Taylor, John, "Emigration," The Mormon 26 Apr. 1856, 2.
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- Company Unknown (1856)
As the season for emigration advances, a few words from me may not be inopportune; and as I do not know the exact whereabouts of all parties appointed to take an active part in it, I take this public means of conveying a few words of counsel to all concerned.
I have been anticipating, according to the statements made, in the general epistle of the first Presidency, that some person or persons might be sent from the Valley to superintend the emigration in the West. In the absence of such persons, I have felt it a duty incumbent upon me to make all preliminary arrangements for the furtherance of the interests of the emigration; and for this purpose I made the appointments, already published in THE MORMON, a copy of which I have forwarded to President Young. I feel deeply solicitous for the welfare of the travelling Saints, and more especially am I anxious that everything shall be conducted properly, with due care and safety, and as far as may be practicable, for the comfort of those who may be going by hand-carts. It is a new project, and will require our greatest attention and vigilance. I have, according to instructions received from President Young, had the Northern route surveyed, and entered into preliminary arrangements for camp grounds at Iowa City. I am also now negotiating with parties at Florence, a new city on the western side of the Missouri river, the site of old "Winter Quarters," for ferry, storage, and other privileges on the Mississippi and other rivers; which, when consummated, I will make known.* Being directed to select a place for a settlement at, or, as near, Wood River as practicable, I have appointed Bishop Cunningham, a competent, good, and zealous man of God, to select a company to go there for this purpose. In this he will be assisted by Bro. William Kimball, so far as it does not interfere with other defined duties of the latter. I wish the settlement to be on the western boundary of the recent purchase in Nebraska, and such persons to go as can make land claims according to the provisions of the late act of Congress, which I will publish another week for their information. It will be necessary that they go prepared to fence in a large field, put in grain, make a fort, and be supplied with guns and ammunition sufficient to protect themselves against Indian depredations. As Bro. Cunningham, however, will have the Presidency of this affair, the brethren selected will, of course, be subject to his counsel. I would suggest that a sufficient number of competent men be appointed to make the station perfectly secure against depredations from without. As it regards the time of starting, the selection of the location, and other matters, I will communicate with President Cunningham. I hope, however, to be along with other brethren, to assist in establishing the location. This settlement will be a great help another year, in assisting the emigration as it will be about one hundred and twenty miles west of the Missouri river; but it can be of no avail this year.
In relation to the hand-carts, I have forwarded to Bros. Webb and Spencer President Young's instructions to me respecting this business. I hope they will be carried out as far as practicable, suggesting that great attention be paid to their strength, and that the best of seasoned timber be used. Not having been informed as to the exact numbers of the European emigration who would want hand-carts, I found it impossible to make any correct estimate as to the number that would be required. I have had a hundred made in St. Louis previous to learning the wish of others on this subject. These were made according to a schedule given by a committee of Elders who had just traversed the plains. They are a very neat article, well finished, ironed, and painted, well adapted for the purpose, and will cost about twenty dollars. Some time ago I appointed Elder George D. Grant to have another hundred made in Iowa City in a more primitive style, and without iron. These will cost about ten dollars each. Elder Grant is sanguine that they will answer the purpose. Elder Chauncey Webb is superintending the manufacture of a number more, and anticipates being able to make them for a still smaller sum. By having this variety we shall at least have a test of all.
Elder F. D. Richards, President of the European Churches, has sent out our much esteemed Bro. Daniel Spencer as his travelling agent, to attend to the financial affairs of the P. E. Fund passengers. Knowing his abilities, and being desirous that everything should harmonize in relation to emigration, I have appointed him to superintend the whole of the emigration in the West. I had previously appointed those other brethren referred to; but knowing the necessity of concentration of action, and one head to dictate, I appointed him to give direction. The brethren, therefore, will receive him in that capacity, listen to his suggestions, and carry out his plans.
I would further recommend that a constant intercourse be kept up with Bro. Spencer by the different parties employed in this business, that he may be thoroughly posted in relation to all matters, so that no delay may be occasioned; but that as the passengers arrive at the place of outfit, they may immediately proceed on their journey. He will confer with me from time to time.
There is more loss, unpleasantness, and sickness occasioned by detention than perhaps by any other thing. I wish the passengers, on their arrival at the place of outfitting, to be prepared to start the next day, or, in a day or two, at furthest.
Elder N. H. Felt started to Boston on the 18th inst., for the purpose of assisting the passengers expected on the "Enoch Train," and making all necessary arrangements for the continuation of their journey. They come by New York, as I am enabled to make better arrangements for the West direct by this route than by that of Boston.
As I am informed by President Richards, from time to time, of the sailing of vessels, I shall immediately communicate with Bro. Spencer, so that he may be duly informed in relation to the general movements, and be enabled to make arrangements accordingly.
Praying that God may bless you, brethren, in all your laudable exertions for the welfare of Zion; that you may be blessed with union, energy, faith, and power, to bring to a successful and happy issue your present labors, and return to the bosoms of your families in peace,