"Hand-Cart Emigration," The Mormon, 13 Sept. 1856, 2.
- Related Companies
- Company Unknown (1856)
IT will be seen by several late communications that the emigrants are successfully progressing on their route for the valley of the Salt Lake Basin.
It is exceedingly gratifying for us to learn that the hand-cart system is so successful, and that the parties engaged in it are in such good health and spirits. It is a new mode of travel to the Saints, and we believe also to any other persons. It is true that one or two individuals have gone through to California in this way; but they were strong, able-bodied men, whilst these are men, women, and children—weak and strong, the old and the young—who are at the present time literally, by their own exertions, pushing their way out, thus fulfilling the words of the Prophet Jeremiah:
"For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God; and behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together; a great company shall return thither."
We had, as we expressed at first, considerable apprehensions as to the feasibility of so many women and children adopting this mode of transit, and the principal relief, to our mind, was, that in the event of sickness, weakness, or any other impediment, they would, for the first part of their journey, be in the neighborhood of inhabitants, where they could either rest or stay, according to circumstances; and we considered that as the distance from Iowa City to the city of Florence, the place of their final debarkation for the plains, was about 200 or 270 miles, that before their arrival at the latter place they would have fairly tested their strength and the applicability of the hand-cart system, as it was our opinion that this would be the heaviest part of their journey. We are, therefore, exceedingly glad to find that they are succeeding so well, and are in the enjoyment of such good health and spirits. It is true that there are some staying; this we might naturally expect; but there are not so many of this class as we anticipated. We see by some remarks of our correspondence a disposition to reflect upon those who have tarried; this may be correct, in some instances, but it is not well, in such cases, to be too censorious; all men and women do not possess the power of endurance alike; and where people find their bodily strength give way, we should not blame them for tarrying, they have a legitimate reason for so doing. We are told, indeed, to hasten to the mountains as fast as circumstances will admit; but we are not told, at present; "to tarry not in all the plains lest we be consumed." We therefore say to those whose circumstances or lack of bodily strength may have constrained to tarry for a while: Attend to your duties, fear your God, and live your religion, and in due time you shall go to Zion, and all shall be well with you; for although it is exceedingly pleasant to be swift in the race, and strong in battle, yet the "race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong." Let us be on the alert to keep the council of God wherever we are, and to seek to magnify our calling, and all will be well with us, in time, and in eternity.
In a late communication from President Young, he informs us that they are making preparations to meet the companies with flour, and to assist them on their journey, thus all things are moving harmoniously, and this band, who are the first to traverse the long weary plains on foot and with hand-carts, will, having already overcome the first, and consequently the worst difficulties, speed their way quickly to the land of the west, the mountains of Israel, the Zion of our God. We feel to say in our heart God speed and bless them.