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



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Young to be church president. Taylor believed that the Twelve should lead

the church, under direction of the president of the quorum. (See

Stenhouse, who says that Brigham never forgave Taylor's opposition at

this time.) Taylor himself didn't mention the incident, nor did he ever

refer to the fact that while he and Brigham worked together, they weren't

friends.

(9) President Polk's primary aim in enlisting the Mormon Battalion

was "to conciliate" the Saints, "and prevent them from assuming a hostile

attitude toward the U.S. after their arrival in California." See Diary of

James K. Polk, June 1846.

(10) MS, Nov. 1 and 15, 1846. Taylor subsequently learned that the

two advance companies had been recalled, due to a power struggle (the

authority of the Twelve being questioned by some members). As a result,

no advance preparation had been made for crossing the plains the

following spring.

(11) The dialogue between Mormon and Gentile, with the latter

invariably vanquished, was a favorite literary device of Taylor and other

brethren of the day.

[105] Chapter 7

THE JOINT STOCK SCANDAL

The primary purpose of the apostolic mission to England had been to

straighten out the financial scandal of the British and American

Commercial Joint Stock Company, an enterprise fostered by the presidency

of the British Mission. John Taylor reported:

Before we left , it was revealed to the authorities that

the presidency in England was in transgression, and that it was necessary some

of the Twelve should proceed immediately to England. Elders O. Hyde, P. P.

Pratt, and myself were appointed on this mission.


As we journeyed, we felt the Spirit moving us forward, so much so that

when Elder Hyde and myself were in New York, and Elder Pratt in Boston, we

thought it expedient, rather than wait two or three days for him, to proceed

immediately to Liverpool. We found, on our arrival, that we had not come away

too soon. The teachers of the people were under transgression, they were

corrupt; they were acting dishonorably and dishonestly, under false pretences;

stripping the poor of their last pittance, and yet those wanton profligates

professed that they were doing the will of God, while they, under the cloak of

religion, were reveling in debauchery, drunkenness, and fraud . . . .

This being the situation of these men, it could not but be expected that

the streams should be more or less contaminated with their influences . . . .

In fact, the whole head was sick and the whole heart faint; and had it [106]

not been that the Saints were in possession of the truth and verity of the

work, they might all have made a shipwreck of faith . . . . (1)

Original concept for the Joint Stock Company had come from Brigham

Young, who wrote Reuben Hedlock, president of the church in England,

advising him to unfurl your flag on your shipping office . . . . Ship

everybody to America you can get the money forSaint and sinnera

general shipping office . . . .

We will bytheby have offices from the rivers to the ends of the earth,

and we will begin at Liverpool from this time and increase and increase and

increase the business of the office as fast as it can be done in safety, and

circumstances will permit. (2)

Apostle Wilford Woodruff was president of the mission when he and

his counselors, Hedlock and Thomas Ward, launched the Joint Stock Company

during general conference at Manchester in April, 1845. (3)

The project was typical of cooperative enterprises undertaken by the

Saints since the foundation of the church. That it got out of hand was no

reflection on its original concept.

The Joint Stock Company planned to finance through stock sales an

organization which would engage in trade, manufacturing, shipping, and

the passage of emigrants to America. It would establish factories in the

United States, the machinery being made by British Saints, transported in

company ships, installed and operated by skilled LDS emigrants. On the

return trip to England, ships would carry produce and meat at low prices.

[107]


The company was capitalized at œ30,000 with 60,000 shares at 10s,

sold one shilling down and eighteen months of easy payments.




After Woodruff left for Nauvoo the following January, the project

soon degenerated under Hedlock and Ward. When Brigham Young received a

letter from Ward complaining of Hedlock's business methods and his

involvement with "the rascally brokers of Liverpool," the Twelve took

immediate action.

Camp of Israel, Council Bluffs, July 16, 1846.

The Twelve in council, this day, voted that Reuben Hedlock, and Thomas

Ward, be disfellowshipped until they shall appear before the Council and make

satisfaction for their repeated disregard of Council. (4)

The three Apostles left Winter Quarters 31 July. When the Patrick

Henry docked at Liverpool 3 October, Taylor and Hyde went directly from

the ship to the palatial offices of the British and American Commercial

Joint Stock Company in the Stanley Building, where they interviewed Ward

and discovered that Hedlock had fled. That very day the Apostles issued a

circular scheduling a conference at Manchester, and meanwhile warning the

Saints:

Beloved Brethren: . . . We would advise the Saints... to patronize the



"Joint Stock Company" no more for the present. That is an Institution wholly

independent of the Church, and we do not wish to see a religions influence

enforced upon the Saints, to draw money from them, with the ostensible design

of conveying them to another country; when indeed, that money is applied to

purposes . . . .

[108] There are two ways of transacting businessone is with prudence and

economy, and another is with a wasteful prodigality. At our conference, proper

instructions will be given the Saints upon all these matters . . . .

Orson Hyde took over the editorship of the Millennial Star, advising

that "The Spirit of God never sent forth men to preach `Joint Stockism;'

neither did it ever inspire the hearts of our elders to proclaim it." (5)

Following the conference, Taylor and Hyde wrote to Brigham Young.

Prest. Young, . . . We found that money was daily coming in to the Joint

Stock Co., and that it was received by a set of men who ate and drank it up

and squandered it away as fast as it came in. The poor Saints were laying up

their pennies, their sixpences, their shillings, etc. . . . thinking that they

were paying their passage to America . . . .

Having ascertained that of the œ1,500 paid in to the Company nearly every

pound had been squandered and lost to irresponsible favoritesand that the


expenses of the Company were running on at the rate of œ300 annual salaries to

its officersœ100 annual rent, besides stationery, clerks, etc., and at the

same time not any business done at all, . . the officers had given

no bonds or security, but could dispose of the funds as they thought proper,

and no one responsible. (6)

Out of nearly œ700 worth of books, etc., in the office when Br. Woodruff

left, we found little more than œ100 worth on hand of the most unsalable kind.

The office was in debt to the printer of the Star œ50, and to the book bindery

œ30and nearly all the money collected except some bad

debts that can never be collected. Every department was run into debt just as

far as it could be. We met with Ward and his [109] associates on the same

afternoon and heard their stories . . . . They tried to pull the wool over our

eyes and represent the Joint Stock Company as the only power to redeem Israel

. . . .


Hedlock had got œ400 Joint Stock money by loanhad run into debt . . .

about œ900had used all his presidential power and influence to borrow money

of the Saints to a large amount, many hundred poundsand had run away. Ward

says he obeyed Hedlock as the president of the Church here and let him have

money when he wanted it.

We issued our Circular . . . on the same day we landed, and before we

slept, they were over the greater part of England. This dried up the stream of

money that had been flowing in very speedily; . . . and on the sixth day,

Sunday, before the whole Church in Liverpool, we drew our long swords upon

them . . . .

The letter was frankly critical of Woodruff's misplaced trust in

Hedlock and Ward.

Why Bro. Woodruff appointed Hedlock to preside over the Church in England

after knowing his works were in the darkand that the Spirit was not with

himafter knowing him to be a selfish wicked man and unwilling to open his

heart or his books to him; or why he should suffer Ward to be the president of

that Company when he knew him to be next door neighbor to a confirmed sot or

drunkard and unworthy of any trust whatever, I cannot say, but it . . . has

involved us, assuredly, if not the whole Church, in the worst possible

difficulty . . . .

We have dissolved the Joint Stock Company by the law of the Realm. Our

Conference went off with a heavenly influence. (7)

After hunting up Hedlock in London, where he was living incognito

and consorting [110] with a woman outside the marriage relation, Taylor




reported to the editor of the Star:

SirI think it due to the public to state my feelings frankly in

relation to certain things that have transpired. . . . The Saints in this

country have had almost unlimited confidence in Elder Hedlock, thinking that

he was the representative of the Twelve here . . . .

I am very sorry to find that Elder Hedlock has descended so far from his

high and holy calling as to betray the confidence placed in him, and to sell

his birthright for a mess of pottage . . . . Elder Hedlock might have occupied

an high and exalted situation in the church, both in time and in eternity; but

he has . . . bartered the hope of eternal life with crowns, principalities,

powers, thrones, and dominions, for the gratification of his own sensual

appetites . . . .

Having heard that he was in the city of London, I visited him . . . for

the purpose of seeing what his views, feelings, and designs were. He professed

to be very honest, but unfortunate; he said that he was willing to render an

account of everything. I asked him for an order for twenty pounds that was due

to him in Liverpool (as he was very much indebted to the church.) He said he

would give it to me, or anything else that I wished. I obtained an order and a

stamp receipt for the same, and forwarded it to Liverpool; but by the same

mail, an order was sent to the same firm, ordering them not to

pay it. From this proceeding it was evident that he wished to act

dishonorably, and I thought it a duty devolving upon me, to give this

information to the brethren, lest they might hereafter be deceived by him. (8)

Hedlock was cut off the church. Ward died shortly thereafter. Taylor

and Hyde reported to Brigham Young:

[111] The cloud is passing off, and the attention of the elders will be

designated to the preaching of the gospel and not Joint Stockism. Many are

beginning to be baptized, and good feelings to be restored . . . . We hope to

sail in Jan. for home if we can raise money enough to do it. (9)

There was one more task to perform before leaving England.

Destination of the Saints at Winter Quarters was still under discussion.

Taylor, Hyde and Pratt published a memorial to the Queen of England,

asking government sponsorship of Mormon migration to British territory at

Vancouver's Island and Oregon.

A copy of this petition which we intend to present to her Majesty is

inserted in this number of the Star. We shall send blank sheets to the

presiding Elders of each conference, requesting them to get thereon all the

signatures they can, and forward same to us . . . .




Brethren and sisters, do you wish to emigrate? If you do, get your names

placed upon the paper . . . . (10)

It took little urging to obtain signatures from povertystricken

members of the working class, to which most of the Saints belonged, for a

petition asking free land and free transportation. When presented, the

memorial was 168 feet long, containing more than 1,200 names.

May it please your Majesty:

. . . Your memorialists are moved to address your Majesty by the

unexampled amount of abject, helpless, and unmerited misery which at present

prevails among the labouring classes of this country . . . . The sufferings

and destitution of these portions of your Majesty's subjects have . . .

reached a point at which it has become the duty [112] of all ranks to use

every constitutional means for their relief and remedy . . . .

feel convinced that Emigration to some portion of your Majesty's

vacant territories is the only permanent means of relief left to a rapidly

increasing population. . . .

If a part of the poor and destitute . . . were sent to the Island of

Vancouver, or to the great territory of Oregon, through your Majesty's

gracious interference and Royal aid, they might there find a field of labour

and industry, in which, after a short period, they could not only benefit

themselves, but open an effectual door for the interchange of commodities with

the home country, having brought into cultivation the soil that now lies

untenanted, and thus indirectly raise a revenue that would more than balance

the expenditure of the present migration.

It is now fully settled and determined that Vancouver's Island, with a

large portion of the Oregon territory on the Great Pacific Coast, belongs to

your Majesty's Empire. Their fine and extensive fisheriestheir safe and

commodious natural harbours for shipsthe salubrity of their climate, and

their remarkable similarity to the climate of the south of Englandall . . .

offer strong inducements to the surplus population of England to make that

delightful section their future home . . . .

Your memorialists are no less aware than your Majesty, that the

government of the United States is doing much to favour the settlement of its

territories on the Western Coast, . . . and enlarge their possessions in the

West . . . . Will not your Majesty look well to British interests in those

regions, and adopt timely and precautionary measures to maintain a balance of

power in that country . . . .




John Taylor obtained an audience with the Earl of Dartmouth, to gain

his support, during which the memorial

[113]

. . . was supplemented by the suggestion that the government survey its



American Pacific Coast possession, to which prospective emigrants might go,

into townships to be subdivided into sections, on the even numbers of which

the emigrants might settle, the government retaining the odd numbers until

such time as the improvements of the settlers would give such advanced values

to the retained government sections as would repay the government for present

expenditure in giving free passage by government aid to emigrants desirous of

going to those lands. (11)

Full of enthusiasm for the plan, Taylor composed a song, to the tune

of Auld Lang Syne.

Lines written while proceeding by the train from Edinburgh to Glasgow,

December 17th, 1846, and sung by him at the Glasgow Soiree, December 18th:

Eureka! now we've found the tree;

The balmthe heavenly boon;

That will the Saints and nations bless,

And perfect them in one.

Chorus:


Then since our God has made us one,

And planted freedom's tree,

We'll taste its bud, but eat the fruit,

In California . . . .

And if we to Vancouver go,

And dwell on Britain's isle

We'll visit those we used to know,

On Zion's heavenly hill.

For there upon the mountain's top,

The house of God shall stand:

And to it all the nations flow,

From every sea and land.

[114]

The shamrock, thistle, leek and rose,



That bloom so fresh and fair,

Shall planted be, around the tree,

And of its fragrance share.


Then hail Columbia's happy shore,

And hail the British laws;

God save the Queen, and every King,

Who favours Zion's cause. (12)

However, the memorial to Queen Victoria received scant attention in

an English parliament beset with depression, unrest, and serious

political problems.

Taylor and Parley Pratt set sail for home on the America in late

January, 1847. Among the fourteen LDS passengers were five lovely girls,

Martha Monks, Ann Agatha Walker, and three Whitaker sisters, Harriet,

Sophia, and Elizabeth. Martha and Ann were to become plural wives of

Parley, while Taylor was to marry Sophia and Harriet. (13)

After setting sail, the ship encountered a violent storm. After nine

days it was forced back to Liverpool Harbor to await better weather.

During the lull, Taylor addressed the Saints:

. . . I have frequently had it on my mind . . . to write an article for

the Star on the subject of Priesthood, but could not do it for want of time;

but now, . . having a few moments of leisure, I improve it for that purpose.

What is Priesthood? It is the government of God, whether on the earth or

in the heavens, for it is by that power, agency, or principle that all things

are governed on the earth and in the heavens . . . . It is the power of God

[115] delegated to intelligences in the heavens and to men on the earth; and

when we arrive in the celestial kingdom of God, we shall find the most perfect

order and harmony existing; . . and when . . . God's kingdom comes on the

earth, and His will is done here as in heaven, then, and not until then, will

universal love, peace, harmony and union prevail . . . .

To bring about this desirable endto restore creation to its pristine

excellency and to fulfil the object of creationto redeem, save, exalt, and

glorify manto save and redeem the dead and the living . . . is the design

and object of the establishment of the priesthood on the earth in these last

days . . . .

There are different callings, and offices, and stations, and authorities

in the holy priesthood, but it is all the same priesthood; . . it is the same

government; and all the priesthood are agents in that government; and they are

dependent one upon another, and the eye cannot say to the ear I have no need

of thee, nor the head to the foot, I have no need of thee. It is for everyone

to abide in the calling whereunder he is called, and magnify his office and

priesthood . . . .




I have noticed some in my travels, those who, like the disciples of Jesus

of old, evince a great desire for power, and manifest a very anxious

disposition to know who among them shall be the greatest. This is folly, for

honor proceeds not from office, but by a person magnifying his honor and

calling. If we have any honor proceeding from or through the priesthood, it

comes from God, and we certainly should be vain to boast of a gift when we

have no hand in the gift, only in receiving it . . . .

It is not the being an eye or ear that make these members honourable, but

the seeing and hearing; and a well foot is certainly much more valuable to the

body than a blind eye, a deaf ear, or a dumb mouth; and a priest, a deacon, or

a teacher who magnifies his office, is much [116] more honourable than an

elder, high priest, or an Apostle who does not . . . .

Taylor pointed out that despite the truths in the Bible, the Book of

Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants, the scriptures must be

supplemented by continual revelation.

These books are good for example, precedent, and investigation, and for

developing certain laws and principles. But they do not, they cannot, touch

every case required to be adjudicated and set in order. We require a living

treea living fountain, living intelligenceproceeding from the living

priesthood in heaven through the living priesthood on earth . . . . And from

the time that Adam first received communication from God, to the time that

John, on the island of Patmos, received his communication, or Joseph Smith had

the heavens opened to him, it always required new revelations, adapted to the

peculiar circumstances in which the churches or individuals were placed . . .

.

I speak of as I would of children's schoolbooks, which a



child studies to learn to read; but when it has learned . . . can dispense

with. But I would here remark that we are most of us children as yet, and,

therefore, require to study our books. If there are any, however, who think

themselves men, let them show it, not by vain glory or empty boast, but by

virtue, meekness, purity, faith, wisdom, intelligence and knowledge, both of

earthly and heavenly things. (14)

The thirtysix day voyage of the America from Liverpool to New

Orleans became a honeymoon cruise for two couples. John Taylor married

Sophia Whitaker, and her sister Elizabeth became the bride of Joseph

Cain, Parley Pratt performing the ceremonies.

[117]

As the America lay at anchor in heavy fog at the Mississippi delta,




waiting for clear weather to cross the bar, Taylor wrote another letter

of counsel to the British Saints:

Ship America, mouth of the Mississippi River

March 13th, 1847.

. . . As I had no time before I left England, I now wish to say a few

words to the Saints . . . by way of caution. Because you have been deceived by

your former leaders, do not mistrust those you have now, but let them have

your confidence and your prayers . . . . You, some of you, may have suffered

in a pecuniary point of view, but you have learned a lesson worth a great deal

more than your money; and salvation and intelligence pertaining to the kingdom

of God is not to be compared with pounds, shillings, and pence . . . . It is

necessary that we should be tried, that, like Jesus, we may be made perfect

through sufferings.

You will find us ever watchful over your interests as we have been; if

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