BRIGHAM YOUNG TO CHURCH ELDER GEORGE CANNON
VOICING HIS OUTSPOKEN REBUKE OF FEDERAL TROOPS BEING STATIONED IN UTAH
YOUNG, BRIGHAM. (1801-1877). American religious leader, politician, and colonizer; the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1847 until his death in 1877; founded Salt Lake City and served as the first governor of the Utah Territory. Fascinating and important Manuscript Letter Signed, “Brigham Young sen[ior]”, on light blue stationery. Three very full pages, quarto. Salt Lake City, June 23, 1859. Excellent condition. To Church elder George Cannon. Young writes:
Your interesting and very welcome letter, for politeness of Dr. Bernhisel, were personally delivered by him, and I was highly gratified with your clear and minute detail of movements and views, and to learn of the improved health and welfare of our Friend.
The scarcity of money and the busy occupation of the citizens in their various avocations render trade dull and the times what people generally term tame and uninteresting, though to us peaceful and ominous of good. And from whispered rumors touching some news by our last mail, one might infer that our U.S. Judges might now begin to profit by their past folly and improve upon the plain and severe rebukes they have received therefore, time will determine, and should they have learned enough to be able to exercise even a small portion of discretion, one element of vexation will be somewhat modified. The Peace Commissioners assured us that President Buchanan would at once remove all really obnoxious officers, upon the presentation of the facts, but they are not only retained but one of the most objectionable personages in the lot voluntarily leaves and then returns. True they may have been instructed to behave better in future, but what guarantee has anyone that such persons will ever behave as reasonable beings should?
The army remains very quiet at Camp Floyd. A small detachment under Major Seton has gone into the Humboldt to overawe the Indians on the old line of overland travel, and it is reported that another small detachment is about to be sent to Ruby Valley or its neighborhood to protect the mail stations against Indian depredations. But of all follies few exceed in egregious nonsense, the large disbursements of public treasure for the support of an army in Utah. Is it because our citizens are disloyal or ever have been? No, the world knows better. Is it to defend us against hostile savages? No, for it is well known that we took effectual care of ourselves when our settlements were few and weak. What purpose do they serve? A refuge and protection to thieves, liars, black legs, whoremasters and drunkards, and a nest egg to suffers, freighters, contractors, and other speculators, exhibiting a most pitiful and shameful expenditure of the peoples’ money. Well, let the heathens rage and the people imagine vain things, for the God of Israel holds their folly in derision and overrules their mightiest efforts to advance his purposes.
Say to our Friend that we readily perceive, and for a long time have perceived that ‘the hands upon the dial are moving,’ and we bear things patiently, biding our time. Brother George, become not weary nor discouraged in well doing, and doing the best you can from day to day, calmly submit the disposition of events to Him who ordereth all things aright. And say to our good Friend that when human efforts fail to cope with the devices and violence of the wicked, there is a power that restrains the abundance of their wrath.
The present prospect for fruit and wheat crops is quite indifferent, and without a sudden change for the better, of which there is no present indication, our great staple wheat, will be very scarce and high priced. The general health of the people, as also that of your family is good. Please give our Friend, his good lady and dear children my love and best wishes for their welfare, and accept the kind regards of
Your brother in the Gospel, Brigham Young”.
Early letters with significant content between elders of the Church of Latter Day Saints rarely appear on the market. This letter has complete provenance and is documented with the archives of the LDS. A fine addition to any collection of Americana.