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



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purse or scrip on this journey. On leaving Nauvoo we saw Heber C. Kimball and

P. P. Pratt putting up a log house. Heber threw a purse to us, saying, "You

shall not go without a purse any longer;" and P. P. Pratt threw a half dollar

to put into it.

We afterwards met a brother, Zebedee Coltrin, who proposed taking us in

his wagon to the east, whose offer we gladly accepted. Some distance from

Nauvoo we met with Brother Miller, whom I had baptized some time

previously, who offered me a horse if I would accept it . . . . Another

brother by the name of Vance gave me a saddle and bridle. I then rode

my horse to Springfield, Illinois, where I got a brother to sell it, and with

the proceeds I published a short detail of our Missouri persecutions, in

pamphlet form.

This Short Account was the first published work of John Taylor's

prolific literary career. He appended a sardonic comment to the pamphlet:

"P.S. I wrote this article at the request of the Editor of the St. Louis

Gazette, but as he has refused to publish it, for reasons best known to

himself, I have taken this means to lay it before the public."

[41] Enroute to New York, Taylor had "enjoyed a tolerable degree of

health," in contrast to the afflictions of the other members of the

Twelve. However, after leaving Terre Haute, he was suddenly overtaken by

sickness.

I was attacked by violent fever, which took such hold upon my frame that




when I got out of the carriage . . . I dropped down senseless in the highway,

and it was some time before I recovered. Being determined, if possible to

proceed, I got into the vehicle and traveled on, but the next and following

day I dropped down in the road as before, and the last time it was with

difficulty I was restored to animation.

Finding it impossible to proceed, I tarried at a place called Germantown,

in the state of Indiana, where I was brought down to the gates of death

several times. I advised Brother Woodruff to leave me and pursue his journey.

"It was evident that Brother Taylor had a settled fever upon him,

and would not be able to travel," Wilford Woodruff recorded.

Father Coltrin was resolved to continue his journey, and, in conversing

with Brother Taylor, the latter thought it better for one sick man to be left

than for two, as I was so ill with chills and fever that I was not able to

render him any assistance, nor, indeed, to take care of myself. Under these

circumstances, Brother Taylor advised me to continue my journey with Brother

Coltrin, and make the best of my way to New York.

After committing Elder Taylor into the hands of the Lord, I gave him the

parting handthough painful to meand started.

[42] "Here I was among strangers, a distance of several hundred miles

from my home, with a most severe fit of sickness which reduced me almost

to a skeleton," Taylor said.

But I had confidence in God, and knew that he would deliver me.

I was very kindly nursed and cared for by the gentleman and

lady of the hotel where I stopped . . . . As I began to recover, I began to

preach in a courthouse near by, and, although I was capable of talking, I had

to sit part of the time during my discourses, as I was unable to stand. Great

crowds, however, flocked to hear. As I grew a little stronger, I preached in a

seminary close by, to large and attentive congregations . . . .

A gentleman called upon me one day, and begging to be excused for the

liberty which he was about to take, said, "Mr. Taylor, you do not act as most

preachers do; you have said nothing about your circumstances or money. Yet you

have been here some time sick and . . . your doctor's, hotel and other bills

must be heavy. I and some of my friends have been speaking about this matter,

and would like to assist you, but have been afraid of giving offense . . . ."

I thanked the gentleman kindly for his offer and told him that I preached

without purse or scrip, leaving the Lord to arrange these matters; and . . . I




should receive with gratitude what they felt disposed to give, and thank the

Lord and also them. This was really very opportune, for I needed it very much

to meet my expenses . . . .

After staying here about five weeks, I was so far recovered as to be able

to proceed. I took the coach, and traveled about 12 miles, and delivered a

lecture the same evening to a crowded congregation. Next day I travelled 40

miles to Dayton, Ohio, where I met with some brethren [43] that knew me. I

preached for them the day following, but the fatigue was too much for me, and

I was again taken sick, and lay there for three weeks . . . .

While there, Elders George A. Smith, Theodore Turley and one or two

others came along, with whom I went to Kirtland, Ohio, at which place I had

another relapse, and lay about three weeks longer. There I met elders Brigham

Young, Heber C. Kimball, Reuben Hedlock and others, who had overtaken me and

were going to start to New York.

I had been laboring under a very severe fever, but I felt determined,

sick or well, to proceed; so I started, and although I traveled a distance of

about 600 miles, night and day, with the exception of one night's rest, my

fever left me, and I did not experience any return of it . . . .

At New York, Taylor found Parley Pratt presiding over a large branch

and preparing his "Voice of Warning" and "Millennial Poems" for

publication.

He welcomed me to his house, and he and his good lady treated me with

every mark or kindness and respect. There I found Brother Woodruff, who had

been there some time and was prepared to leave for England . . . .

After paying my cab fare to Brother Pratt's house, I had just one cent

left. Several of the brethren inquired as to my circumstances. Not wishing to

plead poverty, I told them I had plenty of money.

Hearing this, Parley suggested that two or three hundred dollars

would be helpful to his publishing venture. Taylor gave him all he had,

"whereupon we had a hearty laugh."

At a council meeting that same evening Brother Pratt proposed that the

brethren assist me with means to [44] go to England as Brother Woodruff was

prepared and desirous to go. I thanked Brother Pratt for his kindness, but

told the brethren if they had anything to give, to let Brother Pratt have it,

as he had his family to provide for and needed means for publishing. . . . and

I would go when I got ready. After meeting, Brother Woodruff told me that he

regretted that I had taken such a course and refused the offer, as he had been


waiting for me and had engaged his passage.

I replied, "Well, Brother Woodruff, if you think it best for me to go, I

will accompany you."

"But," said he, "where will you get the means?"

I knew by the impression that I had that I could get it, and replied,

"Oh, there will be no difficulty about that. Go and take me passage on your

vessel, and I will furnish the means."

Brother Theodore Turley who was present, hearing this, and thinking, I

presume, that I had some resources unknown to them . . . said, "I wish I could

go with you. I would do your cooking or anything you wanted."

"Then, Brother Woodruff," said I, "take another passage for Elder Turley

and I will furnish you the means for him and me . . . ."

A brother who was waiting to take me home said, "Brother Taylor, I am

very sorry you did not accept the offer made you by Brother Pratt . . . . The

brethren would have assisted you and him also, and I myself would have given

you something . . . ."

"Well," said I, "I will accept what you proposed giving me, and as my way

opens I will go," upon which he handed me five dollars.

Next day I went to dine with another brother, and after I left he

followed me into the street and said, "Elder [45] Taylor, I feel as if I ought

to help you a little on your journey. I am only a poor man, but if five

dollars is of any service to you, I shall be pleased to give it." I thanked

him and accepted the money. The same evening I was invited to supper with a

few friends at Sister Simmon's, where for the first time I mentioned publicly

that I was going with Elder Woodruff. They replied, "we must assist you some

if you are going with him, as he starts in a few days," and they gave me ten

or twelve dollars.

In a day or two there was a meeting held in a large hall at which I

preached, bidding the people goodbye . . . . There was a very good feeling in

the meeting and the brethren flocked to me after it was over and shook hands

with me. In doing so, some put one dollar, some two dollars, some a half and

some a quarter of a dollar into my hand; and when I was through I found that I

had just enough to pay for the passage of Brother Turley and myself to

England, which I handed to Brother Woodruff to pay our fares. The brethren and

sisters of New York had supplied us with bedding, food and a very generous

outfit, and that left me to arrive in England as I started, without purse or




scrip. (1)

We arrived in Liverpool, after a pleasant voyage, on the 11th Jan. 1840,

from which place we proceeded to Preston, where we met with many Saints, who

rejoiced to see us . . . . We held a council, at which I was appointed to go

to Liverpool, and Elder Woodruff and Turley to go into the Potteries, and from

thence as their way might open. Elder Fielding accompanied me to

Liverpool, and we commenced our labours in this place . . . .

The first Sabbath we visited several places of worship. I asked liberty

to make a few remarks in one and had an opportunity of speaking in their

vestry to 18 or 20 preachers and leaders. While I was delivering my testimony,

some wept and others shouted Glory to God; others of them were hardened, and

raged against us . . . .

[46] We then took a room that would hold 400 or 500 people, and in the

meanwhile visited all that we could get access to. Our being in town soon got

rumored about, and I suppose about 300 attended our first meeting. In

preaching, the power of God rested upon the people, and on my asking them if

it was not good news they responded "yes"while many wept under the influence

of the spirit. After preaching, ten persons came forward to be baptized, some

of which felt convinced as soon as they saw us that we were men of God, and

others had dreamed about us . . . . Prejudice is fast giving way, and upwards

of 2000 Saints are now rejoicing in the truth. (2)

As secretary, John Taylor took the minutes of a meeting of the

Twelve at Preston, 14 April 1840, attended by Apostles Brigham Young,

Heber C. Kimball, P. P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff and George

A. Smith. Willard Richards was ordained to the office of an apostle, and

at this meeting Brigham Young was formally chosen as president of the

Twelve. After general conference, another council meeting was held the

following day.

Moved by Elder Young, sec'd by Elder Taylor, that Elder P. P. Pratt be

chosen as the Editor of the monthly periodical for the Church. Moved by Elder

Kimball, sec'd by P. P. Pratt that a committee of three be appointed to make a

selection of hymns. Moved by Elder Orson Pratt and sec'd by Elder Wilford

Woodruff, that Elders Brigham Young, P. P. Pratt, and John Taylor form the

committee for that purpose. Moved by Elder Willard Richards, sec'd by Elder G.

A. Smith, that the name of the paper, or periodical, be the "Latter Day Saints

Millennial Star". . . .

Moved by Elder J. Taylor, sec'd by Elder P. P. Pratt, that the copyright

of the book of Doctrine and Covenants, and the Book of Mormon, be secured as

quickly as possible. (3)


[47] As work on the hymn book and Book of Mormon progressed, Taylor wrote

Brigham Young at Manchester:

Liverpool, July 23, 1840

Dear Brother,

. . . The Book of Mormon is progressing. There are three forms out. I

have enclosed a pressed sheet that you may judge its appearance. I am going to

Ireland soonshall start I think on Mondayand wish you would let me know

about the proofs while I am absent . . . .

I have received a letter from Er Hedlock. He says the work is progressing

in Scotland. They have got the Spaulding story there, and also in Ireland. (4)

If you have any of Parley's tracts published, I wish you would send a few....

"I visited Ireland on the 27th of July, 1840," Taylor wrote, where

I planted the standard of truth in that nation . . . . I preached in the

Sessions House in Newry, being the first time that ever this Gospel was

declared in that land. I stayed there something over a week, and baptized two

before I left. (5)

It was not until thirty years after Taylor brought the gospel to

Ireland that he disclosed why his stay there was so short. An Irish elder

who accompanied him from Liverpool, Brother McGuffie, was a convivial

soul who when among friends on the old sod repeatedly became intoxicated,

embarrassing both Taylor and the gospel. (6)

Soon afterwards . . . I visited the Isle of Man, accompanied by Elder

Hyrum Clark, and preached in the town of Douglas, where I hired the Wellington

room, a large hall capable of containing one thousand persons, and commenced

delivering a course of lectures to attentive and respectable congregations.

[48] I had not proceeded above two or three nights before I was interrupted in

a very indecorous, antiChristian, and ungentlemanly manner by a party of

Primitive Methodist preachers, and a Wesleyan Methodist local preacher and had

it not been for some gentlemen present who interfered, who possessed more

prudence and discretion than religious bigotry, it would have been difficult

to prevent an indignant public from putting them out of doors. (7)

The Manx Liberal reported the controversy, Oct. 4, 1840:

"On Friday evening last, while Mr. Taylor, who professes to be a

missionary for the LatterDay Saints, was lecturing in the Wellington Market

Hall, in this town, he was interrupted in a very indecorous manner by a party




of Primitive Methodist preachers, and a young man of the name of Gill, who is

both an itinerant bookseller and a Wesleyan Methodist local preacher, who ever

and anon kept annoying him, until at the last they so far confused the meeting

as to stop the lecturer. There and then, in the fury of their zeal, they

appeared ready for combat, but certain individuals possessing more discretion

than religious intolerance quelled the rage of the `disorderlies,' and showed

the impropriety of such a proceeding by stating that the room was Mr.

Taylor'sthat they had met for the purpose of religious worship, and ought

not to be disturbedbut if they conceived that the speaker had advanced

anything contrary to the word of God, they had no doubt but that Mr. Taylor

would meet them if they appointed a time and place for public discussion . . .

.

"Next day Mr. Taylor received a letter from Mr. Hamilton, charging him



with having `misquoted the word of God; with having mutilated it, added to it,

and taken from it; with having uttered blasphemy; and with endeavoring to

decoy souls to perdition;' all of which Mr. H. declared himself ready to prove

if Mr. T. would meet him at 7 o'clock on Monday evening, in the Wellington

Market Hall."

[49] Regarding this challenge, Taylor reported:

It was so surcharged with calumny and vile abuse that if I had not been a

stranger there, and known that the public knew nothing about me, or my

principles, but what they obtained through a false medium, I should have

treated with contempt; as it was I submitted to it, not with a view of

having my principles investigated, for I knew they were out of the reach of

his critical acumennot to have him detect error, for I was aware that he was

utterly incapable of discerning the difference between truth and error; nor

had I the least idea of teaching him, for I felt convinced with Solomon, that

"a fool is wiser in his own eyes than seven men that can render a reason;" but

merely to remove public prejudice, and to let it be known that I courted

publicity and light, and was not afraid of bringing my principles to the

touchstone of truth.

The Manx Liberal reported that on Monday evening the large hall was

completely filled "by persons anxious to witness the coming conflict

betwixt the two champions." Each man was allowed an hour, with a half

hour for rebuttal..

All preliminaries being over and chairman chosen, Mr. H. was called to

defend his charges. He instantly arose and commenced his harrangue by shewing

what a clever fellow he had been, what he had done, and by inference, what he

was still able to do. He said that he once took part in a similar discussion,

and so effectual were the weapons of his oratory that his antagonist died


within three days, and that on a subsequent occasion he was equally

successful. This, as might be expected, raised some excitement in the meeting,

and created some alarm for the safety of his opponent, who seemed doomed to

fall beneath the fatal influence of his deathdealing logic. But as he

proceeded it soon became apparent that he was a mere [50] braggadocia,

possessing no qualifications save ignorance and presumption. His countenance

void of every trace of intelligencehis commonplace expressions abounding

with tautologythe stiffness of his attitudethe inaccuracy of his language

and the monotony of his toneall indicated his utter inability to effect his

purpose . . . . However, he managed to occupy his hour . . . but made not even

the most distant allusion in reference to the gross and unfounded charges he

had pledged himself to prove.

Mr. T. being called, rose, and expressed his surprise that no proof of

the charges laid against him had been attempted; but as he was allowed an

hour, he would have to irritate the example of his friend, and preach, too.

His opponent had said much about the gospel; he, too, believed it to be

the "power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;" but it was the

gospel of Jesus Christ, and not a part but the whole of the gospel. Mention

had been made of the different sections of the church; he did not believe that

the church of Christ was divided into sections. The Holy Spirit did not

inspire one party with one opinion and another party with another opinion; God

was not the author of confusion; there was one God, one faith, and one baptism

. . . .

Mr. Hamilton again rose, but utterly failed in his attempt to grapple



with the arguments of his opponent.... He said that baptism was performed in

different ways under different circumstances, that in countries where there

was little water, they dipped their fingers in a little cup; and that in

countries where there was no water, they baptized with oil!!!

"About which opinion," Taylor said in his account of the debate:

I had the hardihood to be a little skeptical despite his great

proficiency in historical lore; for I was foolish enough to wonder (as any old

woman would do who did not [51] possess the same knowledge of history as

himself) what they made use of as a beverage in that country!! as oil would

not be very palatable to drink at all times, and also what they cooked their

victuals with . . . .

On being asked his authority to preach, answered, "I sent myself." I

was led to tell him that I was of that opinion before, but that he had

confirmed my impression; that I thought from the beginning that God had

nothing to do with sending him out.


The Manx Liberal reported that Taylor's rebuttal was "not to defend

his principles for they had not been attached," but rather was "to

inflict deserved chastisement on the arrogant simpleton."

And this he did right well, for while poor Mr. Hamilton writhed beneath

his heavy flagellation, it was truly heartrending to witness his (Mr. H.'s)

agony. There he sat biting his lips, and shaking his head, and every muscle of

his distorted countenance seemed to implore the mercy of the meeting.

Mr. T. concluded his speech by affectionately exhorting Mr. H. to repent

and be baptized for the remission of sins, and then to enter by the door into

the sheepfold.

Preachers of other sects united against Taylor, because while he was

filling the large Wellington Market Hall until there was standing room

only, the churches of Douglas stood virtually empty. The ministers tried

to have Mormonism prohibited as illegal. Failing this, they attacked

Taylor with pamphlets and challenges to debate. Taylor reported:

The public began then to see that the doctrine of the LatterDay Saints

was not so awful and blasphemous as it [52] had been represented to be by some

of these pious men, which excited the jealousy of a Mr. Heys, a Wesleyan

Methodist superintendent preacher, whose craft was in danger . . . . He

commenced propagating falsehoods by publishing a statement purporting to be

made by Mr. Hale, Joseph Smith's fatherinlaw, professing to give an account

of the character of Smith and of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon . . .

. So for the benefit of the public, I published a counter statement . . . . He

then published another and vainly attempted to hide his shame, which was

replied to by me in a tract called, "Calumny Refuted and the Truth Defended."

He then published another, and I answered in one entitled, "Truth Defended,

and Methodism Weighed in the Balance and Found Wanting," (all of which may be

had at the "Star" office).

About the same time arose another defender of the faith, a Doctor Curran,

who attacked me in the public press, and I answered him through the same

medium, which may be seen in full in the Manx Sun and Liberal . . . .

I have often, sir, been surprised at the weakness of the arguments that

are made use of against us even by men of literary attainments, and of great

talent when employed in any other cause . . . . So out of their own mouths I

would condemn them.

The next person that arose was the Rev. Mr. Haining, an Independent

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