Young, Joseph W., "Correspondence of Elder Joseph W. Young," The Mormon, 4 July 1857, 3.
NEW YORK, June 29, 1857.
EDITOR MORMON—Dear Sir: Having just arrived from Great Salt Lake City, I have thought that a few items would not be uninteresting to you, and the numerous readers of your valuable paper. I left Utah on the 23d of April in company with seventy Elders, on missions to Europe, the United States and other countries. We had a very pleasant trip across the plains, and arrived at Florence, Nebraska, May 10th, all in good health. The particulars of the journey, Elder Mackintosh gives in his report.
On the 11th of June, my cousin Brigham H. Young, and I left Florence for Iowa City. On the 12th of June, we met Bro. Israel Evans and Benjamin Ashbey [Ashby], 21 miles east of Bluffs City, with the first hand-cart company of emigrants en route for Great Salt Lake City. They were all in good health, and in first-rate spirits. They were provided with mule teams to haul their extra provisions, and were traveling from fifteen to twenty miles per day. We had only a few moments to stay with them as the stage would not wait for us.
We met the first company of ox teams, under the presidency of Elder Jesse Martin, four miles west of Fort Des Moines, on the 13th, and as the stage stopped over night at that place, we improved the opportunity of visiting with the Saints, for a short time. Elder Martin called the camp together and we had the pleasure of speaking to the Saints, after which the sisters sang several of the sweet songs of Zion, which was very refreshing to us, after having had for two days and nights, our ears outraged by a continual air of profanity. After blessing the Saints and being blest by them, we bade them goodbye and continued our journey.
About noon of May 14th, some hundred and twenty-five miles from Iowa City, we met the New York company, Bros. Jacob Hofheins and G. J. Taylor in charge. They also were in first-rate health and spirits, had splendid teams and wagons, and were making good headway. We stopped only a few moments with them, just long enough to learn their condition, and to tell them that all was right in Utah.
We arrived at Iowa City on the 15th, met the last hand-cart company ten miles from the city, also the Danish company of teams close behind them, the former under the presidency of Elders James Park, Dilley and Geo. Thurston, and the latter under that of Elder M. Cowley.
They were all in first-rate condition and judging from what we could see they will have a speedy and prosperous journey. The hand-cart company was fitted up as well as it is possible to fit up a company in that way, and having had experience in that mode of traveling, I feel safe in predicting that they will make the trip quicker than any ox train has ever done.
Elders J. A. [James Amasa] Little and Wm. G. [William Goodall] Young, have fitted up this emigration, and I bare testimony that they have spared no labor in making the Saints comfortable. Elder Young was very busy preparing to start out his baggage train which closes this year's emigration.
We spent two days with him, and the few Saints composing his company, then took our departure for New York, and they left for the valleys of the mountains. Thus we have seen all the emigration for this year on the move.
My feelings were very peculiar when parting with my brother William at Iowa, and the kind Saints with him. They are on their way to the peaceable valleys of Jacob, where all that is dear to me on the earth dwell; wife, children, parents, friends, and the Saints of God, all, all, I love is there. But, with me, how different; my lot is to be cast among strangers, in strange lands to suffer the abuse and derision of those who despise the truth, that through faith, patience, and endurance I may persuade some to be saved.
A word about Utah and the people there, and I will close. I find a great many reports in the papers with regard to "War with The Mormons," "Brigham Young in rebellion against the General Government," "Danite Band," "Murder," "Corruptions," &c.
Now, Mr. Editor, I happen to know something of affairs in Utah, and as one of her citizens I have a right to speak. In regard to war, I will say that The Mormons are making no calculations for any such business, nor are they making any preparations for such a contingency, further than those which the law requires of every State and Territory, viz: that of organizing the militia.
Brigham Young is not in rebellion against the General Government, nor has he ever been. True, he is down on the acts of certain corrupt scoundrels, and is the enemy of wickedness and oppression; furthermore, when he ceases to be such a man as he now is, I cease to be his friend. He is the friend of mankind, the friend of the oppressed and down-trodden, the friend of truth, justice, virtue, and every thing that is God-like, and the enemy of lies, vice, corruption, and wickedness, where-ever it may be found, whether in high or low places. And that man who says to the contrary is, in scripture phraseology, "a liar and the truth is not in him."
There is no such thing in Utah as a "Danite Band." Every true-hearted man is a friend to his brother, and will not see his right infringed upon with impunity. Does any honest man see aught amiss in that principle?
Who has been killed by The Mormons? No one. But every murder that has been committed by the Indians between the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean is charged upon The Mormons, and Brigham Young must, or course, be at the bottom of it all. I wonder if ever runaway judges, disappointed politicians and newspaper correspondents have read that passage of scripture which says "cursed is he that loveth and maketh a lie."
How can a people be so very corrupt who do not get drunk, who do not pro fane the name of God, who are honest and upright in all their dealings, who marry their wives, support them and make them honorable in the eyes of God and all good men, who educate their children and teach them the fear of God, who look upon the marriage vow as being the most sacred of earthly ties, and who prize virtue more than life?
If this nation wish to purify the morals of the people, and put down infamy and corruption, I would suggest that they begin in New York city, where they bawl so much against Utah. I do most positively assert that I have seen more drunkenness, heard more swearing, and seen more fighting, in one evening in this city, than I ever saw in Utah, and I was one of her first settlers.
I testify that the people in Utah are a good people, a law-abiding people, and that they love the institutions of their country as dearly as any people in these United States. Brigham Young will resign the Governorship of Utah without a word when his successor is appointed, and there is no possible chance of any collision between The Mormons and the General Government, unless President Jas. Buchanan should appoint some hot-headed, blood-thirsty fool as Governor of Utah, who will go beyond all law, all reason, and all good sense, and attempt to rule the people with a high hand. If such a thing should ever take place, let me here say that such a man will find the same spirit in Utah that actuated the citizens of Boston, when a certain power attempted to force them to a tame submission of its will, and he will also find that the same God helps the oppressed that sustained our fathers in their struggle for freedom.
With kind regards for you, and goodwill towards all lovers of truth,
Your Brother in the Gospel of Christ,
J. W. YOUNG