The last time, I believe, brethren and sisters, that I had the
privilege of speaking from this stand, was the day previous to my
starting for the southern country. We were then expecting a visit from
a very formidable force, directly from the State of Missouri. It waked
up in my mind the feelings that I used to have—say from ten to twenty
years ago, in hearing the constant annoyance of an approaching enemy.
And according to the report which has been published of my remarks, I
talked rather strong. But one thing is evident—if I did not talk
strong, it was not because I did not feel strong on the occasion.
I left the next morning and wended my way southward. I visited the
different settlements hurriedly, until I reached Parowan, in the
county of Iron, the place of the first settlement in the southern part
of the Territory. When I arrived there, it appeared that some rumor
or spirit of surprise had reached them; for there were active
operations going on, seemingly preparing for something that was near
at hand. As I drove in at the gate, I beheld the military on the
square exercising, and was immediately surrounded by the "Iron
Battalion," which seemed to have held its own very well since it was
organized in that place.
They had assembled together under the impression that their country
was about to be invaded by an army from the United States, and that it
was necessary to make preparation by examining each other's arms, and
to make everything ready by preparing to strike in any direction and
march to such places as might be necessary in the defense of their
As it will be well recollected, I was the President of the company
that first made the settlement there. I was received with every
feeling of enthusiasm, and I never found them in better spirits. They
were willing any moment to touch fire to their homes, and hide
themselves in the mountains, and to defend their country to the very
Now, there had been no such preaching as that when I went away; but
the Spirit seemed to burn in my bones to visit all these settlements
in that southern region. Colonel Dame was about organizing the
military of that district under the law of last winter. As the Colonel
was going along to organize the military, I got into the carriage and
went on a mission of peace, to preach to the people. When I got to
Cedar, I found the Battalions on parade, and the Colonel talked to
them and completed the new organization.
On the following day, I addressed the Saints at their meetinghouse. I
never had greater liberty of speech to proclaim to the people my
feelings and views; and in spite of all I could do, I found myself
preaching a military discourse; and I told them, in case of invasion,
it might be necessary to set fire to our property, and hide in the
mountains, and leave our enemies to do the best they could. It seemed
to be hailed with the same enthusiasm that it was at Parowan.
That was the same Sabbath that brother Young was preaching the same
kind of doctrine; and I am perfectly satisfied that all the districts
in the southern country would have given him their unanimous vote.
I then went to Harmony. Brother Dame preached to the military, and I
to the civil powers; and I must say that my discourse partook of the
military more than the religious. But it seemed that I was perfectly
running over with it, and hence I had to say something about it.
I then went over a lovely country, and passed over "Peter's Leap," and
some other such lovely places. It is rather rough; but I could not but
admire its extreme beauty; and I think, if the Lord had got up all the
rough, rocky, and the broken fragments of the earth in one, he might
have dropped it down there.
When I reached the cotton country, I had previously learned that they
were failing in their attempts to raise cotton, and that the waters of
the Rio Virgin were poisoning the cotton. But I learned that the seed
had not come up: but what had come up, perhaps one-third of it was
exceedingly fine. The difficulty was, that their cotton was planted
very late, and the sun heated the sand; for the soil is nothing but
the red sand of Sahara. They planted in the sand, as there was nowhere
else to plant it, and the sun was scorching it; but they found that
all that was necessary was to keep the sand wet; and when they poured
on the water, the cotton grew. And old cotton growers told me that
they had never seen a better prospect for cotton, for the time it had
been planted, in the world; and this is the condition of things in
that country, and the prospect is, that they will have pretty good
cotton and about the third of a crop, and the next year they will be
able to raise lots of cotton; for they will be there early enough, and
have seed that can be depended upon.
The corn in Tutse-gabbot's field, which was planted early, was
eighteen feet high. If the sand was not wet, it would all blow away.
The country seemed very hot to me; otherwise, I enjoyed the visit very
well. But the brethren insisted that it was a very cool spell while I
I preached to them in Washington City, and I thank the Lord for the
desert holes that we live in, and for all the land that can be
watered—in all, amounting to but a few hundred acres. There are but a
few rods wide that can be watered in a place; but I tell you, when the
day comes that the Saints need these hills to be covered with
vegetation, they have only to exercise faith, and God will turn them
into fruitful fields.
We started from Washington in the night, and the brethren told me, if
I had seen the roads, I would not travel them. But I told them I did
not want to see the roads; for I was determined to go ahead.
We traveled ten miles, and camped by a small spring, called "Allen's
Spring." Some Indians took our horses. We told them we were afraid
they would get into some cornfields. They told us they would put them
where they would get plenty to eat and do no mischief. The Indians
brought our horses early in the morning, and we arrived at "Jacob's
Wikeup," as the Indians call Fort Clara, about nine o'clock, and found
their crops suffering for want of water. I saw beautiful indigo,
cotton, and corn; and the stalks of the corn were perfectly dry, while
the ears were green and fit to boil.
We also had a glorious interview in this, as in other places, with the
natives of the desert. We remained there through the heat of the day,
and then proceeded down "Jacob's Twist" (a magnificent canyon), to where the California road joins the Santa Clara, and then
followed up the Santa Clara in the dark of the night—a river upon
whose banks many scenes of desperation have been enacted.
About ten o'clock at night, we were surrounded by some hundreds of the
natives that were anxious we should stop overnight. They took care of
our horses, built us campfires, and roasted us corn, and made us as
comfortable as they could; and I never ate better corn or better
melons in my life. We stopped overnight with them, and not one of
them asked me for a thing; which is remarkable, as the Indians are
intolerable beggars. But I was treated as well as if I had been among
the Saints, and I never enjoyed a treat better.
We pursued our visit to the Mountain Meadows, and there were kindly
treated by the families of the missionaries, who lived at this place
on account of the abundant grass for their stock. I then went to
Penter, and there addressed a houseful of people in the evening, and
then proceeded to Cedar the next day. They had heard they were going
to have an army of 600 dragoons come down from the East on to the
town. The Major seemed very sanguine about the matter. I asked him, if
this rumor should prove true, if he was not going to wait for
instructions. He replied, There was no time to wait for any
instruction; and he was going to take his battalion and use them up
before they could get down through the canyons; for, said he, if they
are coming here, they are coming for no good.
I admired his grit, but I thought he would not have the privilege of
using them up, for want of an opportunity. I also visited the Saints
at Paragoonah and preached to them, and in every place felt the same
spirit. I then came over to Beaver, which is a new settlement; and the
day previous, an Indian came in and told them there were shod horses'
tracks at a spring over the big mountains about twenty miles to the
Major Farnsworth, supposing that there was a body of men in the
neighborhood, and that these were the tracks of the scouts, they
immediately went over the mountains and traced the horses' tracks,
until they ascertained they came from Parowan. I do not know whether
the inhabitants of Parowan intended to whip a regiment of dragoons, or
not; but it is certain they are wide awake, and are not going to be
taken by surprise. There was only one thing that I dreaded, and that
was a spirit in the breasts of some to wish that their enemies might
come and give them a chance to fight and take vengeance for the
cruelties that had been inflicted upon us in the States. They did
feel that they hated to owe a debt and not be able to pay it, and they
felt like an old man that lives in Provo, brother Jameson, who has
carried a few ounces of lead in his body ever since the Haun's Mill
massacre in Missouri; and he wants to pay it back with usury; and he
undertook to preach at Provo, and prayed that God would send them
along; for he wanted to have a chance at them.
Now, I never felt so; but I do not know but it is on account of my
extreme timidity; for I would a great deal rather the Lord would fight
the battles than me; and I feel to pray that he will punish them with
that hell which is to want to and can't; and it is my prayer and wish
all the time that this may be their doom. This is what I want to
inculcate all the time; and at the same time, if the Lord brings us in
collision with them, and it is his will, let us take hold—not in the
spirit of revenge or anger, but simply to avenge God of his enemies
and to protect our homes and firesides. But I am perfectly
aware that all the settlements I visited in the south, Fillmore
included, one single sentence is enough to put every man in motion. In
fact, a word is enough to set in motion every man, or set a torch to
every building, where the safety of this people is jeopardized.
I have understood that there are half-a-dozen fellows in Provo that
have but one wife each, and that they are not for fighting, because
they say this trouble has come on account of plurality. Well, I pity
them, because I know the women will leave them, and that it would not
be but a few days before there would be so many brokenhearted,
disconsolate men; for the women among the Latter-day Saints will not
live with such men.
I have rejoiced and enjoyed myself on this visit to the south as much
as at any time; for I perceive a hearty willingness to do and
sacrifice anything that was required for the preservation of Zion; and
whenever I got up to preach, I was full, and it seemed as if I could
not stop; and before I got through, I would be tired.
I will say to the brethren and sisters, that I feel to return to my
heavenly Father my thanks that he has thus far frustrated the designs
of our enemies; and I know that he has got the power to wield and
frustrate them at his will; and I know, if we are humble and united,
and moved upon by the right Spirit, God will fight our battles. And if
any of us are called to lay down our lives in the defense of our
religion, God will save us in celestial glory, and he will preserve
us, though all the world be against us.
[President B. Young: "That is true." ]
These are my feelings, and this is my faith. No matter what day or
hour we are called to go into the presence of our Father in heaven;
for every man and woman that has not got a religion that is worth more
than their mortal lives, and unless we are willing to sacrifice all
that pertains to these temporal feelings, we are not worthy of
Why, there was an honest Dutchman came to me this morning, and he had
just heard that the President had concluded to let the soldiers in
here. His heart had sunk within him at the thought, and "Oh!" says he,
"can I live to see those troops come in here?" He can live through a
great many things besides that. God will protect his people, and he
will fight their battles; and if he wants a little help, I presume
that he will find us ready.
I have preached to the brethren to live their religion, and "trust in
God and keep their powder dry." I borrowed it from Cromwell. Be ready
to defend Israel; and when we have done all we can, the Lord will do
the balance. Why, say the world, it is presumption for you to talk so.
Uncle Sam has twenty-five millions of people, and 100,000,000 of
surplus money in the treasury, and thousands of men in the country
that are aching to be killed. We used to talk to them in this way when
we lived down in their midst; and then, when it came to the sticking
point, we would bow to them; and what did we get by it? Brother Taylor
told you that thousands had suffered in consequence.
I tell you, we have suffered more waste of life and property than we
will to face the music; and let them do their cursedest, and then
every honest Dutchman and every man will get all he wants; and many of
us Yankees will get many of our dirty tricks purged and pruned out of
us; and our picayunary will vanish; it will all fail; for everything
that we have in our hearts that is not right will be purged out; for
our interest will be centered in the kingdom of God.
When I was back in Washington last season, I had a long
conversation with Senator Douglas; and he is a kind of personification
of modern democracy—very thick, but not very long. He asked a great
many questions about our Temple, and I gave him a description of the
foundation, and he asked me if I expected we would ever be able to
accomplish it? The manner he communicated it was to show that he had
his eye upon another thing than that which he alluded to; but I
realized then just as well as I did when I read his proposition to
"cut out the loathsome ulcer." I said to him, "O Judge, we are not a
little handful, as we were in Nauvoo: we can now do anything we have a
Some of our national statesmen profess to be Christians and
wonderfully pious. Mr. Morill, of Vermont, said to me, "Your domestic
relations are so at variance with sacred books!" Why, said I, the
Father of the faithful, our father Abraham, seemed to have the same
view of the matter that we do. "Oh," says he, "Abraham was guilty of
great many eccentric tricks." "Eccentric as he might be," I replied,
"it is in his bosom that all Christians expect to rest; and we do not
expect that he is going to kick his wives out to please anybody."
Many people do not know why it is that they feel so enraged against
us. I found in talking with hundreds and thousands of persons, in the
course of our travels, that there was a deep-rooted spirit of hatred;
and in talking of this I found that my reasons were superior to
theirs; and they felt it and realized it, and my conversation seemed
to suit and carry a good influence.
Our Elders have preached the Gospel freely throughout the world, and
they have tarred and feathered them and put them to death. If they
could have defeated them by arguments, all well enough: but no—these
weapons proved ineffectual, and they tried mobs and violence; and now
they array the armies of the United States against us, that under
their wings they may send missionaries among us to convert our souls.
Poor cursed slinks! Do not they know that we were raised among them in
the very hotbed of sectarian bigotry, and that we know all that the
priests know about their religion, and ten thousand times more?
- George A. Smith