1859 January 2 Letter to John M. Bernhisel


1859 January 2 Letter to John M. Bernhisel


Concerns government and territorial matters pertaining to Congress, President Buchanan, military and Indian Affairs. Brigham urges Bernhisel to again to advocate for Utah Territory to be accepted into the Union as a state. He also provides a few names of government officers who should be relieved of duty and suggests others as their replacements.


Government/Territorial Legislature
Indian Affairs


Brigham Young


John M. Bernhisel


1859 January 2


Great Salt Lake City
Washington D.C.

Number of Pages



Indian Affairs
Civic Matters

Item sets

President's Office
Great Salt Lake City U. T.
January 2nd. 1859.

Hon. John M. Bernhisel
Washington D. C.

Dear Brother:--

We scarcely ever hear from you any more, when you write it is to some one else about some trifling business matter, so we are without any news, either definite or general, from you.

We learn from the Presidents Message that the Land Laws and Pre-emption rights are reccommended to be extended to Utah.  A memorial to that effect should be presented to the House, which you doubtless have or can get up, in behalf of the Territory.  You should apply for grants of Land for actual settlers, and especially Town & City sites.

Mr Hays has not yet appeared in Utah.  I should suppose that the President would treat the office as vacant, and appoint some one else.  You were advised in a previous letter to endeavor to get Mr Lander or Williams appointed to that office, if a vacancy should occur.  If the Land Laws should be extended to Utah, try to get the appointment for Utah.  We would suggest Edward Hunter, John Neff, Jesse W. Fox, W. H. Hooper, James C. Snow and Chancey W. West as suitable and responsible persons to fill the Offices of Register and Receiver of the Land office.

Endeavor to obtain an appropriation for Indian treaties that reserves may be selected where the various Tribes may be located, Farms opened, Schools established, Mills erected, Machinery tools, stock and farming implements &c be furnished them.

And last, though not least, urge our application for admission into the Union, which obtain if possible, but if that cannot be accomplished, by all means get an enabling Act.  If possible have our imported Post Master for this City removed and some one else appointed in his place who is a resident in the Territory, we have before mentioned to you the name of Wm. H. Hooper as a suitable person for that office, others if more acceptable might be mentioned 

Urge our claims now in your hands for collection and when the session is through wind up your business so when you return this time you may remain with us if we should so conclude.  We really think Dr that we have kept you in public service a good while and you must be nearly tired out, come home therefore prepared to stay.

If you should be able so to do, ascertain what amount of money was furnished Mr. Secretary Hartnett for Legislative Expenses, he is trying to get the Members to take Quarter-Master Drafts in part payment of their per diem and mileage.  See if you cannot get the department to instruct the Secretary to pay the Legislative Assembly for the past two sessions, and our claims for the suppression of Indian hostilities, remember also my claims against the various departments.

The Eastern Mail arrived Dec 31st /58. bringing us New York dates to the 20th of November.  Your letter of the 8th of Nov. came safely to hand.  We learn, by the papers, of the failure of Chubb Brothers, who were I believe your bankers in Washington City.  I trust that you will lose nothing thereby, altho the papers are rejoicing over what they consider a loss which I have sustained, as you do not mention anything about it in your letter I trust there is nothing of it.

The Legislative Assembly now in session will doubtless forward Memorials to you, upon various subjects, to present to Congress, but you should not wait for them, as they may not reach you before it would be too late to present them at this Session.  you can therefore present such matters of business as ought to be presented whether you receive instructions from the Legislative Assembly or not.  Be free and open in your intercourse with our Brethren Horace S. Eldredge & George Q. Cannon as also our worthy friend Col. Thos. L. Kane.  God bless him and his Fathers house forever, I trust he has fully regained his health.  Work together with them to the advancement of our cause.  Ours is the cause of Freedom.  Freedom from foreign dictation.  Dictation by persons who know nothing of business law or economy suited or applicable to us, who have no interest in common with us for the prosperity of the Territory or the advancement of its interests at home or abroad; but rather, unless we will submit to have them trample us into the dust, use an influence against to injure it all they can, but we feel that their power is vanishing and we sincerely hope that the time is not far distant when we shall gain our admission into the Union, and have the privileges of choosing our own officers.

We have heard of the removal of Dr. Hurt Indian Agent an event which we hope will prove true, he is one of the clique who have so long so long misrepresented us, and dictated the General Government in regard to Utah affairs.  We trust that he will soon leave the scene of his official duties, where he has been so long sustained by the Government in making difficulties between us and them.

Mr. Jarvis arrived by this mail.  he has suffered considerably from the cold weather.

We trust that by early Spring the troops will have received their marching orders for some direction outside of Utah.  we think if they do not leave Mr Buchanan will not be to blame for he has certainly laid our plenty of work if Congress shall coincide with him in regard to the conquest of Mexico, Cuba, &c.  You will however observe by consulting the "Deseret News" that the Deputy Quarter Master General Mr Crossman has advertised for proposal for the delivery of one hundred & fifty thousand bushels of Grain for the use of the Army in the months of August and September and October next, if the Quarter Master is in earnest about this it would argue that they contemplate remaining here another winter.  A great many teamsters have left the Territory, but many of the gamblers speculators and Camp followers, who always hang upon the skirts of an army are still here loafing about the drinking saloons, corners of the streets, court house, &c., in hopes of picking somebody's pocket, stealing horses, and devising every way possible to get money without labor, &c.  Of such characters is made up a large portion of the Grand and Petit juries of Mr. Sinclair's court.  Mr. Dotson the Marshal also makes his selection for Deputy Marshals from that class of rowdy speculators and adventurers.  It is very desirable that Marshal Dotson be relieved from serving his country in his present capacity.  We could have no semblance of justice before any jury that he might select, and especially when the rulings and decisions of the court are already, a foregone conclusion as would be the case before the Judges Sinclair or Cradlebaugh.

Next in importance should be relieved from official duty, is Mr. Morrell the imported Post Master; even if Mr. Buchanan was under the necessity of importing another, it would be preferable to longer retaining this one who came into office pledged to do all the harm he could.  Enclosed is a list of the letters received from you since he has officated as Post Master in this city.  You will best know if any are missing and can judge whether he has had any hand in their suppression.  I have not sent any to you through that channel, as I have not have the slightest confidence in his forwarding any thing weitten by me without first reading it and then doing as he pleased about sending it.  The letters which accumulated in his hands last winter & spring, while he detained the Mailes for this city at Fort Bridger, had more than two-thirds of them been opened before I received them.

We certainly consider that a favorable change is taking place in public opinion, and think that the President's Message will wield a still greater influence in our favor.  It is quite as favorable as we could expect under the circumstances.  His recommendation for the extension of the Land Laws to this Territory is, we conceive a step in advance of what any politician has dared to do for Utah for many years, and for which he certainly deserves great credit.  In regard to our difficulties, he begins at the time when the troops which he had sent to use us up had actually come into the Territory, and were being checked up, and left out to cool awhile, see how far they had got and give the President time to take a second thought before he should proceed to kill, lay waste and destroy.  When we investigate these matters we expect to go "behind the writ" and take things up from the beginning.  But we do not wonder that he did not wish to go any further back, for the point where he commenced was the first thing he could find to put his finger upon.  Well, he has had his say which is all right; we understand it, and presume the world will.  Time will disclose who were the "rebels."

God bless you.  I remain, as ever your brother in the Gospel,

Brigham Young