I wish to say a few words before this meeting is dismissed, upon the
subject of the Big Cottonwood Canal. I have been along the line of the
canal, more or less, during nearly every day of the last week, and I
will say, for the gratification of the Bishops and brethren present,
that I think they have done extremely well. A great many men have
labored on that canal during the past week, and had it not been for
faith, or the Spirit of the Lord upon them, many might have sunk with
fatigue, for they looked as though they would faint; but they have
labored faithfully. What was absolutely necessary to be done a week
ago today could have been done in one week, if all the labor could
have been judiciously applied, and the portion we desired to finish
this season would have now been completed. But such drawbacks will
occur, when time cannot be previously taken to make the proper
estimate and distribution of men and teams for different points of the
work. With the circumstances under which we commenced last Monday
morning, it could not be expected but what there would be more or less
confusion and misapplication of labor; but even with these
disadvantages the work has prospered extremely well.
If we can get the water of Big Cottonwood as far as Big Canyon, as
ditches have already been opened from the last named point, we can
water the five acre lots and about one-third of the city; but we
expect to continue operations until we bring the water to the
termination of the canal above the city, on the north side. The large
reservoirs formed by the embankments across the deep ravines will hold
an immense quantity of water, and we wish to have them speedily
finished for containing water to be used when we need it.
In regard to irrigation, I will venture to say that one-half of the
water is wasted; instead of being applied where and when it is needed,
it runs here and there, and perhaps one-half reaches the drooping
plants. If people would take a little more pains in preparing ditches,
gates, and embankments for economically conducting water where it is
most needed, it would be a very great advantage to them.
When water is brought to the termination of the canal, which we can
accomplish in a few days, I presume that the reservoirs on the line of
the work and those portions which are excavated in full will contain
water enough to allow the people to irrigate when necessary, and thus
do away with the practice of watering only two hours a week on a city
lot, and much of that to be done in the night. And that is not all,
for by the time the water is fairly on a lot it is taken by the next
person whose right it is to use it. And lots which have had thousands of dollars expended on them, and which would yield more than
a thousand dollars' worth of fruit and vegetables, could they be
properly irrigated, are only allowed a small stream of water for two
hours once a week, and at the same time an adjoining lot planted with
corn, the hills six feet apart and one stalk in a hill, comparatively
speaking, the balance of the ground being covered with weeds, is
allotted the same time and amount of water as the one on which the
fruit trees and other choice vegetation are worth thousands of
There ought to be a reformation in the distribution of the water. The
man who will not raise five dollars' worth of produce on his lot, has
the same water privilege as the man who could raise a thousand
dollars' worth. For instance, brother Staines gets the water for two
hours in a week, and what are his fruit trees worth? He could make his
thousand dollars a year from them, if he were disposed to sell the
fruit instead of giving it away, could he have a fair portion of
water. I have a lot just below him well-cultivated in fruit trees, a
nursery, and choice vegetables, I also can only have the water on my
lot for two hours in a week; when lots nearby, with but little on
them except weeds, get the same water privilege, and that too in the
daytime, while we have to use it in the night. Water masters ought to
look to this matter, until they have arranged a more just
So soon as we can complete the canal and its reservoirs, the people
will be enabled to water their gardens thoroughly, which will be
scores of thousands of dollars advantage to this city yearly, besides
the immense benefit to the farming lands. There is much grain growing
in the city lots, and many persons have spaded their ground, not
having teams to plow with, consequently their lots are bet ter
cultivated this year than heretofore, and we wish to water them that
we may not lose our labor. If we can have your help for a few days
more, we shall bring much more water to the city than we now have.
I have personally interested myself very diligently in the labors upon
the canal, and have endeavored to follow the instructions of brother
Kimball during last Sabbath. Who has been impoverished by our labor?
Who has been injured by it? Not a single individual, old or young. Who
is benefited by it? The whole community: every man, woman, and child.
This canal will be a lasting benefit; without it we may be discouraged
with regard to the farming interests of this portion of the valley. We
expect to see this canal completed. I know that some have thought it
would be almost impossible to complete such a work here, to secure the
banks of the deep ravines, but we shall not leave it until it is
Shall we stop making canals, when the one now in progress is finished?
No, for as soon as that is completed from Big Cottonwood to this city,
we expect to make a canal on the west side of Jordan, and take its
water along the east base of the west mountains, as there is more
farming land on the west side of that river than on the east. When
that work is accomplished we shall continue our exertions, until the Provo
River runs to this city. We intend to bring it around the point of the
mountain to Little Cottonwood, from that to Big Cottonwood, and lead
its waters upon all the land from Provo Canyon to this city, for there
is more water runs in that stream alone than would be needed for that
If we had time we should build several reservoirs to save the waters
of City Creek, each one to contain enough for once irrigating
one-third of the city. If we had such reser voirs the whole of
this city might be irrigated with water that now runs to waste. Even
then we do not intend to cease our improvements, for we expect that
part of the Weber will be brought to the Hot Springs, there to meet
the waters from the south and empty into Jordan. Then we contemplate
that Bear River will be taken out at the gates to irrigate a rich and
extensive region on its left bank, and also upon the other side to
meet the waters of the Malad. We know not the end of our public labors
and enterprises in this Territory, and we design performing them as
fast as we can.
Our preaching to you from Sabbath to Sabbath, sending the Gospel to
the nations, gathering the people, opening farms, making needed
improvements, and building cities, all pertain to salvation. The
Gospel is designed to gather a people that will be of one heart and of
one mind. Let every individual in this city feel the same interest for
the public good as he does for his own, and you will at once see this
community still more prosperous, and still more rapidly increasing in
wealth, influence, and power. But where each one seeks to benefit
himself or herself alone, and does not cherish a feeling for the
prosperity and benefit of the whole, that people will be disorderly,
unhappy, and poverty-stricken, and distress, animosity, and strife
Efforts to accumulate property in the correct channel are far from
being an injury to any community, on the contrary they are highly
beneficial, provided individuals, with all that they have, always hold
themselves in readiness to advance the interests of the kingdom of God
on the earth. Let every man and woman be industrious, prudent, and
economical in their acts and feelings, and while gathering to
themselves, let each one strive to identify his or her interests with
the interests of this community, with those of their neighbor and
neighborhood, let them seek their happiness and welfare in that of
all, and we will be blessed and prospered.
I do not wish to boast in the least, neither do I think much of
myself, nor ever did, nor do I ever pause much to think, in all my
labors, doings, travelings, toils, and preachings, whether I have
friends or foes, but the care that I have for this community I do
manifest in my works. Not that I think that I am extraordinarily
praiseworthy, or that I am a very good man, for you know that I have
never professed to be a very religious man; but what I wish you to do
to your neighbor I do by you; but I will not ask my Father in heaven
to deal any more kindly with me than I deal with my brethren.
My interest is the interest of this community; this has been
characteristic of my course from the beginning. I have witnesses here
to prove that, from the time I entered this kingdom until this day,
this community and its welfare have been my interest.
I have proven this all the time, and I prove it still. I have proven
it this year, in the scarce time we are passing through. Ask the poor
brethren and sisters who have come to me for bread if they have been
turned away empty. I have had a large amount of flour and means, for
among other property I have two of the best mills in the Territory,
and a large farm upon which I generally raise much wheat and other
produce. I have always raised more grain than my family consumed, and
in these scarce times find the man or woman that I have taken fifty
cents from for flour.
I have had money offered to me, but I have told such persons to go and
buy where flour is for sale; I have none to sell.
In all my transactions in this community I have acted in a similar
man ner. What do I get for taking such a course? When I came
into this valley I owed for my outfit; I had but little; I do not
think that one-third of my family had shoes to their feet, and I had
no leather from which to make shoes.
We came with what we had, and I borrowed oxen from one man, and horses
from another, which I have since paid for, besides paying thousands of
dollars for my poor brethren who could not pay.
What the Lord has done for me, you all know. Have I wronged any man,
or pinched any man in a time of trouble, or in any way taken an
advantage of his necessities? Bring forward a man whom I have wronged,
and I will restore to him not only four but tenfold. My hands are
open; I have naturally an open hand, it does not contract on the needy
like that. (Holding his hand with the fingers shut.)
Neither am I like the miller who striked the toll dish with a crowning
hand, thus leaving the grain convex, but who, when he quit milling and
opened a tavern, reversed his hand and left the grain concave.
I do not wish you to deal any better by me than I do by you, neither
do I wish God my Father to deal any more kindly towards me than I do
towards you. How came I by what I have? We may dig water ditches, make
canals, sow wheat, build mills, and labor with our mights, but if God
does not give the increase we remain poor. Though we bestow much labor
upon our fields, if God does not give the increase we shall have no
How few there are who fully understand this matter, who realize
thoroughly that unless God blesses our exertions we shall have
nothing. It is the Lord that gives the increase. He could send showers
to water our fields, but I do not know that I have prayed for rain
since I have been in these valleys until this year, during which I
believe that I have prayed two or three times for rain, and then with
a faint heart, for there is plenty of water flowing down these canyons
in crystal streams as pure as the breezes of Zion, and it is our
business to use them.
I do not feel disposed to ask the Lord to do for me what I can do for
myself. I know when I sow the wheat and water it that I cannot give
the increase, for that is in the hands of the Almighty; and when it is
time to worship the Lord, I will leave all and worship Him. As I said
yesterday to a Bishop who was mending a breach in the canal, and
expressed a wish to continue his labor on the following Sabbath, as
his wheat was burning up, let it burn, when the time comes that is set
apart for worship, go up and worship the Lord.
When Bishops and the brethren can perceive and understand that it is
the Lord that gives the increase, after all their exertions to sustain
themselves, they will be satisfied that the glory belongs to Him, and
not altogether to the exertions of man. You know Paul says that he
considered himself an unprofitable servant, and so is every other man;
that is, when we have done all we can to save ourselves, spiritually
and temporally, it is the Lord who gave us the means.
He opened up the way of life and salvation, organized the elements to
sustain our mortal bodies, and thus afforded all the means for
increase. It is all through the wisdom of Him who has created all
things, who rules over and sustains all things.
Have the Latter-day Saints got to learn this? Yes. And they have got
to learn that the interest of their brethren is their own interest, or
they never can be saved in the celestial kingdom of God.
While saying a few words here last Sabbath about the canal, I told you when you lifted your hands to heaven, in token of your
willingness to do a certain things that you ought to do it. A great
many of you have had your endowments, and you know what a vote with
uplifted hands means.
It is a sign which you make in token of your covenant with God and
with one another, and it is for you to perform your vows. When you
raise your hands to heaven and let them fall and then pass on with
your covenants unfulfilled, you will be cursed.
I feel sometimes like lecturing men and women severely, who enter into
covenants without realizing the nature of the covenants they make, and
who use little or no effort to fulfil them.
Some Elders go to the nations and preach the Gospel of life and
salvation, and return without thoroughly understanding the nature of a
covenant. It is written in the Bible that every man should perform his
own vows, even if to his own hurt; in this way you will show to all
creation and to God that you are full of integrity.
This people have got to entirely wake out of their sleep, they have
got to be a strictly righteous people, or they will have to meet worse
things than a scanty morsel of bread.
Do they believe this? Some think—"Well, perhaps it will be so, and
perhaps not. I have little flour now, and I really want the money, and
if I can get twelve or thirteen dollars a hundred for it I can spare
This is the principle some persons operate upon, and it is
sectarianism. It seems of the longfaced deacon style, who, when a
poor man wants flour for his wife and children, in measured tone and
with a long religious face, says, "No;" but who, after long importunity
on the part of the hungry man, will at last, in a very soft, measured,
pious, longfaced, sighing style, reply, "Well, brother, I have not
any to spare, but I don't know but that if you will come and work for
me a couple of days in harvest, I will spare you a bushel to
accommodate you. I shall have to hire labor at harvest, can you come
and help me?"
The answer is, "Yes," when at the same time he knows that he can have
two bushels a day for work in harvest, but the longfaced deacon will
make him agree to work two days for one bushel.
I have heard of a man in this City who was stopped from building a
house. Why? Because he got first-rate mechanics to work for five
pounds of flour a day, which is at the rate of thirty cents a day. His
Bishop told him that he could not build a house in his Ward upon any
Do you suppose that such a man is fit to belong to any church? Yes, to
Joe Bowers' church, and his was a hell-fired church.
You who have surplus flour hoarded up, give it to the poor, and say
that you will trust in God.
The first year that I came into this valley I had not flour enough to
last my family until harvest, and that I had brought with me, and
persons were coming to my house every day for bread. I had the blues
about one day; I went down to the old fort, and by the time I got back
to my house I was completely cured. I said to my wife, "Do not let a
person come here for food and go away empty handed, for if you do we
shall suffer before harvest; but if you give to every individual that
comes we shall have enough to last us through."
I have proven this many a time, and we have again proven it this year.
I have plenty on hand, and shall have plenty, if I keep giving away.
More than two hundred persons eat from my provisions every day,
besides my own family and those who work for I intend to keep
doing so, that my bread may hold out, for if I do not I shall come
Do you believe that principle? I know it is true, because I have
proven it so many times.
I have formerly told this community of a circumstance that occurred to
brother Heber and myself, when we were on our way to England. We paid
our passage to Kirtland, and to my certain knowledge we had only
$13.50, but we paid out $87.00; this is but one instance among many
which I could name.
You who have flour and meat, deal it out, and do not be afraid that
you will be too much straightened, for if you will give, you will have
plenty, for it is God who sustains us and we have got to learn this
lesson. All I ask of you is to apply your heart to wisdom and to watch
the providences of God, until you prove for yourselves that I am
telling the truth, even that which I do know and have experienced.
I have experienced much in my life, and I will not ask you to do any
better by one another nor by me than I do by you, and I will bless you
all the time. I feel to bless you continually; my life is here, my
interest, my glory, my pride, my comfort, my all are here, and all I
expect to have, to all eternity is wrapped up in the midst of this
If I do not get it in this channel, I shall not have it at all. How do
you suppose I feel? I feel as a father should feel towards his
children. I have felt so for many years, even when I durst not say so;
I have felt as a mother feels towards her tender offspring, and durst
not express my feelings; but I have tried to carry out their
expression in my life. May God bless you. Amen.