain-say, and give you success is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

I remain,
Your Brother in the Gospel of Christ

Brigham Young

Item sets

Presidents Office
Great Salt Lake City  U. T.
May  6  1858.

Hon John M. Bernhisel,

Dear Brother:

Your note dated Decr. 17th to D. O. Calder is the only one which we received from you by this mail; we do not fully understand how it is that we have received nothing later from you.  We have written to you by every southern Mail, the only one you are aware that we are favored with as yet since last June.  We send this by our mutual friend, Col. Kane (and duplicate by mail to California) who is going home; and is the bearer of important dispatches to the Government.  The Colonel's health is much improved since his sojourn in the mountains, and only for the sad news of the death of his father, which sorely afflicts him, would now feel very well.  He visited the army, and after remaining there three or four weeks, returned to this city accompanied by Gov. A. Cumming, who is still with him and on a visit south, but contemplates returning with the Col. as far as the army where he left his wife.  He intends returning here soon and bringing his wife with him.  You will see his report, which we trust will disabuse the mind of the President and cabinet and have a tendency to correct public opinion in regard to this people,.  The Gov. seems disposed to do all he can to make things right, if he can only be recognized as Governor  an item which the people have not as yet acceded to,  His course, however, thus far is calculated to modify their feelings, and he doubtless feels quite sanguine of ultimate success.

The people north of Utah County, including this city, are all moving.  Myself and Bro Kimball have moved the principal part of our families and effects, and the northern settlements are now principally vacated, and this city will be, in a few more days; so if the Officers do come in they will have to chase up the people to get any subjects; and if the army comes they will find blackened desolation.  Every preparation is making for the conflagration, preparing to sacrifice comfortable houses, improvements and possessions the labors of the last ten years rather than to sacrifice our constitutional rights; have officers thrust upon us at the point of the bayonet; or submit to a military despotism.

We see by the papers that the redoubtable Judge Eccles has formed a Grand Jury out of the followers of the camp and gone through with the judicial ceremony of finding indictments.  `Tis strange that they could not wait until they fairly got into the Territory, qualified, and organized, before they disclosed their purposes.  We knew before that this was their plan of operations, but did suppose that they might have had sense enough to have kept it in the dark a little longer; but if they or the government think for a moment they can hoodwink us, or that we will permit their law clutches to fasten and hold us while their assassins can slay us they will find out that they are"barking up the wrong sapling".  We are not to be caught in that snare,  they will have to try some other expedient that is not so palpable, or <that> they have not practiced quite so often.  So you see that matters are by no means settled as yet, but we hope <that> the present demonstration may be turned aside and actual collision avoided.  We shall act as we always have done, strictly in our own defence, and that we have a right to do.  We are sacrificing much to avoid collision; let them also recede from their positions which were taken in the dark; based upon foul calumny and misrepresentation. 

Let the government admit us as a state into the union if they would avoid such difficulties;  They cannot consistently expect us to receive their officers, much less their standing army to enforce them upon us; and they well know that such acts are antagonistic to their own platforms, to their own principles, and the genius of free institutions; that this demonstration is an onslaught upon American liberty, which would consign any administration to eternal death and infamy were it attempted to be perpetrated upon any other than this people.  They have presumed, and do yet rely upon the popular prejudice existing against us as a people, on account of our religion, to sustain them; but as the Editor of the `New York Herald' very properly remarked nearly a year ago, Mormonism as political capital will not pay;'  and it appears from present indication that the government is beginning to find it out.  We see no other way for them than to act consistently and save the Democratic party (Buchanan, poor fellow, is gone already) than to admit us into the Union:  then we care nothing about their army; they can do us no harm but what can be remedied or provided against.  With this object in view we have been writing to you to present our constitution and application for admission into the Union.  We do not know as you have received our letters, and if you have, but that you may esteem it the height of absurdity and presumption to make this application but Doctor, we do not reason as the world reasons upon such subjects.  Do as we request you, if you have to leave Washington within half an hour afterwards, and leave the result with God.  If they reject us, all right they will most likely not have the privilege of rejecting us but once, and in time to come they cannot say you never applied.  We have no feelings in the matter.  If the Lord lets them reject us we are only the more happy for them to do so.  If on the other hand they should entertain the idea of admitting us it may have a tendency to restrain the dogs of war a short time; and if they admit us before they go to pieces, still there may be an advantage in being placed in that position.  You know that we are aware that the nation cannot last long in its present capacity, she is liable to perish in an hour  at any moment she may be dismembered and rent assunder; the only wonder is that the slender thread which held her together has not already parted.  Therefore improve the present opportunity to make our application lest another may not occur.  Earnestly advocate our admission:  you have a right to speak, and they will hear you.  Claim it as a right and bring the matter to such an issue, if possible, that each house will be obliged to vote direct upon the merits of the question of admission or against it, and have the ayes and nayes taken whenever you have a right to call for them on every point, that they may be recorded.  Tis nothing you need be ashamed or afraid of  that God who rules and dictates in the affairs of men will witness your struggles in behalf of his people.  He it is <that> can set up or cast down, and the lives and destinies of all men are in His hands to do as seemeth Him good; therefore fear not but be mighty in exposing the cause of truth and the Lord will bear you off victorious to the end.

We have learned that Bro Adams and others have received letters from you on business matters of late date, and know of no reason why we should not have also been blessed with like favors if they had not been purloined from the mails.  You can pay the postage instead of franking them, and address under cover to some one else if you have any fears of their being stolen; and be careful to have them forwarded by the way of California at latest date before the sailing of the steamers.  Get some woman to write the address so that it may appear in another handwriting and direct to Eliza R Snow, Bryant Stringham, Hannah C. Free, Susan Alley, or Emeline Free,   In regard to money matters we cannot direct you having received nothing from any of our agents east.  We have written you in regard to these matters during the winter in which you were instructed to  assist Bro Horace. L. Eldridge if you had it in your power and he needed it.

All is well with us, and enjoy our moving very much, the Saints are very cheerful.  The Temple foundation is cached, the public shop removed, except what is required to be retained in operation in order to fix wagons, shoe animals, make boxes &c.  All is stir and bustle to get away and all are fast leaving to be ready for whatever may occur.

May the Lord bless and preserve you from every evil and raise up an influence around you that none can withstand or gainsay, and give you success is my prayer in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

I remain,

Your Brother in the Gospel of Christ

Brigham Young