Departure of Brigham Young from Nauvoo—Proposition of “A. G. Benson & Co.”—Proposed Contract—Public Meeting in the Temple—Mississippi Bridged by Ice—Limited Number Who Crossed on the Ice with Teams and Families—Petition to the Governor of Iowa—Reflections on Commencement of Exodus from Nauvoo
“Tuesday February 10, 1846.—Dr. Richards had a very comfortable chat with Elder Noah Rogers who had just returned from the Society Islands. Elder Rogers related an account of Wm. Law and others attempting to take the life of the Prophet Joseph.
The Senior President of the First Council of the Seventy Appointed President of the Church at Nauvoo
Joseph Young was appointed to preside over the church during the stay of the saints in Nauvoo and received his letter of appointment from the Quorum of the Twelve.
Wednesday, 11.—President Joseph Young met in the Temple with a company of saints for prayer, and organized companies for prayer to meet every night.
Thursday, 12.—The Twelve Apostles making preparations to start on their journey westward.
Twelve brethren met in the Temple and prayed in two companies. Elders Ransom Shepherd and Joseph Young were mouth in prayer.
Friday, 13.—Two companies met for prayer in the House of the Lord this evening, and prayed for the preservation of the Twelve, and that they might have wisdom to guide the saints in the paths of peace and safety; for the healing of the sick, etc.
Saturday, 14.—Eleven of the brethren met for prayer in two companies.
President Young Departs from Nauvoo.
Sunday, 15.—I crossed the river with my family accompanied by W. Richards and family and George A. Smith. We traveled on four miles, when we came to the bluff. I would not go on until I saw all the teams up. I helped them up the hill with my own hands. At dusk started on, and reached Sugar Creek about 8 p.m., having traveled nine miles. The roads were very bad. * * *
Monday, 16.—I was very busy in organizing the camp on Sugar Creek, Ambrosia township, Lee county, Iowa territory, where there was plenty of timber and water.
Ten a.m., I walked up the valley with Amasa Lyman and Willard Richards where we united in prayer, and I read to them a communication received two days previously, then returned to camp and continued the organization, acting the part of a father to everybody.
The night was clear and cold. Two companies met this evening in the Temple and prayed.
Explanation of Delay of Movements.
Tuesday, 17.—Nine-fifty a, m., all the brethren of the camp assembled near the bridge, when I arose in a wagon and cried with a loud voice—’Attention! the whole Camp of Israel’. I proceeded to explain the cause of delay of the camp, which was, in short, that Bishop Whitney and Elders H. C. Kimball and Wm. Clayton were not ready, or were waiting to secure and bring with them church property needed in the camp. Some of the brethren have been here nearly two weeks, and if all had come on according to counsel, I should have been here sooner, if I had come without a shirt to my back.
Instructions on Camp Deportment.
I wish the brethren to stop running to Nauvoo, hunting, fishing, roasting their shins, idling away their time, and fix nosebaskets for their horses and save their corn, and fix comfortable places for their wives and children to ride, and never borrow without asking leave, and be sure and return what was borrowed, lest your brother be vexed with you and in his anger curse you, and then you would be cursed according to the power of the priesthood that brother possesses, and evil will come upon you. That all dogs in the camp should be killed, if the owners would not tie them up; and any man who would keep a horse in camp, that had the horse distemper, ought to forfeit all his horses. [This because horse distemper was rife in the camp and contagious.]
We will have no laws we cannot keep, but we will have order in the camp. If any want to live in peace when we have left this, they must toe the mark.
Camp Commissary Appointed.
I then called upon all who wanted to go with the camp, to raise their right hands, and all hands were up. I said we must wait here until we get the artillery, canvas, and public property; that the brethren must build a pen for corn and hay. George W. Harris was appointed commissary. That all spare men were for pioneers, guards, watchmen, and that all men of families must be organized into companies of tens, fifties, and hundreds. Wm. Clayton would be general clerk of the camp.
I requested the brethren to report all matters of history which might arise, to Willard Richards, historian.
At eleven o’clock, I returned to my tent and commenced organizing my division of the camp, consisting of four companies of tens, including the historian, his family, and teams.
Elder Heber C. Kimball arrived in camp at the same hour, and at half past one he and I dined on bean porridge in George D. Grant’s tent.
Villianous Proposition of Amos Kendall “A.G. Benson and Co.”
Two-thirty, accompanied by Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, John Taylor George A. Smith, and Willard Richards. I went up the valley east of the camp about half a mile and counseled. A letter from Samuel Brannan and a copy of an agreement between Brannan and Benson were read.
Amos Kendall, of Kentucky, who was postmaster-general from May, 1835, till May, 1840, A. G. Benson and others represented to Samuel Brannan that unless the leaders of the church would sign an agreement with them, to which the president of the United States was a silent party, the government would not permit the Latter-day Saints to proceed on their journey westward. This agreement requires the Latter-day Saints to transfer to ‘A. G. Benson and Company’ the odd number of all the land and town lots they may acquire in the country where they may settle, and in case they refuse to sign said agreement, the president would issue a proclamation that it was the intention of the Latter-day Saints to take sides with other nations against the United States, and order them to be disarmed and dispersed. Brannan becoming fully satisfied that this was the secret intention of the government, and that the president was a principal party, signed it.
Letter of Samuel Brannan on “A. G. Benson and Co.”
‘New York, Jan. 12, 1846.
Brother Young: I have written you three letters of late from Boston, Washington and New York, and I fear they have been intercepted on the way and I have thought it prudent to direct this to some obscure individual that it may reach [you] in safety; I have received positive information that it is the intention of the government to disarm you after you have taken up your line of march in the spring, on the ground of the law of nations, or the treaty existing between the United States and Mexico, ‘That an armed posse of men shall not be allowed to invade the territory of a foreign nation.
Amos Kendall was in the city last week, and positively declared that that was the intention of the government, and I thought it my duty to let you know that you might be on your guard. I declare to all that you are not going to California but Oregon, and that my information is official. Kendall has also learned that we have chartered the ship Brooklyn and that Mormons are going out in her, and it is thought that she will be searched for arms, and if found taken from us, and if not, an order will be sent to Commodore Stockton on the Pacific to search our vessel before we land.
Kendall will be in the city next Thursday again, and then an effort will be made to bring about a reconciliation. I will make you acquainted with the result before I leave. My company now numbers about one hundred and seventy-five. I chartered the whole ship, put her in the market and have already obtained one thousand dollars worth of freight for the Sandwich Islands, and a good prospect for more. I now have it in my power to learn every movement of the government in relation to us, which I shall make you acquainted with from time to time. God is at work in the east and so is the devil, but Moses’ rod will be too hard for him. I feel my weakness and inability and desire your blessing and prayers that I may be successful. My cares and labors weigh me down day and night, but I trust in God that I shall soon have a happy deliverance.
All the saints in the east are praying and crying for deliverance; but I must now close by subscribing myself, your brother in the everlasting covenant.[Signed] Samuel Brannan.’
Further Report of Samuel Brannan
New York, Jan. 26, 1846′
Dear Brother Young: I haste to lay before your honorable body the result of my movements since I wrote you last, which was from this city, stating some of my discoveries in relation to the contemplated movements of the general government, in opposition to our removal.
I had an interview with Amos Kendall in company with Mr. Benson, which resulted in a compromise, the conditions of which you will learn by reading the contract, between them and us, which I shall forward by this mail. I shall also leave a copy of the same with Elder Appleby, who was present when it was signed. Kendall is now our friend and will use his influence in our behalf in connection with twenty-five of the most prominent demagogues of the country. You will be permitted to pass out of the states unmolested. Their counsel is to go well armed, but keep them well secreted from the rabble.
I shall select the most suitable spot on the Bay of San Francisco for the location of a commercial city.
When I sail, which will be next Saturday at 1 o’clock, I shall hoist a flag with Oregon on it. Immediately on the reception of this letter you must write to Messrs. A. G. Benson [and Co.] and let them know whether you are willing to coincide with the contract I have made for our deliverance. I am aware that it is a covenant with death, but we know that God is able to break it, and will do it, the children of Israel from Egypt had to make covenants for their safety and leave it for God to break them, and the Prophet has said ‘as it was then so shall it be in the last days.’ And I have been led by a remarkable train of circumstances to say, amen—and I feel and hope you will do the same. Mr. Benson thinks the Twelve should leave and get out of the country first and avoid being arrested if it is a possible thing, but if you are arrested you will find a staunch friend in him, and you will find friends, and that a host, to deliver you from their hands—if any of you are arrested, don’t be tried west of the Allegheny Mountains. In the east you will find friends that you little think of. It is the prayer of the saints in the east night and day for your safety and it is mine first in the morning and the last in the evening. I must now bring my letter to a close. Mr. Benson’s address is No. 39 South Street—and the sooner you can give him an answer the better it will be for us. He will spend one month in Washington to sustain you—and he will do it, no mistake. But everything must be kept as silent as death on our part—names of the parties in particular. I now commit this sheet to the post praying that Israel’s God may prevent it from falling into the hands of wicked men. You will hear from me again on the day of sailing if it is the Lord’s will. Amen.
A friend and brother in God’s Kingdom,[Signed] Samuel Brannan.’
‘New York, Jan. 27th.
Brother Young: Your letter confirming the contract I have made, which I directed you to address to A. G. Benson, must be written to me, and on the outside addressed to A. G. Benson and all will go well.
Yours very respectfully in haste,[Signed] S. Brannan.’
The following is a copy of a contract entered into between A. G. Benson of New York for Amos Kendall and others of one part, and Samuel Brannan of the other, done at the city of New York, previous to the ship Brooklyn sailing for California.
“Contract” Between “A G. Benson and Co.,” and Samuel Brannan
‘Whereas, the Latter-day Saints generally known under the name of Mormons, though devotedly attached to the principles on which the government of the United States and of the several states are founded, have become satisfied that owing to the prejudices against them which designing men have created in the minds of the great mass of the community, who do not appreciate their character, nor understand their designs, they cannot, under the jurisdiction of any of the present states, enjoy the privileges and security which their constitutions and laws promise to all sects and creeds.
And whereas, they have resolved to seek for liberty and security beyond the jurisdiction of the states, and under the fostering care of the United States, within their territories, not doubting that in becoming a nucleus on the shores of the Pacific, around which a new state shall grow up, constituted of a people, who, from their more intimate knowledge of them will be free from those prejudices, which now drive them into exile, thereby affording them peace and security, the only boons they ask at the hands of man, and
Whereas, it is their earnest desire to depart in peace, and reach their future homes, without that molestation on their pilgrimage which the government of the United States might, under a misapprehension as to their designs, feel themselves called upon to offer; and whereas, A. G. Benson states that he has it in his power to correct any misrepresentations which may be made to the president of United States, and prevent any authorized interference with them on their journey, and also to extend to them facilities for emigration, especially by sea, and afford them great commercial facilities and advantages at their new homes; wherefore,
It is covenanted and agreed between A. G. Benson aforesaid, on behalf of himself and such as he may hereafter associate with him on the one part, and Samuel Brannan, for and in behalf of the Latter-day Saints, by their principal men, duly authorized on the other part, that the said———shall take the necessary steps to guard the said Latter-day Saints against the effects of misapprehension, and prevent interference with them, by the officers or agents of the United States, on their journey westward, and shall, as far as in his power, facilitate trade with them in their new settlement, and promote emigration, to strengthen them there; and on the part of the said———for and on behalf of the Latter-day Saints aforesaid, it is covenanted and agreed that, in case the said saints shall be enabled to reach their new homes without molestation from the government of the United States, and they or any of them shall acquire lands from the said United States or from any other source, then one-half of the said lands shall belong and be conveyed to the said Benson, and those whom by written contract, he may have associated with him, his and their heirs and assigns, said lands if not surveyed to be held in common until a survey shall be made when they shall be ipso facto divided by alternate sections, the odd numbers belonging to the said Latter-day Saints, and the even numbers belonging to the said Benson and his associates; but if surveyed they shall be divided by sections, half sections, quarter sections, or otherwise, so as to carry into effect this agreement in its true nature and intent; and if the said saints or any of them, or the said Brannan or any of his associates, assigns or heirs shall within ten years, lay off and establish any city or cities, town or towns on the lands acquired by them or any of them, each alternate lot in said cities and towns, shall belong and be conveyed to the said———and his associates and assigns as hereinbefore stipulated by the said Brannan, that the said saints shall exert all their lawful authority and influence to prevent the imposition of any tax on the vacant lands held by said———, his associates and assigns, so long as they use due diligence to settle the same, or any higher tax upon vacant city and town lots held by him and them, than shall be imposed on vacant lots held by resident citizens.
And it is further stipulated and agreed by the said Brannan in behalf of said Latter-day Saints, that they shall not in any manner on their journey, or after their arrival in the west, violate the laws or Constitution of the United States, it being hereby solemnly declared by him, that their dearest object, and most earnest desire is to enjoy for themselves, their wives, children and neighbors, of whatever religion or political faith, the protection which that Constitution and those laws promise to all men of whatever creed.
Witness our hands and seals at the city of New York on the——day of January, 1846.[Signed] Samuel Brannan, A. G. Benson.
Witness; W. I. Appleby.’
‘This is only a copy of the original which I have filled out. It is no gammon but will be carried through if you say, amen—it was drawn up by Kendall’s own hand—but no person must be known but Mr. Benson.’
Samuel Brannan urged upon the council the necessity of signing the document.
The council considered the subject, and concluded that as our trust was in God and that we looked to him for protection, we would not sign any such unjust and oppressive agreement.
This was a plan of political demagogues to rob the Latter-day Saints of millions and compel them to submit to it, by threats of federal bayonets.
This evening was severely cold.
Thirty elders met in the Temple for prayer in two companies.
Instructions to the “Pioneer Company.”
Wednesday, 18.—I called the brethren together and instructed the captains of hundreds to raise money in their respective companies and send for cloth for tent ends and wagon covers; and informed the Pioneer Company that it would be their duty to prepare roads, look out camp grounds, dig wells, when necessary, and ascertain where hay and corn could be purchased for the camp; that if the brethren could not bring their minds to perfect order, they had better leave the camp and I would have no feelings against them; that after dark no man must leave the camp without the countersign, nor approach the guard abruptly; that every family must call on the Lord night and morning at every tent or wagon, and we shall have no confidence in the man who does not; that the police would be night and day guard; that every captain of ten would keep one man on watch every night; that Benjamin F. Johnson be authorized to receive and preserve for the owners all the lost property found; and that when I wanted to see the brethren together, a white flag should be hoisted, and that when the captains are wanted together a blue or colored flag should be raised; the captains of hundreds were instructed to form their companies in circles, without the circle surrounding the stand; Captain Hosea Stout formed the police; Captain Stephen Markham the Pioneers,
Elder Parley P. Pratt called out the companies of the Twelve. Captain Wm. Pitt called out the musicians. Captains George Miller, Shadrach Roundy, Charles C, Rich, Charles Shumway, Peter Haws, Samuel Bent, and Daniel Spencer called out their respective companies.
Those not organized were instructed to join the Pioneers, and all to organize into companies of tens.
I told the brethren they were the best set of fellows in the world, still there was a great chance for improvement: I blessed them in the name of the Lord.
Twelve-twenty p.m., Lyman O. Littlefield called on me in company with Dr. Clayton Tiffin of St. Louis, who was baptized last evening at Nauvoo, and wanted counsel.
I counseled Dr. Tiffin to meet the camp on the Missouri in April, bringing groceries principally.
The artillery was brought into camp in charge of Colonel John Scott, two six-pounders, one three-pounder and one short twelve-pounder carronade [cannon].
Elder Kimball, myself and a few others returned to Nauvoo: the night was moderate.
Twenty-four elders met for prayer in the Temple.
Thursday, 19.—From Dr. Richards’ Camp Journal:
A Fierce Storm.
‘The wind blew steadily from the northwest accompanied by snow which fell to the depth of seven or eight inches, but much thawed as it fell, the storm was unceasing, and the evening was very cold, which caused much suffering in the camp, for there were many who had no tents or any comfortable place to lodge: many tents were blown down, some of them were unfinished and had no ends.
Twenty-five elders met for prayer in the Temple. Elders Phineas Richards and Curtis E. Bolton were mouth.
Friday, Roman 20.——the historian’s Camp Journal:
‘Extremely cold, considerable ice floating on the Mississippi river.
About fifteen hundred bushels of tithing corn which had previously been gathered up in Lee county, together with a large amount of potatoes, turnips, and other vegetables and grain had been mostly consumed by the camp.
Dr. Richards was sick in bed with a severe cough, and at one p.m. invited Elders Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, Amasa Lyman, and Bishop George Miller to his tent; the council voted to purchase three hundred bushels of corn of Wm. Leffingwell and one yoke of oxen of Wm. Hawkes. The cold increased through the day, the night was very severe, at many points ice fastened on the banks of the Mississippi river.’
Twenty-five elders met in the Temple and prayed. Elders Franklin D. and Samuel W. Richards were mouth.
Saturday, 21.—From the Camp Journal:
‘Cold continues. Two-thirty p.m., Elders Orson Pratt, Amasa Lyman, George A. Smith, George Miller and Albert P. Rockwood in council in the historian’s tent.
Camp Provisions Secured.
Elder Willard Richards proposed that Bishop Miller assisted by Elder Charles C, Rich purchase five hundred or more bushels of corn and procure hay and straw to any amount—that Captain Stephen Markham of the Pioneers cause all the tithing wheat and rye at Ambrosia tithing office, and one hundred bushels of corn, to be ground immediately, and report to the council; that one load of wheat in care of David Dixon be ground and reported, and that John Scott cause the wheat in care of Captain Davis to be carried to the Buonaparte mills, floured and stored until further orders; also that the brethren meet at ten a.m. and at 4 p.m. on each day until President Young returns, to all of these propositions the council agreed unanimously.
The day was pleasant but the cold severe; the saints in camp were patient, and endured all their privations without murmuring.’
Twelve elders met in the Temple for prayer, Wm. Felshaw was mouth.
The Settling Temple Floor—Confusion—Hysteria.
Sunday, 22.—I attended meeting at the Temple, the room was crowded and a great weight caused the new truss floor to settle nearly to its proper position. While settling, an inch-board or some light timber underneath was caught and cracked, the sound of which created great alarm in the congregation and some jumped out of the windows, smashing the glass and all before them. Philo Farnsworth smashed the northeast window while others ran out of the doors and many of those who remained jumped up and down with all their might crying Oh! Oh!! Oh!!! as though they could not settle the floor fast enough, but at the same time so agitated that they knew not what they did.
I attempted to call the assembly to order to explain the cause of the settling of the floor, but failing to get their attention I adjourned the meeting to the grove. I went below, examined the floor and found it had hardly settled to its designed position, passed on to the assembly in the grove where the snow was about a foot deep, and told the people they might jump up and down as much as they pleased.
One man who jumped out of the window broke his arm and mashed his face, another broke his leg; both were apostates.
Afternoon, Elders Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor and I started for the camp; the ice was running in the river so there was no possibility of crossing only with a skiff which we accomplished with difficulty and danger, the skiff being very heavily laden, and arrived at camp at 7 o’clock.
From the [Camp] Journal:
‘Ten a.m., Elders Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, Amasa Lyman and Willard Richards, in council.
Bishop Miller reported that he had purchased two hundred and fifteen baskets of corn.
Voted that Elder George A. Smith have a milk cow, which he had obtained on tithing, that Brother Thomas Grover have ropes to tie his oxen, and that Brothers Rockwood and Lee examine a load of tin belonging to Pulaski Cahoon and purchase such, as quality and prices would warrant, and raise forty or fifty dollars to send for such articles of tinware as were needed by the camp.
General Charles C. Rich reported that he had procured three hundred and fifty bushels of corn mostly on tithing.
Lucien Woodworth stated to the council that he could probably obtain five hundred bushels of corn, besides potatoes and other provisions, among the brethren in the vicinity, by donation: the council delegated to him that mission.
Voted that the brethren be lectured on domestic economy that the guard he instructed to lay aside their heavy arms during the day, that the Pioneer Company burn charcoal and that the blacksmiths and wagon makers organize and prepare for their several duties in the camp.
One p.m., the brethren came together at the raising of the flag. Elders Orson Pratt and Amasa Lyman lectured on the health, comfort, success, peace, prosperity and salvation of the camp.
Four p.m., the council convened as in the morning with the addition of Elder Parley P. Pratt.
Resolved that the second hundred bushels of corn be prepared for mill on the return of the meal of the first—that Bishop George Miller authorize Captain John Scott, of the artillery to gather provisions on tithing; that Parley P. Pratt and Amasa Lyman have leave to go tomorrow to the Clark Settlement for oxen, corn and provisions, etc.’
Twenty-five elders met for prayer in the Temple.
Monday, 23.—I met in council with the Twelve and captains of hundreds as to moving the camp.
We agreed to pass up the divide between the waters of the Des Moines and Missouri rivers.
Henry G. Sherwood was appointed Pioneer Commissary to obtain grain and provisions for the camp.
Captain Stephen Markham was instructed to send a company of Pioneers to find a camping ground between Sugar Creek Encampment and Bonaparte Mills.
Captain Samuel Bent was instructed to move his company, consisting of twenty-five wagons, in the morning.
Several guns were discharged in and about the camp. During the council Benjamin Stewart came up to the tent fire of the guards, caught up a large pistol and discharged it across the fire; it contained three small rifle balls which entered the left thigh of Abner Blackburn, son of Anthony Blackburn, two balls passed out the opposite side and one hit the bone and passed down remaining in the leg.
Evening, the Pioneers returned and reported a good camping ground ten miles from this, and corn plenty at 18 3/4 cents; 12 3/4 cents being the market price at Sugar Creek and Montrose.
Prospectus of The Hancock Eagle—”The New Order of Things”
W. E. Matlock issued the prospectus of the Hancock Eagle [Nauvoo], from which I extract the following:
‘Our object in commencing the publication at this juncture, is to anticipate the new order of things which will inevitably result from the changes now taking place in the civil, ecclesiastical, and domestic polity of this large city and the country adjacent.
Nauvoo and its immediate suburbs, until recently, contained over 15,000 inhabitants—the greater part of whom were known as ‘Mormons’—of these, some two or three thousand have already left together with an equal number from the country. A majority of those remaining, will, in due season depart upon their pilgrimage towards the setting sun. The high council is dissolved, and the church organization has been entirely broken up to be reestablished, we opine, in some distant region whose waters flow into the Pacific Ocean. The Twelve with their thousands of followers have abandoned their Temple and their city; with them, goes all that the enemies of Mormonism regard as inimical to the genius of our institutions and the well being of the community at large.’
Twenty-eight elders met for prayer in the Temple.
Tuesday, 24.—A son was born to John Redding in camp.
The cold has been severe the past night, a snowstorm this morning which continued during the forenoon, blowing from the northwest, which prevented Captain Bent’s Company from moving; the cold was severe through the day and increased as night approached.
I was busy in unloading, weighing and loading my wagons preparatory to a removal.
I handed out to many of the brethren cloth for tent ends and wagon covers.
Evening, I met with Elders Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards at his [the latter’s] tent, to investigate some disaffection which existed between Bishop Miller and the guards which proved to be a misunderstanding.
Seven p.m., thermometer 12 degrees below zero, Fah. Mississippi river frozen over above Montrose.
Twenty-five elders met for prayer in the Temple in two companies.
Wednesday, 25.—The morning was colder than any one since the encampment, but the sun rose clear, the whole camp appeared cheerful and happy.
Nine a.m., the blast of the bugle and the raising of the flag called the brethren together.
Prospects of Camp Employment.
‘President Young stated to the assembly that he had been informed by Bishop Miller, that jobs of chopping cord wood and splitting rails could be obtained to advantage by the brethren on the Desmoines river, at, and above Farmington; Bishop Miller said, that he had received his information from Mr. Crook, a merchant of Farmington. President Young asked, shall we go where we can get work? when the brethren responded in the affirmative, then, said the President, we will browse our cattle till Bishop Whitney comes up.
Irregularities in Camp Life.
President Young then spoke against thieving, cutting strings from wagon covers, and said the brethren had gone contrary to counsel in cutting rail timber, etc., on the camp ground and they must stop all such practices; that they had not made him their leader of the camp as yet, but if they should do it, when they get out of the settlements where his orders could be executed, they would have justice done them, and, said he, I should be perfectly willing to see thieves have their throats cut; some of you may say, if that is your feelings Brigham, we’ll lay you aside sometime, well, do it if you can; I would rather die by the hands of the meanest of all men, false brethren, than to live among thieves. He then called upon the captains of companies to report those who were most destitute and he would divide among them the corn and oats he had brought for horse feed; there is no need of stealing, if one suffers we will all suffer, this great ‘I’ and little ‘you’, I cannot bear, if the guard consider the Twelve as privileged characters they must consider the high council also, and if the high council, the high priests, etc., and we should all be privileged characters; and what is the use of any guard? None at all. When I want to pass the guard I will go to the sergeant and get the password, and I want all the brethren to do the same. Let no man crowd upon the guard and let the guard know no man as a privileged character.
President Young retired from the meeting and went to distributing his grain among the needy.’
About eleven a, m., Captain Charles C. Rich arrived from Nauvoo and reported that he had walked over the Mississippi river on the ice at Montrose.
Seven a.m., thermometer at 6° Fah. ; one p.m., thermometer 18° Fah. Latitude of the Camp of Israel by a meridian observation of the sun taken by Professor Orson Pratt this day was 40° 31′ 50″, longitude 91° 16′ 0″.
Bishop George Miller with about sixteen wagons and thirty or forty Pioneers started for the Des Moines.
At seven p. m., thermometer stood 10° Fah.
Captain Samuel J. Hastings—Pathfinder of the West.
This afternoon, Captain Samuel J. Hastings arrived from Boston and in the evening was in council with the Twelve at the recorder’s office, Dr. Richards’ tent; when Mr. Hastings answered our queries in a previous letter by stating that he would take emigrants from New York, Boston and the Atlantic cities to California and the western coast generally for $150.00 including provisions; that from New Orleans there would be an additional expense of about $4000 for every two hundred passengers and to enter the Columbia river there would be an additional expense of about five per cent. Mr. Hastings received a letter of introduction from the council to the Trustees at Nauvoo. He retired in my tent about 11 o’clock.
Two companies of elders met and prayed in the Temple, thirty present.
Thursday, 26.—Six-thirty a. m,, thermometer stood at 2° below zero, Fah.
The weather being so cold it was not considered prudent to remove the tents of families as had been contemplated.
John Gool let Thomas Grover, whose oxen were drowned on the 9th, have a span of horses and wagon to help him forward to be returned from the journey’s end. This morning John Gool’s wife came into camp and demanded the team; I tried to persuade her that it would be loss to her to take away the team under existing circumstances; but she persisted in her demand and took the team and drove off: I told Brother Grover to trust in the Lord.
Dr. Levi and Samuel W. Richards arrived in camp about eleven a.m. on a visit.
The trustees, Babbitt. Heywood and Fullmer arrived about noon.
The historian has been mostly confined to his bed since his arrival in camp, with a severe cough, and unable to write, but has dictated the Camp Journal from his pillow for the pen of Wm. Coray, scribe, since the 17th inst.
About noon, someone presented Brother Grover with a team.
Mr. Prentice, U. S. marshal, and several of the governor’s troops from Carthage, came into camp and inquired for a grey horse which they said was stolen from McDonough county two weeks previously; that they had traced the horse to within six miles of Nauvoo and had caught the thief in Nauvoo but he was not a Mormon.
An Appeal to be Made to the Governor of Iowa.
In the evening I met in council with Elders Orson Pratt, John Taylor and Willard Richards in my tent and decided to write to the governor of Iowa and ascertain his views about the saints stopping on the public land in Iowa to raise a crop this season; read the prospectus of the Hancock Eagle; also the New York Messenger Extra, which gave an account of the sailing of the Brooklynwith Elder Samuel Brannan and company of two hundred and thirty souls, or one hundred and seventy-five passengers.
The sky was clear in the forenoon, in the afternoon cloudy, and the wind veering to the southeast. Six p.m., thermometer 10° above zero, Fah.
George A. Smith went to Nauvoo.
Twenty-three elders met for prayer in the Temple.
Friday, 27.—Six a.m., thermometer 5° above zero, Fah.
This morning Captain Albert P. Rockwood slaughtered a fine ox which had been sprained, and distributed it amongst the most needy of the camp.
James Wallace came into camp and thought he ought to have pay for the timber which the brethren had cut; he was willing to leave it to them what the timber was worth.
Over the Mississippi on the Ice.
William Clayton arrived at three thirty p.m.; having crossed the Mississippi with his teams on the ice.
The sky was clouded through the day, the wind in the southeast and very chilly, and towards night a little fine hail fell; the camp generally healthy and happy,
Six p. m., 21° above zero, Fah.
Brother McKee protested my order for corn to the amount of $15.00, which he promised to the camp yesterday; when the teams called for the corn this morning, McKee told them he had concluded to keep the corn to help off the poor with, which caused the teams in camp to be fed on five ears of corn each.
Eleven elders met for prayer in the Temple.
Saturday, 28.—Six a.m., thermometer 20° above zero, Fah. Wind variable, changing toward the north.
Some of the Pioneers, Daniel Spencer, Charles Shumway, and part of Captain Bent’s Company moved on four miles.
I met in council with the Twelve in my tent. We read and approved the following to the governor of Iowa:—
Communication to the Governor of Iowa
To His Excellency,
Governor of the Territory of Iowa,
Honored Sir: The time is at hand, in which several thousand free citizens of this great Republic, are to be driven from their peaceful homes and firesides, their property and farms, and their dearest constitutional rights—to wander in the barren plains, and sterile mountains of western wilds, and linger out their lives in wretched exile far beyond the pale of professed civilization; or else be exterminated upon their own lands by the people, and authorities of the state of Illinois. As life is sweet we have chosenbanishment rather than death. But Sir, the terms of our banishment are so rigid that we have not sufficient time allotted us to make the necessary preparations to encounter the hardships and difficulties of those dreary and uninhabited regions. We have not time allowed us to dispose of our property, dwellings, and farms, consequently, many of us will have to leave them unsold, without the means of procuring the necessary provisions, clothing, teams, etc. to sustain us but a short distance beyond the settlements: hence our persecutors have placed us in very unpleasant circumstances.
To stay, is death by ‘fire and sword’, to go into banishment unprepared, is death by starvation. But yet under these heart-rending circumstances, several hundreds of us have started upon our dreary journey, and are now encamped in Lee county, Iowa, suffering much from the intensity of the cold. Some of us are already without food, and others barely sufficient to last a few weeks: hundreds of others must shortly follow us in the same unhappy condition.
Therefore, we, the Presiding Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a committee in behalf of several thousand suffering exiles, humbly ask your Excellency to shield and protect us in our constitutional rights, while we are passing through the territory over which you have jurisdiction. And should any of the exiles be under the necessity of stopping in this territory for a time, either in the settled or unsettled parts, for the purpose of raising crops, by renting farms or upon the public lands, or to make the necessary preparations for their exile in any lawful way, we humbly petition your Excellency to use an influence and power in our behalf: and thus preserve thousands of American citizens, together with their wives and children from intense sufferings, starvation and death.
And your petitioners will ever pray.’
Three-thirty p.m., I rode out two or three miles in company with several of the council and the band, and met Bishop Whitney, saluted him and returned.
I was so afflicted with the rheumatism it was with difficulty I could walk.
Bishop Whitney arrived in camp about 4:30.
Some of the brethren were engaged this day in building a log house to pay James Wallace for his wood which the camp had burned on his claim.
Noon, thermometer 41° above zero Fah., six p.m., thermometer 21° above zero Fah.
Shortage of Teams.
The camp consisted of nearly four hundred wagons all very heavily loaded with not over one-half of the teams necessary to make a rapid journey. Most of the families were provided with provisions for several months. A considerable number, regardless of counsel, had started in a destitute condition, and some others, with only provisions for a few days.
Colonel Stephen Markham had about one hundred Pioneers to prepare the road in advance of the main body.
Colonel Hosea Stout with about one hundred men acted as police for the encampment; they were generally armed with rifles.
Colonel John Scott with about one hundred men accompanied the artillery.
A considerable number of the teams were to be returned as soon is in encampment could be selected for putting in spring crops; others expected to return as soon as the loads of provisions and forage which they hauled were exhausted.
Our encampment on Sugar Creek has had a tendency to check the movements of the mob, as they were generally of opinion, that our fit nut was so insufficient that in a short time we would break to pieces and scatter.
President Young’s Reflections.
The great severity of the weather and not being able to sell any of our property, the difficulty of crossing the river during many days of running ice all combined to delay our departure, though for several days the bridge of ice across the Mississippi greatly facilitated the crossing and compensated, in part, for the delay caused by the running ice.
The fact is worthy of remembrance that several thousand persons left their homes in midwinter and exposed themselves without shelter, except that afforded by a scanty supply of tents and wagon covers, to a cold which effectually made an ice bridge over the Mississippi river which at Nauvoo is more than a mile broad. We could have remained sheltered in our homes had it not been for the threats and hostile demonstrations of our enemies, who, notwithstanding their solemn agreements had thrown every obstacle in our way, not respecting either life, liberty or property, so much so, that our only means of avoiding a rupture was by starting in midwinter.
Our homes, gardens, orchards, farms, streets, bridges, mills, public halls, magnificent Temple, and other public improvements we leave as a monument of our patriotism, industry, economy, uprightness of purpose and integrity of heart; and as a living testimony of the falsehood and wickedness of those who charge us with disloyalty to the Constitution of our country, idleness and dishonesty.”