1858 September 10 Letter Thomas L. Kane


1858 September 10 Letter Thomas L. Kane


The Commissioners' only purpose was to deliver Buchanan's Proclamation, but Governor Cumming appears disposed to see justice extended to Utah. The traders, gamblers and rowdies following the army bring as much conflict as the army itself. Brigham appeals to Kane to speak for the liberties of the citizens of Utah.


Indian Affairs


Thomas L. Kane


Brigham Young


1858 September 10


Great Salt Lake City

Number of Pages



Indian Affairs

Item sets

G. S. L. City Sep. 10th 1858
Col. Thomas L. Kane,

My Dear Friend:--
Your welcome letter of July 18th. with other favors came safely to hand by Howard Egan, and party, on the 25th ult.

We hope that your health is fully restored. We are truly gratified at your expressed intention yet to live, for rest assured, My friend, there is not sufficient to induce living-- enough to accomplish-- to fill up with usefulness the full measure of days allotted to man in this frail existence.

We strenuously insisted upon the peace War Commissioners investigating the charges which President Buchanan alleged in his Proclamation against us. (It) was in vain; they had "no power," "no time," "not authorized"; "it was utterly impossible. "They only came to bring the Proclamation, and explain the views of the President" as therein set forth: as though that precious document did not sufficiently explain itself. A footman, postman, or boy could have done the errand as well; but it matters not, they are evidently disappointed in the main errand, and equally foiled in the other; neither of them will ever be President for not accomplishing peace or war in Utah.

It is well, as you say, to dismiss the past, and look the present and future. One half of the Civil Government are admitted drunk, and it would puzzle than Philadelphia Lawyer to discern when the other half are sober-- a pretty specimen (as they hold themselves to be) of the living embodiment of the Constitution and laws, having no use for the written word. The dregs of the Army lodge in the City; have only killed two within the last week, exclusively private -- hush-- unless the surviving belligerent parties (one of whom was badly wounded) should die: Thus civilization progresses!

The Army is still augmenting with reinforcements, recruits and large quantities of supplies. We judge they are quite safe, being surrounded on every side by Settlements, while their loose riff, raff-- including such desperadoes as Powell and Burr and others fill the hotels in the city, aiming, it is very generally supposed, to kick up a row with the citizens, in order to justify the interference of the Courts, and perhaps the Army. All their plans fail so far. Governor Cumming holds an even hand, and appears disposed to see justice extended to Utah, so far as his power and influence can accomplish object. He likes exceedingly to have things his own way, but so long as his way lies generally in the right channel we can overlook some erratic flights of assumed authority &c., when they do not compromise any general interests. The kindliest relations and intercourse exist so far in all respects whatever between us and the Governor. We have not been urgent upon him to do this or that, but rather leaving him to follow the bent of his own mind. It is quite refreshing to see how he sometimes winds up the Camp poets' (as he calls the Reporters) and popinjays that flutter around him.

The investigations, however, have not progressed as rapidly as we desire, but we feel now to move in these matters, and also to attend to opinion of the Press. To promote this object we send our Brother, Geo. Q. Cannon, as you will perceive by a letter of introduction which he will hand you.

Judge Eckels, it is reported, will leave in a few days. If this proves true, he will go without holding a single Court in Utah. I have not formed his acquaintance.

The appointing of an entire set of Officials from among strangers (not to say enemies) and from a long distance, having no sympathies, interest, feelings or knowledge in unison with those they are called upon to preside over, may be republican, and even democratic in Washington City; but if the people care a fig for their liberty they had better have a care how they permit such a consolidation of power to cluster around the White House, or even the Capitol of the great Central Government. We know it is subversive of the rights liberties of the American people-- the people from whom, in this Government, political power is supposed to eminate. Notwithstanding professions from the dominent party upon the doctrine of popular sovereignty; concerning which so much is daily spoken and written, and which is doubtless correct in principle, and should be practised, yet We live under the menaces of a living Military despotism, which, unable to find any excuse for letting loose the dogs of war, still our cities and settlements are flooding with <their> drunkenness, profanity, and debauchery -- the Army with its train of hell furnishing every species of corrupting influence. The influx of Camp followers, of whose character you are somewhat acquainted, consisting of Government speculaters, traders, gamblers, rowdies, and bullies is perfectly astounding. It appears as though it was their object to flood us under, and can scarcely help believing that this is a part of the programme enacting against us. I would not mention it but it is a thousand times more to be dreaded than the Army; and the more especially as it appears to be their object to provoke a quarrel with our people, if possible.

In a community like this who have so long weltered under the lash of persecution, and have sacraficed so much, and travelled so far to enjoy quietness and peace, it is as you will readily perceive no easy task to restrain the vigorous manly feelings, revelling in conscious strength from emitting some sparks, when, writhing under the vice abuse and insult of such a horde of vile vagabonds and foreign drunken dictators, who set themselves up as the law bending every thing to suit their own peculiar notions-- of stupidity and ignorance. We have the authority of Senator Toombs, "That order maintained by a regular soldiery is despotism". In Utah, it is more like disorder-maintained &c.

Do not consider, Col., that I wish to complain, for I have always understood how this would be, and have had the privilege of discoursing this matter personally with you; but we do feel <not> a little anxious that the Army should be withdrawn, when, as you know, the vultures will follow.

Colonel, do you not feel that you accomplished all that you could have desired in your visit to Utah? We feel that it is all right. We are only having a little of what we would have had a good deal of, if we had not stayed the advance of the Army last fall. The Administration yielded, and we feel also to yield a little, and bear much so long as we are satisfied that no real evil is intended. What you have suggested in regard to myself and the country we think is admirably carried out; and if you were here you would be abundantly satisfied -- every thing works kindly, tho' occasionally rather chilly.

Judge Eckels disposed of, we trust that the exported Postmaster Morrell, Dr. Hurt, Craig, Dotson, will speedily follow in his wake. Gov. Cumming had better remain for the present, not only in office, but in the Territory. You said well, "that we could not spare him yet." He has sent 150 of the soldiers out on the Humboldt (to qu)iet the Indians: the Expedition is accompanied by Forney and Mr. Dodge, the newly appointed Agent for Carson. They expect to be sixty days <out>, after which Dr. Forney thinks of taking the southern route to the States, via, California. He will collect those children which the citizens rescued last fall from Indians after the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

We notice the Newspapers correspondents who came in with the Army are very bitter in their correspondence. The have now principally left, we suppose, to enjoy in a more congenial atmosphere where their false statements are not <so> likely to be thrown in their faces; they took gooddcare to leave this region before the papers could bring back their (lies.) Brown, of the Tribune, is, however, still here; he is Judge Eckel's appointee to the clerkship of his Judicial District. Judge Sinclair has also appointed a Mr. Gilbert, another of the new arrivals. It is a curiosity with what facility Stockjobbers, traders, and gentlemen loafers, who have no real interest or business in the Territory, and who only are here to pick up the golden dross of the Army, become respectable "citizens of Utah." (They) were all herded out together last winter, and if the [-] leaves will very soon herd themselves out of these mountains. We must not forget one important item, which is this: the present Administration is entitled to the credit for filling these mountains with not only gamblers, but (highw)aymen or robbers, who already begin to invest the travellers upon the principal roads-- discharged soldiers, numerous deserters, teamsters, and worthy camp followers furnish ample materials, which, we fear, if the army should immediately withdraw, it would take years to eradicate.

Elder Geo. Q. Cannon is a young man who has been raised with us, and is every way confidential and reliable, and we consider of fair abilities; you can, therefore, place the most implicit confidence in him. He is a printer by trade, and, as you will doubless remember, conducted the `Western Standard in San Francisco, therefore has some experience in matters of the Press.

We have, through the blessing of that God whom we serve, accomplished much and the hopeful future already looks bright before us. But, Col., even with a State sovereignty which we most ardently desire and rely so much upon your aid to acquire, we do not expect to be let alone. So long as Christ and Belial are not friends, so long we expect the devils will howl and strive to stir up his willing agents to overthrow the power and authority of the Most High; and just so long will the Saints be striven against, but they will finally prevail as truth is mighty, and will in the end triumph over every foe. But we write to you as a friend -- political if you prefer it -- who not only can feel for suffering humanity, but dare act, speak and do for the rights and liberties of Americans, wherever & by whomsoever assailed. May the Lord God of Israel bless and prosper you; give you long life, health and happiness, together with your family; and the Angel of Peace and Love preside over you, and all your interests and welfare in time and eternity.

Remember me to your Mother, from whom I received kind regards by Bro. Egan, and also to your Brothers who so nobly stood by you in your absence, during that long and tedious journey undertaken under such adverse circumstances, with such a will and purpose: We shall never forget it.

We take pleasure in forwarding your Trunk and Sack which since they arrived from San Bernardino, have remained in the charge of Gov. Cumming. I had supposed until now, since they came into my possession, that you had left the key to your trunk with Gov. Cumming, and that he would examine and see that all was safe, but as it is it will remain unopened. We hope that all the things are safe and think they are.

You are warmly remembered by all my friends. I remain truly,
Your Friend,

Brigham Young