George Q. Cannon, "Topics of the Times," Juvenile Instructor, 15 December 1883, 377.
View this source online
- Source Locations
- Church History Library, M205.1 I59 v. 1-64 1866-1929
- Related Companies
- Edward Hunter/Joseph Horne Company (1847)
Topics of the Times
By the Editor
The editorial remarks which I have just read respecting the life and character of Charles C. Rich have aroused a flood of recollection in my own mind concerning him, which to me are of the most interesting character. Though I am away from home on public business, and am prevented from taking part in his funeral obsequies, fortunately I can write for my juvenile friends some few thoughts concerning a man, whose example is worthy of their imitation. Charles C. Rich and myself were not only brethren and fellow-laborers, but we were united in the tenderest ties of friendship. Probably out-side of his own family no one now living had a better opportunity of knowing him than I had. I count it as the most happy feature of my life, next to the privilege of receiving the gospel, to have had such associations as I have formed with the leading men of this Church. For while it has been my privilege to meet and become acquainted with many leading men of the world--men who are prominent in various walks of life--especially in our nation--there being but few political leaders of national reputation with whom I have not a personal acquaintance--I take the greatest pleasure in saying to my young readers that I have never known, whether individually or collectively, men of such perfect characters--great and perfect in all the qualities which constitute true manhood, as the leading men of the Church. General Thomas L. Kane, himself and excellent judge of men, and of varied acquaintance and experience among leading men of this and other lands, remarked to me not long ago, in speaking of President Young and the Twelve Apostles, as he knew them in early life, that they were the bravest men he ever knew, and as he characteristically added, "I am a judge of the article pluck when I see it." Conspicuous among them has stood Brother Charles C. Rich. Among steadfast, brave and kind men he was noted for his caution, bravery, steadfastness and kindness; among men of simplicity of character, of honesty, of sound judgment and of deep conscientiousness he was remarkable for the eminent possession of those qualities; in none of these excellencies of character did he come behind the most favored of his brethren.
My attention was fist drawn to him when I was a boy at Nauvoo. I had heard and read of his conduct in Missouri--that he had been shot at while bearing a flag of truce, and that he was both feared and hated by the mob for his activity and courage. He was then a prominent officer of the Legion, and among other illustrious men whom I had learned to revere, I admired him. He was then in the full bloom of life, between thirty and thirty-five years of age, six feet in hight, and, in his uniform, he looked the perfection of physical manhood. But it was not till after we left Nauvoo that I felt that he knew me well enough to admit of my speaking to him. Our acquaintance was made more familiar through an accident which occurred on the Platte river, in the Summer of 1847, while on our journey from Winter Quarters to the valley. It became necessary one day for the company in which I was traveling to pass through the line of General Rich's company. My team, which I had left standing while I went back to assist some of the other teams in crossing a difficult place, started on, and the point of the hub of the wagon I drove struck the rim of the wheel on one of Brother Rich's wagons and broke the axle-tree. I ran up in time to see what had been done, but not in time to prevent the damage. An axle-tree in that timberless region, and under those circumstances, was worth more than gold. I was exceedingly sorry, and bore patiently without any attempt at justification the reproof which Brother Rich gave me. The captain of our fifty (Orson Horne) told me to drive on, while he stayed behind to do what he could to repair the injury. Brother Rich was put to great inconvenience to get a new axle-tree; but by Captain Horne he sent to me his regrets for the manner in which he had spoken to me. He had learned that I was not so much to blame as appearances would indicate, and felt that he had spoken too harshly; but I thought I deserved all he said, and more too, for leaving my team in such a position where it could do such mischief. Though I was but a boy, he was too much of a gentleman to give me what he considered an undeserved reproof without making an apology.