The John Taylor Papers, by Samuel W. & Raymond W. Taylor Volume I, The Apostle

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out a few miserable minions and renegades for the purpose of provoking a

collision. These men not only acted infamously here, but published false

statements throughout the United States, and every kind of infamy . . . was

laid at the door of the Mormons . . . .

We were well informed as to the object of the coming of the army..We had

men in all of the camps, and knew what was intended. There was a continual

boast among the men and officers, even before they left the Missouri River, of

what they would do with the Mormons. The houses were picked out that certain

persons were to inhabit. Farms, property and women were to be distributed.

"Beauty and booty" were their watchwords. We were to have another grand Norman

conquest, and our houses, gardens, orchards, vineyards, fields, wives and

daughters were to be the spoils . . . .

[210] I know what your feelings are. We have been persecuted and robbed long

enough; and, in the name of Israel's God, we will be free! I feel to thank God

that I am associated with such men, with such a people, where honesty and

truth dwell in the heartwhere men have got a religion that they are not

afraid to live by, and that they are not afraid to die by; and I would not

give a straw for anything short of that . . . .

I do not care anything about shooting; I have been shot. Neither do I

care anything about dying; for I could have died many a time . . . . But I do

care about those principles of truth which I have received; and I would not

exchange my position for that of any emperor, king, or potentate in any nation

under heaven . . . .

The great God has set His hand to roll forth His purposes; and the hand

that opposes it shall be palsied. The power of God shall be felt among the

nations that reject the truth . . . . God will put a hook in the jaws of our

enemies and turn them aside. And the day is not far distant when empires will

crumble to pieces and the hand of God be against the nations; and they will

know that there is a God in heaven, and a hand that is stronger than theirs.


In a "Proclamation by the Governor," Brigham Young warned that "We

are invaded by a hostile force."

Our opponents have availed themselves of prejudice existing against us,

because of our religious faith, to send out a formidable host to accomplish

our destruction. We have had no privilege or opportunity of defending

ourselves from the false, foul and unjust aspersions against us before the

nation . . . . We are condemned unheard, and forced to an issue with an armed

mercenary mob, which has been sent against us at the instigation of anonymous

letter writers, of corrupt officials, and of hireling priests and howling

editors, who prostitute the truth for filthy lucre's sake.

[211] The issue which has thus been forced upon us compels us to resort to the

great first law of selfpreservation, and stand in our own defense, a right

guaranteed to us by the genius of the institutions of our country, and upon

which the government is based. Our duty to ourselves, to our families,

requires us not to tamely submit to . . . usurpation, tyranny and oppression.

Therefore I, Brigham Young, governor and superintendent of Indian affairs

for the Territory of Utah, forbid:

FirstAll armed forces of every description from coming into this

Territory, under any pretense whatever.

SecondThat all the forces in said Territory hold themselves in

readiness to march at a moment's notice to repel any and all such invasion.

ThirdMartial law is hereby declared to exist . . . .

The army, under command of Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, was

encamped on the Green River at Ham's Fork, Wyoming, while awaiting orders

for the invasion.

Captain R. B. Marcy of the 5th Infantry wrote from there to "Rev.

John Taylor," 13 October 1857.

Herewith I take the liberty of sending you a letter from our mutual

friend, W.J.A. Fuller, of New York City. I also beg leave to trouble you with

the accompanying note of introduction to Governor Young from Mr. W.I. Appleby,

which I will thank you to read to the governor at your convenience . . . .

Suffer me to assure you that within the circle of my observation among

the officers of this army, there has not been the slightest disposition to

meddle with or in any way interfere with the religious or social customs of

your people; on the contrary, there has, from the commence[212]ment of our

march, been an almost universal manifestation of a desire of a kind and

friendly intercourse; and I most sincerely hope that this desirable result may

be brought about.

"I can readily believe your statement that it is very far from your

feelings," Taylor replied, "to interfere with our social habits or

religious views."

However, it is not with the personal character, the amiable qualities,

hightoned feelings, or gentlemanly deportment of the officers in your

expedition that we at present have to do. The question that concerns us is one

that is independent of your personal, generous, friendly and humane feelings .

. . .

Excuse me, sir, when I say that you are merely the servants of a

lamentably corrupt administration, that your primary law is obedience to

orders, and that you come here with armed foreigners, with cannons, rifles,

bayonets and broadswords expressly and for the openly avowed purpose of

"cutting out the loathsome ulcer from the body politic . . . ."

In regard to our religion, it is perhaps unnecessary to say much, yet

whatever others' feelings may be about it, with us it is honestly a matter of

conscience. This is a right guaranteed to us by the Constitution of our

country; yet it is on this ground, and this alone, that we have suffered a

continued series of persecutions, and that this present crusade is set on foot

against us.

In regard to this people, . . . if let alone they are the most patriotic,

and appreciate more fully the blessings of religious, civil, and political

freedom, than any other portion of the United States. They have,

however discovered the difference between a blind submission to the caprice of

political demagogues, and obedience to the Constitution, laws, and

institutions of the United States.

[213] Nor can they in the present instance be hoodwinked by the cry of

"treason." If it be treason to stand up for our Constitutional rights; if it

be treason to resist the unconstitutional acts of a vitiated and corrupt

administrationwho by a mercenary armed force would seek to rob us of the

rights of franchise, cut our throats to subserve their own party, seek to

force upon us their corrupt tools and violently invade the rights of American

citizensif it be treason to maintain inviolate our homes, our firesides, our

wives, and our honor, from the corrupting and withering blight of a debauched

soldiery;... then indeed we are guilty of treason.

We have carefully considered all these matters, and are prepared to meet

the "terrible vengeance" we have been very politely informed will be the

result of our acts. It is in vain to hide it from you that the people have

suffered so much from every kind of official that they will endure it no

longer . . . .

You will see by this that it would be literally madness for your small

force to attempt to come into the settlements. It would only be courting

destruction. But, say you: have you counted the cost? Have you considered the

wealth and power of the United States and the fearful odds against you? Yes,

and here let me inform you that if necessary we would as soon meet 100,000 as

1,000; and, if driven to the necessity, will burn every house, tree, shrub,

rail, every patch of grass and stack of straw and hay, and flee to the

mountains. You will then obtain a barren, desolate wilderness, but will not

have conquered the people . . . .

We may admire the capabilities, gentlemanly deportment, heroism and

patriotism of United States officers; but in an official capacity as enemies,

we would rather see their backs than their faces . . . .

If you have leisure I should be most happy to hear from you. You will, I

am sure, excuse me if I disclaim the [214] prefix of "Rev." to my name.

Address: John Taylor, Great Salt Lake City.

Taylor accompanied Lt. General Daniel H. Wells, commander of the

Nauvoo Legion, to set up headquarters in Echo Canyon. From Camp Echo he

forwarded a letter to Brigham Young.

The health of the camp is generally good and the brethren seem to

cultivate the spirit of the Lord. The feeling of the Saints is: if it is

peace, all rightand if war, we are on hand.

The defenses are progressing and active steps being taken to give our

enemies a warm reception, but we're inclined to believe that they are getting

converted to the same opinion, "that they ain't goodlooking and they can't

come in." (12)

The Mormons harassed the army by running off its livestock and

destroying its supplies. They burned Fort Bridger, and Fort Supply ahead

of the advancing troops.

In December, Taylor returned to Salt Lake for the convening of the

legislature. He, as speaker of the house, and Heber C. Kimball, president

of the council, signed a memorial from the legislature to the President

and Congress of the United States:

We appeal to you as American citizens, who have been wronged, insulted,

abused and persecuteddriven before our relentless foes from city to city,

from state to state, until we finally were expelled from the confines of

civilization to seek a shelter in a barren, inhospitable clime, amid the wild,

savage tribes of the desert plains. We claim to be a portion of the people,

and as such have rights that must be respected, and which we have a right to


[215] We claim that in a republican form of government, such as our fathers

established, and such as ours still professes to be, the officers are and

should be the servants of the peoplenot their masters, dictators and


To the numerous charges of our enemies we plead not guilty, and challenge

the world before any just tribunal to the proof . . . .

Try the of friendly intercourse and honorable dealing, instead

of foul aggression and war. Treat us as friendsas citizens entitled to and

possessing equal rights with our fellowsand not as alien enemies, lest you

make us such . . . .

All we want is truth and fair play. The administration has been imposed

upon by false, designing men. Their acts have been precipitate and hasty,

perhaps through lack of due consideration. Please let us know what you want of

us before you prepare your halter to hang, or "apply the knife to cut out the

loathsome, disgusting ulcer."

Do you wish us to deny our God and renounce our religion? That we shall

not do . . . .

Speaking to the Saints in the tabernacle, Taylor exhorted them to

have faith in the purposes of God.

What if we have to burn our houses? Why, set fire to them in good grace,

and dance a jig round them while they are burning. What do I care about such

things? We are in the hands of God, and all is right . . . .

I remember hearing a woman say in Missouri, "I'll be damned if I will

stand it any longer; for this is the fifth house the mob have burned down for

me in less than two years." Job did not feel so. He was severely tried; but

when he came down to sober reflection, he said in his heart, "The Sabeans may

take my asses, and the Chaldeans [216] may fall upon my servants and kill them

and steal my sheep, and my house be thrown down with the storm, and I may lie

in the ashes, and men that I would not associate with the dogs of my flocks

may wear away my life, and my body may go to dust; yet, though worms prey upon

it, in my flesh shall I see God. Naked I came into the world, and naked I

shall go out; blessed be the name of the Lord." Was not this a good feeling to

manifest? Let us try to imitate it and acknowledge the chastening rod of the

Almighty . . . .

Would you like the soldiers away? I do not know that I would. I do not

care anything about it. Perhaps the Lord may have hung them up there, like the

mother hangs up the rod and points to it. Does the mother want to hurt the

child? No. Neither does she want to be continually scolding . . . .

Who is there that can rise up and tell the destiny of this Church and

kingdom? Who is there, for instance, that can point out the bearings and the

operation of the soldiery that are now on our borders? Who can tell the Lord's

design in relation to these matters, and why it is that we are thus situated?

. . .

Could not the Lord control it otherwise? He could. Has He not the hearts

of all men in His keeping? Could He not roll them back very quickly? Yes; or

he could cause them to come on here. Why is it that He has allowed them to

come a certain distance, and kept them there, placing them like some of you

mothers do, when you hang up a rod that the children can see it? . . .

We are only little children now. This is the way I feel. I feel as a

little child, and I pray to God, "O God, expand my mind that I may understand

and comprehend the things of God, . . . and be able to comprehend the

blessings that we enjoy."

[217] Why, the kingdom of God is established, the Prophet of God and His

servants are among us, and we are now enjoying the very things that prophets

prophesied as they looked through the dark vista of ages unborn and

contemplated these blessings that we enjoy. They told about the time when the

kingdom of God would be established upon the earth, when He would restore the

ancient order of things, when His Spirit would be poured out, when light and

revelation would be communicated, when His purposes would be developed, and

when the little stone would be cut out of the mountain without hands. They

saw, in vision, that a little nucleus here in the mountains would arise, and

that the mountain of the Lord's house,would be established above the hills,

and that all nations should flock to the standard, as doves to their windows.

They saw the things in visions that we are now doing; they sang and

prophesied and rejoiced at what we have now commencedthe building up of the

kingdom of God . . . .

Why is it that we have been driven and afflicted and persecuted, and our

names cast out as evil, and that we have had to endure so many privations,

sufferings, toils, and hardships for the last twenty years? Who can solve

these questions? Who can enter into the secrets of the Most High and unravel

the mysteries that dwell in the mind of Jehovah? . . .

If the Lord can have a people to listen to His law, there might be a

chance to establish His kingdom upon the earth; if not, the only way He can

establish His kingdom is to remove them from the earth, or give up His kingdom

until another time; for it is impossible to establish His kingdom without

having a people obedient to Him . . . .

Now, let me ask how we are going to stand, except we are guided by the

revelations of God? And let me [218] further ask how you are going to get the

revelations of God, except you live your religion? . . .

As it regards His kingdom and purposes, I would rather risk His judgment

and plan than my own . . . . I will say, "It is the Lord, and let Him do what

seemeth Him good . . ." I feel that we are in the hands of God, and all is

right. (13)

Colonel Thomas L. Kane of Philadelphia, staunch friend of the

Saints, arrived by way of California to serve as mediator between the

U.S. President, Johnston's Army, the newlyappointed governor, Alfred

Cumming, and Brigham Young.

During Kane's negotiations with Governor Cumming and the army at

Ham's Fork, the "Move South" began. Taylor was busy packing up wagons and

nailing up his houses on Taylor Row, as his families joined the exodus.

The population of Salt Lake and all settlements north of Lehi abandoned

their homes and streamed south beyond the Point of the Mountain toward an

unknown destination, leaving a guard behind to scorch the earth in

advance of an invading army.

The New York Times reflected the wave of compassion that swept over

the nation in sympathy for a persecuted people:

Whatever our opinions may be of Mormon morals or Mormon manners, there

can be no question that this voluntary abandonment by 40,000 people of homes

created by wonderful industry, in the midst of trackless wastes, after years

of hardship and persecution, is something from which no one who has a particle

of sympathy with pluck, fortitude and constancy can withhold his admiration.

Right or wrong, sincerity thus attested is not a thing to be [219] sneered at.

True or false, a faith to which so many men and women prove their loyalty, by

such sacrifices, is a force in the world . . . .

We think it would be most unwise to treat Mormonism as a nuisance to be

abated by a posse comitatus. It is no longer a social excrescence to be cut

off by the sword; it is a power to be combated only by the most skillful

political and moral treatment. When people abandon their homes to plunge with

women and children into a wilderness, to seek new settlements they know not

where, they give a higher proof of courage than if they fought for them . . .


Were we not guilty of a culpable oversight in confounding their

persistent devotion with the insubordination of ribald license, and applying

to the one the same harsh treatment which the law intends for the latter

alone? Was it right to send troops composed of the wildest and most rebellious

men of the community, commanded by men like Harney and Johnston, to deal out

fire and sword upon people whose faults even were the result of honest

religious convictions? Was it right to allow Johnston to address letters to

Brigham Young, and through him to his people, couched in the tone of an

implacable conquerer toward ruthless savages? Were the errors which mistaken

zeal generates ever cured by such means as these? And have bayonets ever been

used against the poorest and weakest sect that ever crouched behind a wall to

pray or weep, without rendering their faith more intense, and investing the

paltriest discomforts with the dignity of sacrifice? . . . .

We can afford to be merciful . . . . Posterity must not have to

acknowledge with shame that our indiscretion, or ignorance, or intolerance,

drove the population of a whole state from house and home, to seek religious

liberty and immunity from the presence of mercenary troops. (14)


Through Colonel Kane's efforts, Governor Alfred Cumming agreed to

proceed without military escort to Salt Lake City to assume the duties of

his office. When the army subsequently arrived, it marched through the

city and set up garrison at Camp Floyd, some 40 miles away at Cedar


The Utah War was over. Taylor commented:

I do not remember having read in any history, or had related to me any

circumstance where an army has been subjugated so easily, and their power

wasted away so effectually without bloodshed, as this in our borders. If this

is not a manifestation of the power of God to us, I do not know what is. Has

any man's life been lost in it? Nonot one. It is true our brethren have been

fired upon; but their balls failed of doing the injury that was expected. Our

brethren were told not to retaliate, and they did not do it." Where is there

such a manifestation of the power of God? (15)

(1) Young to Taylor, 30 April 1855.

(2) In a subsequent letter, 25 July 1855, Brigham Young mentioned

that "Judge Drummond and lady" had arrived in Utah. At this time Mary Ann

had already been married several months.

(3) Drummond to U.S. AttorneyGeneral Jeremiah S. Black. 30 March


(4) Appleby to Taylor, 25 April 1857. The woman, introduced as the

former "Ada Carroll," was actually Mrs. Charles Fletcher of Baltimore.

She had deserted her husband to work in a Washington bordello, where

Drummond met her.

(5) JD 7:118 and 23:47.

(6) MS 56:389.

(7) JD 7:118.

[221] (8) JD 5:145.

(9) The Saints kept track of Drummond, who drifted into obscurity,

becoming a sewing machine salesman. Thirty years after arriving in Utah

as a member of the Supreme Court, he was jailed in Chicago for stealing

postage stamps to buy liquor. On 20 November 1888, he died in a Chicago

grogshop, a pauper.

(10) See Norman F. Furniss, The Mormon Conflict, 18501859; New

Haven, 1960. "Since Gentiles would not have accepted the rule of Brigham

Young, they assumed that the Mormons themselves were discontented with

the militant theocracy erected in a democratic nation. The Saints, these

nonMormons falsely reasoned, would not oppose the entrance of the army

into their Territory; rather they would welcome it with open arms as a

savior come to redeem them from a living hell. The introduction of

polygamy, it was further assumed, must have fatally cracked the unity of

the sect. There seemed to be a considerable amount of evidence to support

these misconceptions . . . of the Mormons dissatisfaction with Brigham

Young's satrapy . . . . A number of editors took up the refrain. Only an

occasional newspaper warned that the Mormons, by calling home their

farflung missions in San Bernardino and elsewhere, gave evidence of the

determined preparation for war."

(11) JD 9 August, 23 August, and 13 September, 1857; also

TaylorColfax Debate.

(12) 25 November 1857. Letter signed by Taylor, F.D. Richards, and

N.V. Jones.

(13) JD 20 September and 6 December 1957; 13 November 1859.

(14) John Taylor's families stopped at Provo. There, his wife Sophia

gave birth to a boy, named John W. Taylor and destined to become the

father of the authors.

(15) JD 6:112.

[222] Chapter 14


Johnston's Army evacuated Camp Floyd and marched off to the Civil

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