|On the 1st day of October, I found I had worked all the spring, summer,
and fall, and had not earned a dollar. I had devoted my time to my land,
living six weeks on greens, and here at the commencement of winter I found
myself without a house, or materials to build one, without provisions, and not
much clothing. No fodder for the winter, very much disheartened, I moved my
family on my new lot . . . .
 Oct. 7th, Sabbath. Rebecca and I went to meeting this morning . . . .
Prest. John Young . . . told me I was appointed to go on
a mission to France. This intelligence gave me such exceeding joy that I
almost danced. I next inquired who was to go with me. They replied, Elder John
Taylor . . . . "Well," I said, "I'm ready."
On the way home, I opened the matter to Rebecca. At first flush, she
thought it hard that I should have to leave her in so destitute a situation as
she then was. But a few moments later burst into tears and said, "Go, in the
name of Israel's God, and prosper; and I will take care of myself."
Bolton undertook the journey without an outfit, a horse, or even an
overcoat; his clothing was threadbare. He shared Russell Homer's wagon.
On the tenth day the company reached Bridger, "Snowing on both sides of
us til noon." As they went on to Black's Fork:
Cloudy, very high wind. I lectured in the evening on the principle of
faith. Promised if all would unite their faith we should have no snow till we
arrived at the Missouri River.
This prediction proved accurate. However, there was rain, wind, and
bitter cold. At the South Fork of the Platte, rain followed by frost had
put a hard crust on the snow, "almost to bear a man's weight." With the
crust breaking at every step and turn of the wagon wheels, it was "horrid
Bro. Homer being belated about starting, had to unload his wagon on the
bluff out of Ash Hollow and carry up by hand and then double team
up his empty wagon. Graham left the horse he bought at Bridger  about 1/2
way between the two Plattes. Crossed the South Fork. A very bad ford. Very
worst of quicksands. The most of us had to wade about in the river and help
out the teams and wagons one after another. No fire on the bank. Quite
cooling!!!! I, soaking wet, ran on five miles to where there appeared to be
wood, but had to wade a creek to get it. Found here a wounded horse. Preach
this eve by Bro. Taylor.
Next day the company began to abandon exhausted horses and mules on
the trail; others died. They passed broken wagons and dead teams beside
the route. At places where grass was burned off, they cut cottonwoods for
brouse. On 4 December, "Bro. John Taylor has been very sick today." The
next day, "Bro. E. D. Woolley was taken very ill."
Dec. 7. Every appearance of a storm. Intensely cold. Passed two most
abominable bad creekshaving to take off the teams and let the wagons down
and haul them up by hand. . . . Camped some time after dark, on a little
stream where we could find neither wood nor grass . . . . I went to bed
supperless, having no more provisions.
Taylor not only endured hardship, but welcomed it:
I rejoice in afflictions, for they are necessary to humble and prove us,
that we may comprehend ourselves, become acquainted with our weaknesses and
infirmities; and I rejoice when I triumph over them, because God answers my
prayers, therefore I feel to rejoice all the day long . . . .
Some people have said to me, sometimes: "Are you not afraid to cross over
the seas, and deserts, where there are wolves and bears, and other ferocious
animals, as well as the savage Indians? Are you not afraid that you will drop
by the way, and leave your body on the desert track,  or beneath the
ocean's wave?" No. Who cares anything about it? What of it, if we should
happen to drop by the way. We expect the Lord and His angels can . . . "gather
together His elect from the four corners of the earth," and as old Daniel
says, we shall all come up and stand in our "lot in the end of the days."
These things don't trouble me, but I have felt to rejoice all the day
long, that God has revealed the principle of eternal life, that I am put in
possession of that truth, and that I am counted worthy to engage in the work
of the Lord, and be a messenger to the nations of the earth. (1)
Taylor continued his account of the journey:
Between the upper crossing of the Platte and Independence Rock, we met a
company of four men who were carrying the mail from Fort Laramie to Fort Hall.
They had been robbed the day before by a war party of Crow Indians . . . .
After the first shearing they encountered another band, who sans ceremonie,
subjected them to another fleecing . . . . They were of course pleased under
these circumstances to meet with us, and were full of fiery indignation
against their red brethren for subjecting them to such an unceremonious
tithing . . . .
made us more vigilant in guarding our horses, as we rather
preferred to be tithed by our own bishops, whom we had with us, than be
subject to the ordeal of those who officiate without authority.
Two days' journey on the other side of Laramie, while we were baiting our
horses at noon on the banks of the Platte, we espied a large body of Indians,
who came sweeping down a gentle sloping hill east of us . . . .
Capt. Roundy ordered the horses to be gathered, and securely tied to the
wagons. Gen. Grant acted with great promptness, . . . immediately forming us
into line, leaving  two of our number to tie the horses up. The men
showed great intrepidity, every man standing at his post undaunted. The
efforts of the Indians were either to break our line or turn our flank; but
being repulsed on all points they were brought to a dead halt about a rod and
a half in front of us. During all this, . . . they were shaking out the
priming from their firearms, and priming them anew. Many placed arrows to
their bowstringstheir lances at restand were wetting the ends of their
arrows with their mouths, that they might not slip from finger and thumb.
When the Mormons refused to be bluffed, a chief presented a paper
from the commander at Ft. Laramie, Major Sanderson, certifying that this
tribe of Cheyennes "was friendly to the whites." The simulated charge was
simply an example of Indian humor.
We presented them some crackers, dried meat, tobacco, etc., of which they
partook, sat down and had a smoke, and thus everything concluded amicably. We
then harnessed our horses, and pursued our journey. They very courteously
filed to the right and left, and escorted us on our road till we came opposite
their village . . . .
Many of them were dressed in American style, with clothes of the best
broadcloth, beaver hats, caps, etc. And those who were dressed in Indian
costume displayed the greatest elegance of taste in their attire. They were
adorned with head dresses of feathers of the richest hues; and their various
insignia of office displayed a taste which is at once wild, romantic and
beautiful. They were mounted on excellent horsesrichly caparisoned in many
instances, and painted off in the most fantastic style. The whole affair was
truly grand, and notwithstanding the peculiar situation in which we were
placed, we could not but admire the magnificent display which the lords of the
prairie presented . . . . The scene was rich, and exceeded any theatrical
representation we have ever witnessed.
 Messrs. Edward Hunter, Lorenzo Snow and myself, at the request of the
chief, visited their encampment, which was about three miles off the road; we
found there a large number of lodges, and were informed by a Frenchman that
they numbered six hundred warriors. They appeared to be wealthy, and I should
think they had about three thousand horses.
Arriving at Winter Quartersnow named Kanesvillethe party greeted
old friends, while their arrival was hailed "with songs of rejoicing,
firing of guns, and other tokens of joy." Blacksmiths brought out their
anvils and hammers, which "made the hills and dales" ring with the
We here meet a kindred spirit, and find that the presiding genius of this
place drinks from the same fountain, breathes the same air, and revels in the
same intelligence as do the master spirits of the Great Salt Lake Valley.
Relative to the situation of affairs in the Valley, we have of course
many inconveniences to cope with, owing to the position we occupy so far
remote from supplies . . . . the cry of the people is goods! GOODS!! GOODS!!!
. . .
We were accompanied here by Messrs. Roundy, Grant, Smoot and others, who
have associated for the purpose of forming a carrying company to convey goods
from this place to the Valley. They also intend establishing a Swiftsure
Passenger Line, to convey persons from this place to Sutter's Fort. The
company were selected and organized by the Government of the State of Deseret,
. . . and as they are men of energy, enterprise and respectability, they are
more competent to carry out an enterprise of this kind, and to establish a
cheap, speedy, and safe conveyance to and from the diggings, than any company
that could be organized on this side of the plains . . . .
 In relation to the various missions in which we are engaged, . . . these
as great and important as any that have been entered upon since the
commencement of this work. A few years ago a few of the Twelve, accompanied by
three or four elders, visited England for the first time. The Church of
Latterday Saints was then unknown in that kingdom; now they number . . .
about 30,000. In the then infantile state of the Church, a mission of that
kind seemed Herculean; but the power of truth prevailed; . . . and where
darkness once reigned, many thousands now rejoice in the fulness of the gospel
That mission, however, was to a people whose language we were acquainted
with, whose habits and customs were congenial with our own, whose commercial
relations rendered them familiar, and whose blood still flowed in our veins.
But now we have left our homes in the Valley to carry the gospel to nations
that know us not, with whose language we are unacquainted, and who are at
present wrapped about with a cloak of mystery and superstition; this is a task
which nothing but the "thus saith the Lord," could cause man to
The nations to which we are now destined have recently been convulsed
with revolutions, the throes of which still sicken the whole system, and
render life, person and property insecure . . . . Yet to these nations we are
sent to unfurl the banner of truth, and publish the glad tidings of salvation;
and . . . to whisper to the honest in heart, "What doest thou here, Elijah?"
We go therefore in the strength of Israel's God, our trust is in Him, we
lean upon His arm and all is well. The nations must hear the joyful sound. The
power of truth must prevail; the Kingdom of God must be established and all
nations flock to her standard, . . . till salvation is sounded on every
continent, proclaimed on every isle, echoed on every sea and whispered in
every breeze; and the "kingdom of this world become the kingdom of our God and
of his Christ," even so, Amen. (2)
Six weeks later Taylor wrote his families from St. Louis, saying his
travel had been leisurely because he was studying French enroute. He made
no mention of hardship on the "leisurely" journey, which Bolton detailed:
Bid farewell to the people of Kanesville, and started for Saint Louis in
a wagon in company with Bro. Taylor, Pack, and Thomas Bateman . . . .
We stopped one day at St. Joseph and one day at Weston . . . . The journey
from thence to Saint Louis was rough and tedious. The last one hundred and
fifty miles we walked almost the whole way as there was a thaw and the mud was
hub deep in the lanes.
Jan. 26. Arrived this evening in Saint Louis after a tedious toilsome
journey. We proceeded at once to Elder Felt's office, No. 16 Third Street. It
was just after dark and we were at once ushered in, all covered with mud and
very much fatigued, before a large meeting of the brethren. We each had to
preach a little, and then retired to the homes alloted to us . . . . On
Sabbath morning . . . Brother Taylor furnished me with a pair of pants and a
vest, which I needed extremely.
In a letter home, Taylor said that both at St. Louis and
The Saints flocked around me like bees and the greatest trouble I have had is
that of not being able to fulfill the many engagements that have pressed
themselves upon me.
"But," say you, "do you not think of us and home?"... Let me tell my
feelings if I can. Home! Home!! HOME!!! What shall I say? . . . You are with
me in my imaginations, thoughts, dreams, feelings; true, our bodies are
separated, but there you liveyou dwell in my bosom, in my heart and
affections, and will remain there forever. Our covenants, our hopes, our joys
are all eternal and will live when our bodies moulder in the dust . . . .
 I am engaged in my Master's business; I am a minister of Jehovah to
proclaim His will to the nations. I go to unlock the door of life to a mighty
nation, to publish to millions the principles of life, light and truth,
intelligence and salvation, to burst their fetters, liberate the oppressed,
reclaim the wandering, correct their views, improve their morals, and lead
them to light, life, truth and celestial glory. Do not your spirits cooperate
with mine? I know they do. Do you not say, "Go, my husband; go, my father,
fulfill your mission, and let God and angels protect you and restore you safe
to our bosoms." I know they do.
Our separations here tend to make us more appreciative of each other's
society. A few more separations and trials, a few more tears, a few more
afflictions, and the victory will be ours. We'll gain the Kingdom, possess the
crown, inherit eternal glory, associate with the Gods, soar amidst the
intelligences of heaven; and with the noble, the great, the intellectual, the
virtuous, the amiable, the holy, possess the reward held in reserve for the
righteous, and live and love forever.
Taylor dispatched a wagonload of sugar, coffee and tea to his
families, for sale in the valley, saying, "I wish you all to have
everything to make you comfortable." He sailed on the Jacob A.
Westervelt, arriving at Liverpool 27 May 1850, and the following month
went to France.
I arrived at the town of Boulognesurmer, in company with Curtis E.
Bolton, John Pack, and W Howell, for the purpose of preaching the
principles of the Everlasting gospel. Soon after our arrival I published two
communications in the Boulogne Interpreter, giving an account of the visit of
the Angel to Joseph Smith, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and the
first principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These were published in both
French and English.
 I also took a hall in the central part of town , for the purpose of delivering a course of
lectures, and gave a public notice in handbills and in the newspaper . . . .
Several Protestant priests from England commenced to annoy us, and wanted
to create a disturbance in the meeting; but I would not allow it . . . . These
insolent men . . . followed me in the streets . . . . They stated that "Joe"
Smith was an impostor, and they could prove it. I told them, . . . I cared
nothing for their opinionsthat I was personally acquainted with Joseph
Smiththat he was a gentleman, and would not treat a stranger as they had
treated methat I wished no further conversation with them . . . .
On the 4th of July we received the following note:
Sirs, The extraordinary nature of your pretensions and announcements made
us desirous of having their validity and truth inquired into . . . . We
address to you this respectful public challenge, to meet us in open and public
The three ministers, C. W. Cleeve, James Robertson, and Philip
Cater, challenged the sincerity of Joseph Smith ("Was he a truthful and
honest man, or a blasphemous and daring imposter?"), the validity of the
Book of Mormon ("Is it not a stupid and ignorant farago of nonsense?"),
and "Yourselves! The pretended facts of your direct appointment by God,
to preach what you call the Gospel."
I must say that I considered the note too ungentlemanly, abusive, and
insulting to be deserving of notice. I should have considered it and its
authors worthy only of contempt, had I been in a place where I was known. As
it was, . . . I thought it best to . . . meet them on their own ground.
 I would here remark, however, that I do not consider an elder is
responsible for anything but the doctrine that he preaches . . . . The eternal
truths of heaven are independent of the conduct of any man. Two and two are
four, whether I am a good man or not; three and five will never make seven,
however, good and virtuous the man who utters it. The Gospel that was taught
by Jesus is true, whoever teaches it. The systems of men, which are contrary
to the scriptures, are not true, nor are they the Gospel, however, pious and
sanctimonious the man who teaches them.
The parties agreed to a debate of three nights. The Rev. C. W.
Cleeve opened the first discussion.
He cited Mr. Taylor and his friends, not as teachers of any form of
Christianity, but as emissaries and advocates of the vilest imposture since
the days of Mahomet;... and it became the duty of everyone to expose its
audacious and fatal errors.
The first question of discussion is: Was Joseph Smith an imposter? For if
he was, there was an end of Mormonism . . . .
Elder TaylorGentlemen and Christian friends, I have listened to some
strange remarks and infamous statements, . . . the which, if the thousandth
part were true, I should not have been here; and I think that before I get
through I shall be able to shew that we are not such daring imposters, nor
blasphemersthat we are not so corrupt, nor are we the immoral, degraded and
polluted wretchesthat the gentleman would represent us to be; but that our
doctrine is as scriptural, that our conduct is as moral, and our lives as
virtuous as his or his friends .... And let me remark that such foul
aspersions and bitter language would better become other lips and another
profession than that of my Reverend friend . . . . Neither do I consider that
the foundation of eternal truth rests upon  the character of any man,
much less upon false reports, newspaper stories, and the unauthenticated
statements of wicked and corrupt men . . . . (3)
I have heard a great deal said about Joseph Smith and his character. I
was intimately acquainted with the late Joseph Smith and know that the
statements made by Mr. Cleave are untrue. I have been with Mr. Smith for
years; I have travelled with him; I have been with him in public and in
private, at home and abroad; I was with him living, and when he diedwhen he
was murdered in Carthage Jailand I can testify that he was a virtuous,
moral, highminded man . . . .
Regarding the authors of the three unfriendly books, "I happen to be
acquainted with them," Taylor said, and knew of the circumstances in
which they formed their opinions.
But what has opinion to do with truth? It was the opinion of men, in
every age of the world, that the prophets were imposters, and they killed them
because of their belief. They were whipped, tried, tempted, torn asunder . . .
. And why? Because it was the opinion of the people that they were wickedand
the opinion, generally, of the most learned and pious. Hence, the Jews killed
their prophets, beheaded John the Baptist, crucified the Messiah, and
persecuted His Apostles; and the Chief Priests, Rabbis and Doctors were
foremost . . . .
These infamous lies and obscene stories , however,
have been found very palatable to a certain class of society, and in times of
our persecutions multitudes were pleased with them. Hence, not only did it
suit the inclinations of these gentlemen above alluded to, but preying upon
the cupidity of the uninformed, they made a very lucrative business of their
disgusting traffic, and sold it to the world garnished with the names of
Doctor Bennett, the Rev. Mr. Turner, the  Rev. Mr. Caswall, and numbers
of other reverends, associates of blacklegs and murderers. Hence we have awful
disclosures! terrible iniquity! horrid blasphemy! ornamented and dressed off
by the aforesaid reverends, and rewritten, republished, and circulated by
their brethren in this country. (Mr. Cleeve, I could furnish you with
thousands of such statements, if they are of any use to you.)
I say now, as I said before, that reports have nothing to do with truth;
and I will say, moreover, that public opinion has very little to do with it.
The testimony of Noah was just as true, although rejected by the
Antediluvians, as that of Jonah when all the inhabitants of Ninevah repented
in sackcloth and ashes. And Jesus's testimony was just as true, when they
cried, "Crucify him! crucify him!" . . . as when the people strewed branches
in the way and spread their garments for him to ride over, and cried,
"Hosannah! blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!" And St. Paul's
testimony was just as true, when he was stripped and imprisoned, as when the
people of Lycaonia said, concerning him and Barnabas, "The Gods have come down
to us in the likeness of men," and would have worshipped them.
Truth has always been opposed by the children of men. It comes in
. . . corrupt hearts and wicked practices . . . . And instead
of meeting what they call error with the scriptures, and testing it with the
touchstone of truth, . . . they substitute vituperation, scandal, persecution
and abuse; . . . they tread in the steps of their venerable predecessors, the