The Project Gutenberg EBook of Labors in the Vineyard, by Various This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org. If you are not located in the United States, you'll have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook. Title: Labors in the Vineyard Twelfth Book of the Faith-Promoting Series Author: Various Release Date: June 29, 2015 [EBook #49327] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK LABORS IN THE VINEYARD *** Produced by Shawnee Hawkes, Mormon Texts Project Intern (http://mormontextsproject.org/)
Designed for the Instruction and Encouragement of Young Latter-day Saints.
PUBLISHED AT THE JUVENILE INSTRUCTOR OFFICE,
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH.
The constantly increasing demand for the books of the FAITH-PROMOTING SERIES has induced us to prepare this little work, with the hope that it will prove no less interesting nor instructive than its predecessors. The fact that these publications are used in many Sunday schools with most excellent results and are read with avidity and interest by the young people in all parts of the territory, is an evidence to us that our labors are not in vain.
Some of the incidents narrated in this book are so miraculous that one is naturally led to exclaim, "truth is really stranger than fiction;" and occurring, as they have done, in the experience of our faithful Elders, they have a double interest for young Latter-day Saints, and will surely be the means of strengthening the faith of all those who expect to participate in the glorious labors that devolve upon this people. Such examples, too, as are herein presented will, undoubtedly, have the effect to instil a proper amount of righteous ambition into the minds of the young, thus causing them to exercise talents which are designed, if properly used, to make of them noble men and women.
If this book should be a means of instructing or encouraging any person, and thereby prompting him to do good, the object for which it was prepared will have been attained, and a reward will have been given to.
Called on a Mission—Start for my Field of Labor—Difficulties on the Way—Travelling in Deep Snow—Reach the Platte River—Procure a New Outfit—Exposed to the Cholera—Attacked by the Plague—My Recovery—Arrival at Albany, N.Y.—Take Passage on a Steamer for New York City—Incidents on the Way.
Set Sail from New York—Arrive in Liverpool—Sent to Labor as a Travelling Elder—Prayers Answered—Called to Preside Over a Conference—Blessed Abundantly with the Holy Spirit—Procure a Hall to Preach in—Mobbed—Effects of my Preaching—Treated with Courtesy—Organize a Branch of the Church in the Town where I was Mobbed—Make Another Appointment to Preach in a Different Town—Send for Help—Speakers Interrupted—Audience Quieted by me Singing a Comic Song—Prejudice Allayed—a Lesson Learned.
An Amusing Episode—Obtain the Keys of a Church—Notify the People That a Meeting Will be Held in it—A Good Turn Out—My Companion Preaches while I, Disguised as a Police, Guard the Door—Excitement Aroused—Controversy With a Minister—An Anti-"Mormon" Meeting Held—I Attend—Reply to the Ministers' Attempts to Expose "Mormonism"—My Escape from the Building—Saved by an Infidel—Prosperity of the Work—Remarkable Healings—A Prediction Uttered and Fulfilled—My Return Home—Contrast Between the Condition of the Saints now and that of Thirty Years Ago.
Manner in which the Gospel is Preached—My Labors in England—Called to Switzerland—Join my Companion and Take Passage to France—Proceed to Switzerland—Meet Elders in Geneva—Our Fields of Labor Assigned us.
Arrival in Berne—Its Principal Objects of Interest—Go to Weiningen, Where I Remain to Study German—Sketch From my Journal—Hunted by Mobs—Interviewed by the Mayor.
Letter from Elder Secrist—Ordered to Zurich—Arrested and Imprisoned in a Filthy Dungeon—Taken to Better Quarters—Released.
Progress in Learning to Speak German—Communication From the British Ambassador—Notified to Leave Zurich—Go to Schaffhausen—The Falls of the Rhine—Unable to Obtain Permission to Remain in the Canton—Seek Another Place of Retreat—Lodge with a Family of Saints—Difficulty in Keeping Secluded—Called to Geneva—Return to England.
Traditions of the Zunis—Three Children Healed—Administer to 406 Indians who were Attacked with the Small-Pox, Most of Whom Recover—Opposed by a Presbyterian Minister and Others—Fate of my Opposer's.
My Birth and Childhood—Embrace the Gospel—a Vision—Gather with the Saints at Kirtland—Zion's Camp—Manifestations in the Temple—The Saints Driven from Missouri—The Prophet and Patriarch Martyred—Our Journey Westward—Sent on a Mission.
Arrival in England—Appointed to the Glasgow Conference—My Experience There—Released—Start Home—a Storm at Sea—Case of Miraculous Healing—Arrival in the Valley.
Called to Australia—My Ignorance—Pres. H. C. Kimball's Prophecy Concerning me—Arrive in Sidney—Adventure with a Dog—Go to Camden with a Fellow-Missionary—Sought for by a Drunken Mob—God Blinds their Eyes and we Escape—At Picton we Preach in the Court-House—The Writing on the Wall—Our Success.
Maligned by Sectarian Priests—Invitation to Preach at a Distant Town—Means Provided by a Mysterious Personage—Branch of the Church Organized—Apply to the Authorities of the Colony for, and Receive, License and Protection as Ministers of the Gospel—Arrested—My Companion's Defense—Honorably Released—Go to Windsor—Unable to Obtain Lodgings—Directed by a Stranger—Kindly Treated—An Attempt to Poison me—My Companion Shot at by a Ruffian.
A Chat With a Catholic—Chased by Dogs—An Irishman's Design to Murder me—Remarkable Escape—Adventure with a Wild Bull—"Has he got You?"—My Release from my Mission—Incidents of the Home Journey—A Prophecy and its Fulfillment—A Visit to a Sick Lady—Conclusion.
How our Missionaries are Suspected—Children Lost—Supposed Case of Kidnapping—Myself and Companion are accused—The Dead Bodies are Found—Disobedience Brings its own Reward.
CALLED ON A MISSION—START FOR MY FIELD OF LABOR—DIFFICULTIES ON THE WAY—TRAVELING IN DEEP SNOW—REACH THE PLATTE RIVER—PROCURE A NEW OUTFIT—EXPOSED TO THE CHOLERA—ATTACKED BY THE PLAGUE—MY RECOVERY—ARRIVAL AT ALBANY, N. Y.—TAKE PASSAGE ON A STEAMER FOR NEW YORK CITY—INCIDENTS ON THE WAY.
At the April conference, 1850, I felt a presentiment that I might be called on a mission, and kept away from conference until near the close of the last afternoon's meeting, thinking that if I were not seen, I should, perhaps, not be remembered, and then went to the door, and standing on the outside pressed it open about two inches. Just as I did this a man arose on the stand and said, "It is moved and seconded that Claudius V. Spencer go on a mission to Europe." I turned as though shot, walked down Main Street saying to myself, "Can it be possible those men have any inspiration to call such a stick for a missionary?" I think if my body and spirit had then been weighed together, I should have pulled the beam at two thousand pounds.
Previous to this time no person had heard me pray or speak in any public meeting.
Most of the men who were called and who accompanied this mission were large and powerful men, physically. Among them were the father of Horace S. Eldredge, Appleton Harmon, James Works, Thomas Grover, Captain Davis and Father Malin. Heber C. Kimball had charge when we were set apart and was mouth in my case, giving me a blessing greater than my faith. Among other things he said that, I should be like Paul of old, in the land to which I was going.
The most of the company left Salt Lake City on the 19th of April, and those who did not go then overtook us the next morning. We carried the mail by express with ox teams, and delivered it at Council Bluffs on the 4th of July following.
At the time we were set apart Brother Heber forbid us taking either money, watches, rings or chains of gold or silver, but told us to go literally without purse or scrip. For the benefit of the missionaries who now go by rail and frequently in first-class style, I record that the first day out we reached the mouth of Emigration Canyon, and that night had a severe snow storm. The next morning our cattle were all lost. We divided into parties to find them. The party with which I went trailed some of the cattle towards the city. They wished me to go in, see the folks and help get the cattle back. I said, "No, I will never enter Salt Lake again till I have fulfilled my mission, unless I am carried in dead."
After some little trouble we again got our cattle together. The snow in crossing the "Big and Little Mountain" was very deep; we cut a pole twenty-seven and a half feet long, pushed it into the snow, but failed to reach the ground. We cut poles made holes in them for the wheels of the wagon, bent one end of the poles in the shape of a sleigh-runner, and pulled and pushed our wagons in places by hand. We would frequently sink into the snow almost to our necks, and after crawling out the sun would melt the snow on our clothes so that at night we were as wet as though we had been immersed in the water. In the mornings we stood on the snow crusts, beat our boots and pantaloons over the wagon wheels to get the ice out of them before we could dress. We took our stockings to bed with us and dried them among our clothes. It was in the endurance of these exposures that I think Elder Wm. Burton (who was very noble and free in his labors) so weakened his constitution as to make him unable to successfully stand the climate and disease that preyed upon him in the old country.
One night, in East Canyon, we dug a hole in the snow seven feet deep, put some brush on the bottom and had a good night's rest. We were favored before morning with quite a fall of snow, which helped to keep us warm. When we arose in the morning we were quite merry, and several commenced singing the songs of Zion. Captain Davis and Thomas Grover were camped a little ahead of us, and as we over to the latter's wagon he remarked, "Missionaries who can sing in such a condition I want to give my purse to," and he handed us one containing $23.45.
For days on this journey, from a sun-rise start to a sun-set stop, we only made from one-half to one mile's distance, frequently putting five and six yoke of oxen to a wagon at a time. The food our cattle had was brouse and dry grass on the ridges where the snow had blown off.
We reached the Platte River about three o'clock, p.m., on Saturday, May 25th, with our cattle so weak and poor that we drove several of them loose and pulled two wagons into camp by hand. After lunch we had a fellowship meeting. I made a motion that when we left that camping place we should have good, light wagons, with four horses to each one, plenty of food, and "a white man's outfit." After considerable discussion the motion was unanimously carried, and with considerable sarcasm I was appointed trader-in-chief to make the desired exchanges. Several California emigrants were present at the meeting and before night, they had donated a nice wagon, a new set of double harness, a horse, some rice, sugar, dried apples, etc. In a few days I succeeded in exchanging our old out-fits for fine, fat horses, and everything needful for a comfortable journey. We put a sign on one of our wagons "U. S. Mail," and received considerable money for drop letters.
In crossing the plains we met the cholera among the gold diggers, who were on their way to California. We frequently had to leave the road to avoid the stench of those who had died by its ravages, and were but slightly covered over by their comrades. At one time I saw a man beating his cattle with the butt of his whip, cursing loudly at the same time; he dropped on the ground in the act and in about fifteen minutes was dead and buried. One evening Captain Davis was attacked with the terrible disease and in a short time was dead. The day following I was taken with it about noon, just as we were about to turn down to the Platte River to lunch. My brethren gave me all encouragement, saying they would hurry to the river, and nurse me and do all they could for me. For a few minutes I did the most rapid thinking of my lifetime. I then told them not to take me from the main road, for God's servants had promised me I should not die on the road to England. They asked what they should do. I told them to let me get out of the wagon on the sand with my face towards Europe, and then they should go to their lunch. If they should return and find me dead, they had better return home and conclude that "Mormonism" was a hoax. They seemed to think my head was affected and I had to charge them in a most solemn manner before they would let me have my way. When they came to me from lunch I selected two brethren to hold me up by the wrists at the hind end of the wagon, and drive the team as slowly as possible, and when the paroxysms of the cramp came on to lift me in. This was continued till about three o'clock, p.m., when the cholera left me. For the width of three fingers where my stomach and bowels were cramped over each other, my body was as black and blue for some three weeks as any bruise I have ever seen, and as much flesh went from me in six hours, as a fever usually takes from a man in a month. I know this, that the faith taught me by my father, Daniel Spencer, together with the natural grit inherited from my father and mother, saved my life.
We sold our outfits at Council Bluffs for considerable more than those we traded for them would have brought us. As we journeyed through the States the Elders separated to visit relatives, and on the day I reached Albany, N. Y., I had no companion.
I had acted as cook considerable of the time on the plains; had laid on the ground, on the brush and in the snow, assisted to wash dishes and had done my full share of camp duty generally; but in doing this my clothes had got into a condition that would have been a curiosity at a dress ball. I wore a cap that many years before (I cannot recollect how many) had been of fur; it had now got to be what might be called a skin cap. I had two or three holes cracked through it, out of which my hair would often be seen.
I went aboard a New York steamer and applied for a ticket for passage and state room to that city. The agent looked at me from head to foot and then said that I could not have one, as the boat was chartered by the State, county, and city authorities for a pleasure trip. On looking round I saw "U.S. Mail" as a sign on the boat; I laid down the money before the ticket seller and demanded my ticket. After some squirming on his part I got it. On this same day I had the "blues" as I hope never to have them again. I had nearly concluded that there could not be either sense or inspiration in the authorities of the Church sending me to England on a mission, and that when I got to New York City I would go over to my native town where I had some property and quietly settle among my old friends and relatives. So great was the power that the devil had over me that when I first stepped on the boat I drew a chair into the niche by the "figure head" to avoid having conversation with anyone. I had sat there but a few moments when a person came up behind me and remarked that it was a pleasant evening. I made no reply.
"Boat making fine time," said he.
Still I did not answer. Soon he spoke again: "Are you traveling far, young man?"
I jerked my chair around and answered very spitefully, "I have come a long way and I am going a long way; all the way from Salt Lake to England. Is there anything else you want?" My abruptness had sent him back several feet, and he was looking at me with about as much curiosity as if he were viewing a wild animal.
Very soon he smiled and said, "Yes if you come from Salt Lake there is a good deal more I want."
He commenced asking questions, and soon several more persons gathered around; but just then the dinner bell rang, and they invited me to go to dine, which I did not do, as it seemed to me that I could not have eaten at that time even if it were to save my life. After finishing their repast I was waited upon by three gentlemen, who stated they had engaged the cabin from the captain and wished me to preach. I told them I had never preached in my life. They wanted to know for what I was going to England. I told them to preach. They then wanted to know why I would not preach in the cabin, my answer being that it was because I was not sent here to preach. We finally compromised the matter by my consenting to go to the cabin and answer questions. The room was so crowded that they could not sit down, but stood around in circles, and took turns in asking me questions.
When I first sat down I noticed a large, black-eyed, black-haired man, and said to myself, "When he comes I will have the devil." After some time he pushed forward and literally covered me with compliments. He then remarked, "You must excuse me, young friend, after your testimony of the goodness of your people, for asking why such men as George J. Adams, John C. Bennett, Dr. Foster, Charles Foster and others could not live peaceably in your community?"
My answer followed like lightning: "It was because they were such gamblers, whore-masters, black-legs and rascals as you are."
He made a bound for me; six men caught him, pulled him to the outside of the circle, and slapping him on the back told him with an oath, that if God Almighty had come down out of heaven He could not have told his character any better than the little "Mormon" had.
I answered questions until about eleven o'clock at night, when I sprang from my chair and said, "Gentlemen, you have had 'Mormonism' enough for one night," and I started for my room. I was stopped and led back to my chair, when I received a unanimous vote of thanks and the proffer to raise me three hundred dollars if I would accept the amount. I told the gentlemen that we preached the gospel without purse or scrip, and that I had already received enough to take me to England. I selected, however, three reliable men, who promised me to see that the three hundred dollars were given to the poor in their neighborhoods during the next Winter.
I went into my room and prostrated myself with my face on the floor, and thanked God for the gift of the Holy Ghost, for I had most surely talked by inspiration. I asked forgiveness for my unbelief, and from that time I was wholly contented to go to England.
SET SAIL FROM NEW YORK—ARRIVE IN LIVERPOOL—SENT TO LABOR AS A TRAVELING ELDER—PRAYERS ANSWERED—CALLED TO PRESIDE OVER A CONFERENCE—BLESSED ABUNDANTLY WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT—PROCURE A HALL TO PREACH IN—MOBBED—EFFECTS OF MY PREACHING—TREATED WITH COURTESY—ORGANIZE A BRANCH OF THE CHURCH IN THE TOWN WHERE I WAS MOBBED—MAKE ANOTHER APPOINTMENT TO PREACH IN A DIFFERENT TOWN—SEND FOR HELP—SPEAKERS INTERRUPTED—AUDIENCE QUIETED BY ME SINGING A COMIC SONG—PREJUDICE ALLAYED—A LESSON LEARNED.
Having rejoined my fellow-missionaries in New York, we sailed from that port August 15th, on the ship Lady Franklin, passage, $10 per head, we having to board and cook for ourselves. After a fair voyage we arrived in Liverpool on the 14th of September, 1850. I spent a few days in that city, and was most kindly treated by Apostle Orson Pratt, then President of the British Mission.
I was sent from there to London, and Brother Pratt intended me to have a few weeks to rest, and learn the "ropes" among the branches, and Saints of that city. But the president of that conference sent me to Colchester, fifty miles from London. It was a hard place and in order to have raised any life there in relation to "Mormonism," one would have required the power to resurrect the dead.
I suffered very much in spirit as well as in body. I finally said to myself, "you were sent to this land by God's highest authority to preach the gospel, and it is your duty to do it." The next morning, after thus commenting to myself, I started for a town twenty miles distant. The roads were wet and heavy and, with my carpet-bag, the walk was a hard one.
I came in sight of the place, on the top of a long hill, and noticed a woman crossing the road with two pails. She filled them with water and started back, but as she saw me walking towards her, she dropped both pails and came to me, saying, "I knew you would come: I saw you in a dream. Come into my house; I have a room all fixed nice and clean for you."
Here I baptized my first fruits of the gospel, and accomplished a good work. In a few weeks Bro. Pratt sent me to travel with Bro. Jacob Gates, who was really like a father to me. When with him, we would take tracts with us and go from house to house, and shop to shop in Leicester and, in distributing them, try to get a chance to talk with the people.
One day we had been working very hard in the rain and mud, but with little success. As we were on our way home, at dusk, we passed the shop of an herbalist, and I told Bro. Gates I would like to go into this one place before going home. I bought something for a penny and, at the same time, commenced talking "Mormonism" to a stranger. This man's name is now very familiar to the Latter-day Saints, it being none other than George Goddard. Previous to my visit, he had never heard of our religion, but, as he was an honest and brave man, it was not long before he and his family were baptized and, in a little time, gathered to Zion.
During that day I had asked the Lord many times to give me one soul as a comfort and testimony. I went into Bro. Goddard's shop by as direct inspiration as any man ever did anything by its dictation.
I traveled a few weeks with Elder Gates, when I received an appointment to take the presidency of the Norwich Conference.
I wrote to Apostle F. D. Richards, who then presided over the mission, asking him to give me a little more time to get accustomed to preaching and to read up my Bible. I soon received the following answer:
"The presidency of the British Mission wishes to know if Elder C. V. Spencer intends to stand up to the rack in this country."
When I read it I immediately wrote in reply:
"I shall start to Norwich by the next train, and don't care a groat whether there is any hay in the rack or not."
A sister was then washing my clothes, and I had quite a time to induce her to let me have them then; but, at last, she wrung them out as dry as she could and stuffed them into my carpet-bag. Only a few minutes elapsed before I was on the way to Norwich.
I do not think any man ever entered upon the discharge of his duties as president with more distrust than I did; and I wish to record here that the great good afterwards accomplished was God's work, for He worked through me. I only knew enough to speak and act as directed by the Holy Spirit. The conference was represented to me as having refused to sustain, for its president, the man suggested by the presidency at Liverpool, and was otherwise in a somewhat peculiar condition. Under these circumstances I was set to work; how weak I felt, I cannot express in words. For months afterwards people would say to me, when meeting was over, "I heard your knees knock together when you first began to speak."
At the second meeting I held, a man jumped up and said, "We know you be of the devil!" I understood in a moment that the battle for my victory in that region had to be fought right then. I turned and silenced him immediately. When I ceased speaking, the people were as meek as children. I never had any more trouble in that branch, and the work revived in the whole conference. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the power and manifestations of God were, I think, as noticeable to the presidency at Liverpool as they were to me.
During the entire mission I was greatly blessed with dreams and manifestations from the Lord. On the day the revelation on plural, or celestial, marriage was first made public in "Freemason's Hall," London, one of our most noted and eloquent preachers was called upon to speak. His effort was a dry and barren failure, patent to everybody present. There were over two hundred prominent Elders sitting on the stand.
Jacob Gates, the president of the meeting, arose and, looking around at the Elders, beckoned to me in a quick way, and said, "Come here and talk." I think every one, now living, who was present at that meeting, if asked the question, would say I was literally clothed upon with the Holy Ghost. I prophesied freely and without fear, and have lived to see those prophecies fulfilled to the very letter.
At one time it was manifested to me to go to a town thirty-six miles distant, and open up the gospel. I sent word to a branch president that I would stop at his house on a certain day when on my way to that town. I notified several Elders to meet me at his house. We met and held a council. I had nothing but opposition, the president saying, "Bro. Spencer, if you go to that place, I clear myself of the consequences; your blood be upon your own head."
I replied, "If my blood be shed, it will be upon the heads of those who shed it, and those who ought to have, but have not got, faith to sustain me." I then asked if any one of the Elders would volunteer to go with me. After considerable hesitating, the youngest Elder in the conference promised to meet me there.
That day I walked twenty-five miles and stopped at a roadside inn at dark, with but one shilling in my pocket. I asked for some supper. The lady of the house said she could give me some "Welsh rabbit." Being fond of rabbit I thought I would now have a treat; but, instead of what I expected, she brought in some toasted cheese and bread. I was so disappointed at this that I crept into bed without supper. She, however, took my last shilling.
The next morning I walked to the next town, twelve miles distant, and, on nearing it, saw a lone building on the common. I hunted up the owner and got permission to speak in it. I then went from house to house, notifying the people of the meeting. About this time the young Elder came, according to promise. As we went through the streets a crowd of rude boys and girls followed us, jeering and throwing dry manure, pieces of coal, etc., at us.
About noon we came to four cross roads in the town, one of which led to the Elder's home. Stopping here, he said, "Brother Spencer, I cannot stand this," and tried to persuade me to give up the labor; but failing to move me he walked away. About dusk I found myself near a cottage on the outskirts of the town. I went in and notified a woman (the only occupant) that in a few minutes I would lecture—and also invited her to attend. I started towards the place of meeting but had got only a few steps when I felt a hand on my shoulder; turning my head, I saw the woman I had just left; she asked me if I had eaten supper, and when I told her I had not eaten or drank that day, she invited me back and placed before me, I think, every good thing she had in the house. I then started to fill my appointment.
The building was full and many were on the outside. My first reception was a peat sod on the side of the head, which knocked me down. I soon rallied, picked the dirt out of my ear, prayed, stretched both hands out before my face as if to make a dive, and made a rush for the crowd, exclaiming, as I came up, "Gentlemen, make room, I'm the man who lectures here to-night." I succeeded in getting into the building after promising the Lord I would say just what He gave me. I knew it was no use to try to sing or pray. The first thought that came to me on arising was the scripture which says, "God hath made of one blood all nations of men that dwell on the earth," etc. I quoted it and was barren of thought for some two minutes, when my spirit in an instant read the people.
I claimed brotherhood by the authority of God's word, alluded to the persecutions of the Methodists in their early days, and asked who would think that the Methodists in so short a time would be found persecuting other religious bodies. I called their attention to my condition, thousands of miles away from home, etc. In a few moments several handkerchiefs were out, wiping tearful eyes. I had a glorious meeting, and at the close was assailed by a minister, but the crowd hoisted him out of the building and hooted him home.
Three gentlemen took me to the best inn of the town and told the landlord to treat me with the greatest courtesy and charge the bill to them. In four weeks from that time I organized a branch of sixteen members at that place.
At one time I was desirous to create an interest in a district, and hired a town hall at a populous sea-port place; I placarded largely, and soon found that possibly I had created more interest than would be pleasant. As the importance of the meeting grew, so also grew a sense of my own littleness and I sent word to Elder G. B. Wallace, at Liverpool, and Elder Harmon, in Scotland, to come and help me. I paid $17.50 expenses for Bro. Harmon and I think to Bro. Wallace $25.00. On the day of the meeting I learned there would be a large mob present. I went to the hall before the brethren and soon perceived there was trouble ahead, but realizing how much the meeting would cost me and the pains that had been taken I could not bear the thought of a defeat. I had persistently plead with the Lord for victory.
The idea had become prevalent that Brother Harmon was one of the Twelve. I called on him to speak first. The assembly listened to him for about two minutes. Then Brother Wallace tried it, when a blacksmith by the name of Anguish interrupted him, and Brother Wallace spitefully told him to "shut your head." That remark brought matters to a climax. He spoke no more than ninety seconds, and then we had a good representation of what imagination pictures as the pandemonium of hell. I knelt with my back to the congregation and said, "Father! I have done all I know. If there is anything else you wish me to do, manifest it to me when I get up and I will do it." As soon as I arose to my feet, a comic song that I used to sing in those days came to my mind, and I felt as though it wanted to get out of me in all my parts. I paused a moment, stepped to the front, threw my arms out towards the congregation, and said, "Boys, it will be a new thing for you to hear a minister sing a comic song in a meeting; but if you will be quiet, I will sing you one." I sang it better than ever before or since, and at the close they gave me a good, hearty cheer. I then appealed to them as Englishmen, telling them how Americans treated Englishmen when they came to our country. I continued speaking for one hour, and from the first five minutes the dropping of a pin on the floor could have been heard. At the close many came and shook hands, and in sixpences, shillings, etc., gave me something over $17.00.
When my hands went out towards, and over a part of that congregation I felt power and control go with them as tangibly as I ever felt cold or heat, and I learned this lesson, not to shirk my own responsibilities and run for others to fill my place, let me be ever so weak.
AN AMUSING EPISODE—OBTAIN THE KEYS OF A CHURCH—NOTIFY THE PEOPLE THAT A MEETING WILL BE HELD IN IT—A GOOD TURN-OUT—MY COMPANION PREACHES WHILE I, DISGUISED AS A POLICE, GUARD THE DOOR—EXCITEMENT AROUSED—CONTROVERSY WITH A MINISTER—AN ANTI-"MORMON" MEETING HELD—I ATTEND—REPLY TO THE MINISTERS' ATTEMPTS TO EXPOSE "MORMONISM"—MY ESCAPE FROM THE BUILDING—SAVED BY AN INFIDEL—PROSPERITY OF THE WORK—REMARKABLE HEALINGS—A PREDICTION UTTERED AND FULFILLED—MY RETURN HOME—CONTRAST BETWEEN THE CONDITION OF THE SAINTS NOW AND THAT OF THIRTY YEARS AGO.
I will mention an amusing episode, that occurred during a visit that Brother Wallace made the conference. It started in fun but resulted in great good: I took him to a country branch where the work was pretty dead and we stopped with a man who had a standing in the Church, but as a reward for his little faith had been made trustee of one of the prominent sectarian churches and held the keys of their place of worship.
We rather crowded ourselves on to him. It was a damp, cold day, and the man of the house was very stingy with his coal. We finally found his coal-house and helped ourselves to fuel. It was amusing to see the old gentleman come in and out and eye our bountiful fire, and we thought the more coal we burned the more anxious the old man would be to get us out of the house. So the next time he came into the room he found us with a fire that entirely filled the fire place. I took no notice of his sour looks and gravely told him that Brother Wallace was a builder by trade and took great pleasure in visiting the churches and public buildings, and asked him if he would allow us the keys of his church, that we might examine the architectural designs. He gave us the keys and we told him we would not return that afternoon until late.
This town was divided into what was called Upper and Lower Shipdom, and was separated by quite a little distance. The church was in Upper Shipdom. One of us went to the lower town and notified the people quietly that an American gentleman would lecture in the Upper Church that evening, while the other examined the church, arranged the seats and lights. At the hour appointed the church was pretty well filled. We did not light up until all was ready for commencing.
Brother Wallace took the stand, and preached a very good sermon, while I took my stand against the inside of the door dressed as a policeman and with a club in my hand. By occasionally tapping a few on the shoulder I succeeded in keeping pretty good order until "amen" was said, when Brother Wallace made his exit through the back and I through the front door. By some means the door got locked after we had passed out, and the mob, which had by this time collected, imagining we had locked ourselves in, made pretty violent demonstrations at the front of the building trying to get at us while we were laughingly wending our way to some other section.
For the next two weeks the papers of the neighborhood teemed with accounts of "Mormon impudence," etc., and in a little time we could not call a meeting anywhere in the conference, but what it would be crowded. Curiosity was above par.
In another part of the district, at a noted watering place, I secured a town hall. As soon as meeting was opened, I was interrupted by an orthodox minister. He gave me credit for my sincerity but regretted that I had not turned my attention to the heathen, instead of coming there where he had preached so many years. He appealed to the congregation to testify that they all knew he was acquainted with every word in the Bible. I could see that trouble was imminent and my hypocritical opponent knew it, but was desirous of bringing it along in as respectable a manner as possible. I conversed with him for some time on Bible doctrine, and when we had finished the whole congregation had turned away from him and were listening to me with rapt attention. I here learned what simple things and persons the Lord could use to remove grave obstacles.
On two different occasions, when I was in imminent peril, my wife, who was dead, and her father, who died in 1846, appeared to me together and talked to me, and were as natural to me as in life.
The priests were for some time banded together in a secret organization. The first knowledge of which came to me at the place where I was knocked down, as already mentioned. They soon became, however, more bold, and during a visiting tour among the branches of my district I was warned while walking in the road, that something was wrong in Norwich. I went immediately to that place, and before I reached my rooms I was met by two brethren, who said, "There's a big anti-'Mormon' meeting at St. Andrew's hall."
I replied, "Very well, I will brush up and go to it." They and others whom I met plead with me not to go.
When I entered the hall I found it too densely packed for me to get a seat in the body of the house. On looking to the stand I counted seventeen of the prominent ministers of Norfolk and Suffolk comfortably seated. I said to myself, "I also am a minister and that is my place." I walked up and took a seat. There were two thousand people present at that meeting. At that time St. Andrew's hall ranked as the third finest hall in England.
The meeting commenced about half-past two, p.m., and it was about five o'clock when I entered. At half-past eight the chairman announced that if any member of the unfortunate "Mormon" Church was present, who had the hardihood and moral courage to attempt a defense after such an overwhelming exposure of their system as had been made that day to the citizens of Norwich, he would be allowed to speak. Of course all eyes had been on me and the invitation was a trap on the part of the ministers. They offered me no way of getting to the pulpit as I was behind five rows of seats each of which was packed with my opponents and not one offered to allow me to pass. I prayed, put my hands on the sides of the heads of the two ministers in front of me, made an opening and stepped over into their seat; this I did with the others until I reached the pulpit.
A great part of what I said I did not know at the time, nor have I known since, but near the close of my remarks I found myself with my back to the congregation and my face to the preachers. My last words to the latter were, "You are infidels, and it is you who make infidels, and by your precepts smother the hope of any realization of the gifts and blessings promised by Christ and His Apostles. I prophesy, moreover, to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that your labors of this day and night, shall be the cause of hundreds embracing the gospel I preach."
After I ceased to speak the chairman undertook to read from the Book of Mormon, but he shook so that it was impossible for him to read. Another man tried to speak, but he was affected in the same way and had to desist.
There was a stairway leading from where I stood down to the vestibule, and I hoped to reach it soon enough after the dismissal to make my escape; but when I got there it was full of human beings, who were, however, more like devils than men. They shouted, "Where is he? Tear him limb from limb; throw him over into the river," etc.
A tall man wearing a cloak could see me while the rest seemed blinded. He came up, covered me entirely with his cloak, slipped his arms under mine, drew me up to his bosom and whispered, "Be still and I will save you." He carried me out of the vestibule, the court yard, and nearly a block up the street, the mob crowding up against and around us the whole distance. My deliverer worked his way to the side of the street until he got to his own home when he struck the spring of a door in a stone wall, it flew open, he cast me in like a log of wood, and passed on with the crowd. In about three-quarters of an hour he came back with some of our people and I was liberated and guarded home. This man was what is generally called an infidel. The next day I presented him with the best bound set of our publications I could procure. I asked him why he saved my life, to which he replied that it was only because of a love of justice.
From the time of this occurrence the work prospered as it had never done before. Our chapel was literally packed, and some citizens even took out every window on one side, brought their own trussel and planks and built a platform the entire length of the building. On one occasion we went out after the evening meeting and baptized seventeen persons, and the conversions during the whole time were quite numerous.
One evening some rowdies came intending to mob us. I sat on the stand carefully watching every movement of the assembly. Finally I leaned over and whispered to Brother William Foster (who now sings in the Tabernacle choir) to sing us something. He started the hymn "Praise to the man." The Holy Spirit rested upon the choir and the peace of God was upon the congregation, and the quietness of the meeting was recalled to my memory by a brother on the side-walk a few days since.
During the time the cholera raged in England, in 1852, I never entered a house where it was, or administered to a person who had it but what it instantly left. One rainy night I was called to go and visit a lady who had been taken with this terrible disease. It was mid-night when I reached the house and was met at the door with the statement that two doctors had just left who said that the afflicted one must die. I entered the room, walked to the bedside and commanded the person in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Priesthood to rise up sound and whole. In fifteen minutes she was eating supper and she sang several songs before I left.
I wish here to bear testimony of the kindness, obedience and love of the Saints at the Norwich conference. They were like my children and I was their father. In their poverty they gave to me liberally, and what I received I spent freely in helping the poor and the sick, and for the work of God. Up to the time they presented me with means to return home I had not saved five shillings. After my return home, the first two hundred and seventy-five dollars I obtained I took to President Young with the request that he send it to the poorest of the poor of Norwich conference. He remarked as he took it, "Brother Spencer, you are the first returned missionary that ever did the like."
Brother Neslen, who is now usually called "Father Neslen," was president of the Lowestoft branch during my presidency of the Norwich conference. He was in good circumstances and had a nice house, but during my first visits to the branch he never invited me to his house, and after late meetings used to take me away quite a distance to sleep. On one of my visits, as we were walking on the "Esplanade," I turned to him and said, "Brother Neslen, you may think it rather strange manners, but I feel impressed to ask you the reason why you never invite me to your house?" He replied that none of his family belonged to the Church and he was afraid if he did my feelings would be hurt. (His family consisted of a wife and nine children.)
I turned to him and said, "Brother Neslen, you are president of this branch, and as foreign as it may be to Gentile manners I must do my duty. I want you to invite me to your house; if you do so I promise you in the name of the Lord that every one of your family shall embrace the gospel, and everyone shall live to go to Zion; if you do not, and have not faith to stand up in your place as the head of your own family you are not fit to stand as president of the branch; and more than that, you will apostatize and none of you be saved in the kingdom of God."
The next time I visited Lowestoft he took me to his home: his wife was kind as a mother in her treatment and in a few months the ten souls where baptized and all lived to reach Zion in safety.
I left the Norwich conference in the beginning of 1853. It then numbered one thousand and fifty-nine people—one hundred and fifty having been baptized during the last six months. I brought home with me to Zion ninety-five souls, thus fulfilling the words of my blessing that I should return to Zion bringing many sheaves with me. The great majority that came have abode in the faith and they have increased and multiplied in Israel, until they now number more than those who were left back in the conference.
In writing this short sketch I have omitted to praise individuals whose works in those days will make me love them while life lasts. But I wish here to gratefully acknowledge the kindness of Elder George B. Wallace.
My health in that land was very poor. I suffered from a grievous and dispiriting affliction all the time I was in England. After I had been there some months I met Bro. Orson Pratt; his first exclamation was, "What is the matter with you?" He told me I could go home. I said I had no money, to which he replied, "I have, and you can go comfortably."
I told him I had not accomplished what I was promised. "But," said he, "if you die here you will not accomplish it; and had you not better go than be buried in this land?"
I answered, "I was commanded to come here and perform a certain work by the highest authority in Zion. I will not go home unless you command me."
He saw my faith, blessed and comforted me and I went back to my labors.
When a boy I received, at the Nauvoo Temple, my endowments and the birthright, with promises, under the hands of my father, which I relied upon.
I returned to Salt Lake City September 19th 1853, making three years and five months, to a day, that I was absent.
In going through Salt Lake City I find prominent merchants who were poor lads in my field of labor. I find an owner of real estate on Main Street who used all the means his entire family could gather together to bring himself out here, so that he could raise means to emigrate them afterwards. I pass by costly shops of merchandise and find the owners are people who, in our Norwich Conference, were very poor. I see a cottage and beautiful grounds, and find them owned by one with whom I shared, in that land, the portion given to me by the poor.
I go through the country and find scarcely a family of those who emigrated in 1853 but what is surrounded by all the necessaries and many of the comforts of life. I now realize that whether my first mission, in its ending, was much or little, its results no man can tell.
I am satisfied and paid for the very little and feeble labors that I performed. I returned bright and zealous in the love of the truth. God has never yet forsaken me by His Spirit, and I do not believe that any man will ever be trusted to walk in the footsteps of his Elder Brother, Jesus, as a Savior of a world, or ever be seated with honor on the right hand of His Father, until he has learned to wade through deep and troubled waters, up stream and against the current without earthly props or stays.
I am closing this history near my sixtieth birthday, and have been moved to write it, that my gratitude and acknowledgement of the honor done me by the Lord, that His testimonies given to one of His servants in the latter-day work, might be preserved and live on the earth. I gratefully dedicate it to President Franklin D. Richards, with the hope and prayer that he will use it, at the time and under the circumstances which his wisdom shall dictate, for the strengthening of the faith of the young, and the comforting of the hearts of some old veterans whose touching experiences have, perhaps, never been known away from their own firesides.
MANNER IN WHICH THE GOSPEL IS PREACHED—MY LABORS IN ENGLAND—CALLED TO SWITZERLAND—JOIN MY COMPANION AND TAKE PASSAGE TO FRANCE—PROCEED TO SWITZERLAND—MEET ELDERS IN GENEVA—OUR FIELDS OF LABOR ASSIGNED US.
In presenting a sketch of missionary experience as reading matter for the young people of modern Israel, I am aware that they may have read many such before; but there is so much variety and interest connected with the means and methods which have been, and are, used in the extension of the latter-day work, that I need not apologise. So singular and diversified have been the circumstances surrounding the Elders, that there is a peculiar interest in all their narratives.
Some of the peculiarities of God's work are very prominently manifested in the missionary department. The Elders are sent without purse and without scrip, and the closer they live to this requirement, the more successful they are likely to be. It requires, however, much faith to do this, and it brings us face to face with many trials, temptations and inconveniences; but it also brings us nearer to God, as our condition requires the help which He alone can give, in blessing us with His Spirit, raising up friends and opening up the way before us.
The Elders in modern times, like those of ancient days, have generally been unlearned, which, according to human wisdom, would be a very serious drawback in teaching a new faith. In addition to this, the faith the Elders have been sent to teach is not only strange, but unpopular in the world. The sending of men, without money or learning, to establish a new religion, almost wholly in its nature opposed to the views of the people among whom they are sent, seems a strange thing. We confess it does; but God's ways are not like our ways, yet they are the best. His way of having the gospel preached serves other purposes as well as accomplishing the main object. It proves the integrity of the preacher, as there are no worldly benefits attached to the work; and it proves the sincerity of the believer, as there is no prospect of gain held out, but the truth itself. There must be earnestness and faith on both sides.
The gospel has been carried to many nations, and will be preached to all nations before the end comes. It will be readily understood that the difficulties of missionary work are much increased when the gospel is sent to nations where a foreign language to that of the preacher is spoken, even if the laws are liberal enough to permit the Elder freely to do his duty.
I labored in the Southampton (England) conference, as a traveling Elder, in the years 1852 and 1853. I had labored in the north of England and in the west of Scotland previously, and had seen hard times, endured much and been the means of bringing a number to the knowledge of the truth. The Southampton district, to which I had been appointed when this brief history begins, consisted of the town of Southampton and several smaller places convenient to visit, and containing a number of faithful Saints.
In those days Elders sent to, or connected with, what was termed "foreign missions," especially those of France, Switzerland and Italy, were in the habit of sailing from and arriving at Southampton. I had the pleasure there of making the acquaintance of such men as Andrew Lamareaux, James H. Hart, Edward Stevenson, Nathan T. Porter, T. B. H. Stenhouse, Jabez Woodward, S. L. Balliff and others. Elders Lamareaux and Woodward died in the faith of the gospel. Bro Stenhouse, although a capable man, was proud and fell from the ranks of the righteous. The remaining four named have continued their usefulness unwaveringly, and are brighter and better with the passing years. They often rested at Southampton and enjoyed the hospitality of the ever-kind Saints of that place. Their conversation was interesting as, like the old warrior who, in his stories, fought his battles o'er again, they related their experience and told of the habits and customs of strange peoples, and of the difficulties they encountered in establishing the gospel in distant lands, and of the kindness of those whom they were instrumental in bringing into the light and influence of the Spirit of God.
The Elders engaged in the British mission did not covet a foreign mission, although, probably, not one of them would have hesitated a moment about going if he had been sent. I never knew of one refusing, and I was as well acquainted with our missionaries, personally and otherwise, I believe, as any one man from 1850 to 1860. As I observed, the Elders did not naturally desire a mission that made necessary the learning of another language, and the meeting of other serious hindrances and, oftentimes, suffering and imprisonment on account of prejudice and illiberal laws. I had such feelings; and, in consequence of being acquainted with so many that were connected with missions on the continent, felt sometimes a little uneasy, like Elders at home who think it probable that they may be "called" at conference time. I was, however, ready to go if called.
My labors in the Southampton conference were greatly blessed. I had the pleasure of baptizing quite a number of people, and I am thankful in knowing that many of them are, to-day, faithful Saints in Zion. While laboring here, I was instructed by the president of the mission to prepare to go to the Shetland Islands; but, after further consideration, and especially in consequence of the favorable season of the year being so far gone, it was concluded to let the matter rest.
Early in 1854 I was sent to labor in the Norwich conference where I enjoyed my labors very much. I still thought, sometimes, of foreign missions, but now all thoughts of the French, German and Italian languages which there had been, in my mind, some danger of my having to learn, were forgotten, as there was now no opportunity of my coming into contact with foreign missionaries traveling to or from their fields of labor.
In July, 1854 I received instructions to labor in Cambridge, one of the ancient seats of learning, and now a city of colleges.
My mission here embraced, as a special work, the distribution of our Church tracts among the professors and students; and my experience in this labor, if not always pleasant, was exceedingly profitable to me, arising from the necessity of preparing myself to answer questions, give explanations and to cultivate the virtues of patience and long-suffering. I persisted in the labor, however, and, in time, enjoyed it. Although there was less apparent good done in adding to the Church than in any former field of labor, I endeavored, with the help of God, to do my duty while I remained in that hardened city. One day I was resting at the conference house in Cambridge, when a letter came for me from Liverpool which contained the following appointment:
"TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:— "This is to certify that Elder William Budge is hereby appointed to labor under presidency of Elder Daniel Tyler, president of the Swiss and Italian missions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," etc., etc.
It was signed by President Franklin D. Richards who then presided over the branches of the Church in the British Isles and adjacent countries. That foreign mission, at last!
The reception of that appointment brought with it, to me, one of the strongest evidences of the divinity of this work: it brought the spirit of my new mission with it. As I finished the reading of the letter my feelings were entirely changed. I was both ready and willing, and was not satisfied until I procured a work on German, and had actually started on my journey to Switzerland.
Elder Samuel Francis, now of Morgan County, Utah, as stated in a letter accompanying my appointment, was also called at the same time to the same mission. On my way to join him I spent one night in London. In the evening I attended a meeting in one of the branches. Years after I had the honor of presiding over the London Conference, but this was the first meeting I ever attended in the great city. We had a good time, the Spirit being poured out bountifully upon us. Several Elders spoke, and one, referring to my going to Switzerland, prophesied before the people that I would yet preside over the British Mission. I was astonished, and thought that perhaps my brother's zeal and good feelings had controlled his tongue; but, by the direction of our Heavenly Father through His servants, after the lapse of twenty-four years, it did surely come to pass.
Brother Francis received me kindly at Brighton, where he labored. He had, for a companion, a book entitled "French Without a Master," and I noticed he often consulted it. He told me he had been "reading up" and had made some progress. I had not had time to "read up" much, and, consequently, my progress was not worth mentioning; but I felt consoled somewhat when I thought how convenient it would be to have a companion who could act as interpreter on our journey through France. We sailed from New Haven for Dieppe on the 28th of September, 1854. The voyage was not a long one, but the sea was troubled so much that, during part of the time, we did not think a great deal about either French or German, with, or without, a master. As we drew near the shores of France, we thought it necessary to make some inquiry about the Custom House and passport regulations. Bro. Francis made some advances in French to a Frenchman, but the party addressed, evidently, did not know much about "book French," as spoken by my esteemed companion. Long after this I found that the provincial natives of a country frequently speak a corruption of the language and are not familiar with the language proper when spoken. It was agreeable to us to think that this Frenchman might be one of that class.
We landed, had our baggage examined in the Custom House and were passed out into the street, strangers in a strange land. We were anxious to find the railway station and Bro. Francis at once brought his "French Without a Master" to light. He stopped and endeavored to get up a conversation with two different natives whom he met on the street, but, unfortunately, they were not "up" in their education and we were obliged to go back to the ancient and barbarous language of signs, although my companion's perseverance was worthy of greater success.
After stopping several hours in Paris and Macon we arrived at Geneva, the headquarters of the Swiss and Italian Mission, in good health and spirits; but before entering the city the police stopped our diligence (stage) and collected our passports. They were taken into the police office in the city, where they were kept until the owner concluded to travel further; but, in the meantime, that is, next day, we were furnished with a permit, intended to save us from annoyance if the police should take special notice of us.
Our brethren met and welcomed us. They were Elders T. B. H. Stenhouse, president of the mission, although about to leave, having been released to gather with the Church, Daniel Tyler, his successor, George Mayer, J. F. Secrist, G. D. Keaton, C. R. Savage and John Chislett.
On Sunday, October 1st, we met in general conference, which lasted three days, where we had a time of rejoicing together. At this conference Elder Francis was appointed to labor in Italy among the Waldenses who speak French; and I was appointed to labor under the direction of Elder Mayer in the Zurich Conference, a portion of Switzerland where the people speak German. It was with regret that I parted with my intelligent companion, Brother Francis. I heard from him at intervals afterwards; and, in the course of time and changes, under the providences of God, we met again in England to labor together in the Birmingham district.
Geneva, although not the capital of the Swiss Confederation, is its principal city. It has now a population of about fifty thousand. Nearly four thousand of these are employed in the manufacture of watches and jewelry. The city, situated on the southern end of the lake of the same name, presents a majestic appearance; the hills beyond and around forming a beautiful prospect.
ARRIVAL IN BERNE—ITS PRINCIPAL OBJECTS OF INTEREST—GO TO WEININGEN, WHERE I REMAIN TO STUDY GERMAN—SKETCH FROM MY JOURNAL—HUNTED BY MOBS—INTERVIEWED BY THE MAYOR.
On October the 4th I left Geneva with Elder Mayer for our field of labor. We sailed about thirty miles on the lake and then had a short, pleasant walk to Lausanne. This place has a population of twenty-eight thousand; it is the capital of the canton De Vaud, and is a very attractive place of residence.
At 3 p.m. we took our seats on the diligence and were soon traveling along towards Berne, the capital city of the Swiss republic, where we arrived at 5 o'clock on the following morning.
Berne has now a population of about forty thousand. It is the capital of the canton as well as of the nation. It is built on the River Aar. Numerous quaint and ornamental fountains decorate its streets; but the buildings are dull and heavy-looking, the windows being generally small. It is what might be called an old-fashioned place. The city derives its name from the word baren, the German for bears. The figure of that interesting animal is conspicuous everywhere, on town gates, fences and houses. For centuries living bears have been kept at the public expense. The Bear Pit is one of the places of interest about Berne, as there is generally, in fine weather, a number of people collected there to enjoy the antics of the imprisoned animals. An Englishman fell into this pit on the night of the 3rd of March, 1861, and was torn to pieces after a desperate struggle. There are many interesting places about this remarkable old town. It has a fine old cathedral, built in the sixth century, with an organ, justly celebrated, said to be about equal to that of Fribourg, another town in Switzerland. The Fribourg organ has sixty-seven stops and one thousand eight hundred pipes, some of the latter being thirty-two feet long. There are also a museum, palace, hospital and other objects of interest.
Our next stage was to the town of Baden where we took train to Schlieren, and then walked to the village of Weiningen, about six miles from Zurich, the principal city of the German portion of Switzerland.
There was a small branch of the Church at this place, and it was designed that I should reside here for a time to commence my study of German. On reaching Bro. Hug's house we were received in the most friendly manner, and soon had some refreshment of which we stood in need. At night a prayer meeting was held in the house. I much enjoyed the spirit which prevailed, but understood not a word. The sound of speaking seemed to be continuous, and it was impossible for me to catch the beginning or end of a word or sentence. The Saints here numbered, in all, fifteen or sixteen, the fruits of the labors of Elder George Mayer who lives now, I believe, in Utah County.
On the 6th, Bro. Mayer went to Zurich and I was left with my Swiss friends and my books.
The family with whom I lived showed me every kindness. How strange it is when a person cannot make known his thoughts, nor understand people when they talk! The very sound of German was harsh to me; but I soon got accustomed to it.
I soon learned that the authorities of Switzerland were very suspicious of anything like a gathering of the people and, therefore, all we did had to be kept very quiet. I did not attract much notice, however, because I was kept very busy in my endeavors to acquire the language.
In my journal I find the following:
"November the 25th. For some considerable time past the inhabitants of Weiningen have been lying against the Saints, and the spirit of persecution has been increasing. The village minister has been lecturing against the 'Mormons' and made the people worse. For the last two or three days they have been threatening to put a stop to 'Mormonism,' and they commenced in the following manner:
"About eight o'clock this evening, while Bro. Henry Hug was gone to baptize two persons, a crowd gathered around the house, railing and swearing against us. They forced open the window shutters and, at length, entered the outer entrance of the house where several of the brethren had gone to speak to them. The mob would not listen, but forced their way into the room, beating back the brethren; we were trying, in the meantime, to prevent them. The mob being more particularly in search of Elder Mayer or myself, gave a howl of satisfaction when they perceived me. Bro. Mayer was not in the place and several men instantly laid hold of me and soon dragged me to the door. The brethren, seeing this, made another effort and succeeded in rescuing me, when a general fight began as well as it could be maintained by seven or eight persons against forty or fifty, that being the number that could come into the apartment. At this stage of the proceedings the small light that stood upon a table was extinguished and we were in sudden darkness, which at once put an end to hostilities. The thought had just passed through my mind that if I could make my escape it would save the property in the house from destruction, and the people from this riotous mob. As soon as we were in darkness Sister Ragela Hug whispered to me to follow her; I did so and, by some crowding and caution, we reached the hall doorway, when a man got hold of me by the hair. I quickly gave him a dig in the stomach with my elbow which as quickly caused him to let go his hold; but he gave the alarm. It was, however, too late: we had gained the back room, which we entered and bolted the door inside. I had but time to unfasten a window and leap from it to the ground before the crowd issued from the doors, both in the front and back of the house. I ran a short distance, then stood and listened, but, hearing no one pursuing, I went into the orchard and drew near the house again, as I wished to know whether the mob had left the house, for if they had I expected the Saints would be safe from further trouble. When near enough I heard the men searching for me in the out houses; so I turned and walked into Zurich, which place I reached about 2 o'clock in the morning, my body bruised, my head uncovered and my clothes very much torn. I went to Elder Baer's house and was soon admitted, had some refreshments and went to bed and slept soundly.
"The next day Elder Baer went to Weiningen and I spent the day with Elder Mayer and the Saints at the meetings. In the evening Elder Baer returned and told us that Bro. Henry Hug, while baptizing on the previous evening, was interrupted by a portion of the mob that had annoyed us. He was smitten on the face and taken before the authorities, first at Weiningen and then at Zurich; and was kept in prison all night. Also that, after I had left Weiningen, the brethren and some of the crowd did some fighting, but there was no one hurt much. Thus the Lord once more delivered us out of the hands of our enemies."
Only a few days elapsed after these events before I was summoned to appear before the Stadthalter (mayor) who, by the aid of an interpreter, examined me at considerable length, the substance of which I insert here as complete as possible:
QUESTION.—How old are you?
ANSWER.—Twenty-six years old.
Q.—Where were you born?
A.—In Lanark, Scotland.
Q.—Did you ever follow any business, if so, what was it?
A.—I was engaged at an inn, and afterwards in the boot and shoe business.
Q.—Where did you come from to this country?
A.—From Cambridge, England.
Q.—Were you long in England?
A.—About three years and a half.
Q.—In what part?
A.—In many parts.
Q.—Had you property left you?
Q.—Then you made some money by your business?
A.—Yes, while engaged in it.
Q.—Did you follow any business while traveling in England?
Q.—On politics or religion?
Q.—What did you come to this country for, and what have you been doing since you came here?
A.—I came here partly to learn the German language, and to give lessons in English, and I have been doing so since I came.
Q.—How long is it since you came into Switzerland?
A.—I came into Switzerland on the last day of September.
Q.—Into what part?
Q.—Are you a believer in the doctrine of the people called Mormons?
Q.—As it is taught in this country?
A.—I do not yet understand the language of this country.
Q.—But you believe the doctrines?
A.—Yes, those that I understand.
Q.—Have you taken any active part in Mormonism in this country?
A.—Of course not; I have just said I was ignorant of the language.
Q.—Do you believe in the plurality of wives as being true?
Q.—Have you taught it to the people here?
A.—I cannot convey my thoughts or belief to the people, as I have not mastered the language sufficiently.
Q.—Have you any desire that the people here should believe the doctrine of plurality of wives?
A.—I would rejoice in knowing that all people believed in the Bible.
Q.—Do you believe that the Bible teaches that doctrine?
A.—Yes, most certainly; any one who believes the Bible must believe that doctrine. (I here offered to explain it from scripture, but was informed that they did not interfere with the faith of any man, and that everyone had a right to draw their own conclusions from the Bible; but he, the Stadthalter, wished to know if I desired to see that doctrine put in operation in Switzerland, to which I replied in the negative.)
A.—Because the people are not prepared for such a state of things, and it would be unlawful.
Q.—Yes, but if you had the power, would you not introduce the practice of that system?
A.—I have no desire to do anything against the spirit of the laws as at present established. Again, I have no right to introduce such a state of things: I never received authority from God, who is the Author of the Bible religion, to do such a thing; so that, if I had the power, I have not the disposition to do so in this country or any other.
Q.—Do you know Mr. Mayer?
Q.—How long have you know him?
A.—Since I came to this country.
Q.—Did you not know him before?
Q.—How did you become acquainted with him?
A.—I met him at the house of a friend.
Q.—In what place?
Q.—Will you give us the address of that friend?
A.—Certainly, you can have it; but I may mention that my friend [A] left Geneva for America nearly two months ago. (The authorities here showed some dissatisfaction at the nature of my last communication.)
Q.—Is Mr. Mayer an American?
A.—I never asked him, but I believe he is.
[Footnote A: Elder T. B. H. Stenhouse, who had been released.]
Q.—Do you know what business he followed before he came to Switzerland?
A.—No, I knew nothing of him.
Q.—Did you ever tell the people here that by paying a certain sum of money, or as much as they could, they might obtain a passage to America?
A.—I know nothing of such an arrangement; besides, I have repeatedly stated to you that I cannot speak German well enough to explain anything.
Q.—Do you know anything of such a matter among the Mormons here?
A.—No, I do not. [B]
The Stadthalter now advised me to continue to abstain from taking any active part with the "Mormons" as, perhaps, I was not aware (not being able to read the public newspapers) to what extent the people were excited against "Mormonism," and told me I would be sent for in about a week to obtain the necessary papers to stay in Zurich, as it was dangerous for me to remain longer in Weiningen. Thus ended my first examination, and for the next two weeks I heard nothing from the authorities; but rumors were prevalent that the "Mormons" were about to be expelled.
[Footnote B: In being questioned about emigration, the object was to convict us of receiving the people's money by making promises which we could not fulfill. Any one, of course, could secure a passage to America by paying the necessary amount. The laws of Switzerland did not prevent emigration.]
LETTER FROM ELDER SECRIST—ORDERED TO LEAVE ZURICH—ARRESTED AND IMPRISONED IN A FILTHY DUNGEON—TAKEN TO BETTER QUARTERS—RELEASED.
About this time I received letters from several of the brethren in other parts the mission, from which I learned that we in Zurich were not the only ones who were being persecuted. From Bro. Secrist's letter, written at St. Louis, France, I copy the following:
"You may think it strange to hear from me, an outcast (not on the island of Patmos, but in the kingdom of France) for the testimony of the truth and of the gospel, which we preach. I hardly know how to begin my history. I left Geneva sick, yet complained little. It was with much difficulty and distress of body that I arrived at a good sister's house in Thun, where I had a severe time for about three days. About one week after, President Tyler came to see me. We ordained three to the Priesthood. I kept myself hidden from strangers, and traveled from place to place after night, and as the Saints are very much scattered, frequently walked twelve miles after dark. I felt after a time that something was not right, and as the reigning Stadthalter wished to see me to learn from me concerning our doctrine, I went to see him. About this time he received a note from Berne, stating that 'Secrist had left the canton and if he were to show himself, to see after him and send him to Berne,' yet he (the Stadthalter) gave me the privilege of going to Berne by myself, instead of sending me by a policeman.
"I went, expecting to get a hearing, but this was denied me. They wished to know where I wanted to go. I answered to Thun. They replied, 'You cannot go to Thun,' and got into a passion and sent me to prison, where I remained nine days. The brethren did all they could for me to get the authorities to hear me, stating that the preacher at Siglerswyl (who complained against me) did not represent the thing as it was. They had encouragement to have a re-hearing for me, till last Friday. They had petitioned testifying that I had not brought a strange doctrine in the land, etc., but all to no purpose; in short, on last Saturday morning, I was transported by a policeman, and never got clear until at the dividing line of Switzerland and France."
I first made the acquaintance of Elder Jacob F. Secrist in Geneva, and found him to be a very humble and devoted missionary. He had just commenced to lay the foundation of a permanent work in Berne and Thun (a town some fifteen miles distant from the former) where he had by the blessing of God, after enduring many hardships, baptized a number of good people and established one or two branches. He was honorably released to return to Zion, but did not live to enjoy the happiness of a re-union with his family in this life, as he died somewhere in the States on his way home.
For four or five weeks during these exciting times I kept no journal, as it was not prudent under the circumstances to do so. In a country where a man may be arrested and imprisoned at any movement, as we then expected to be, and without a knowledge, on his part, of any charge being made against him, it was not safe to write and carry evidence of one's movements and connections. Although there was nothing wrong about our acts or intentions, as our only desire was to remain that we might teach our brethren and sisters and preach the gospel, as required by the revelations of God; we wished to avoid bringing trouble on others, if we had to feel the effects of prejudice and persecution.
About this time Elder C. R. Savage, now of Salt Lake City, whose field of labor was at Lausanne, visited us. I was greatly pleased to see him. He was an old acquaintance, as we had been fellow-laborers in the Southampton conference in England.
While daily expecting to hear from the police-authorities, we occupied all the time we could in straightening up Church records and accounts of Church books received from and sent to different places, which was somewhat difficult as we had to estimate values in different kinds of money.
As the time passed, Elder Mayer was busy visiting and preaching to the Saints and strangers, who attended our meetings, and I assisted him to the best of my ability. I had studied hard and was steadily improving in a knowledge and use of the German tongue. We anticipated trouble from the authorities, in consequence of rumors prevailing, but we trusted in the Lord who had sent us to warn this nation, and we waited with confidence coming events.
About December 16th, Elder Mayer and myself received notice from the police to leave the canton of Zurich within eight days. Elder Mayer made application to the American consul, who would do nothing for him, and I wrote to the British ambassador at Berne. In my communication I claimed protection as a British subject and stated how I had been treated by the authorities of the canton in which I then was, they even refusing to give any reason for the unjust course pursued in regard to me.
He gave an almost immediate reply in which he stated that he had asked for explanation concerning the course pursued towards me, and had also used his influence to have the order of banishment suspended for a time. He then asked me to write him fully, as I afterwards did, any and all causes which I might think had led to the action of the authorities.
Elder Mayer, as the American consul would do nothing for him, had to leave and was shortly afterwards honorably released to return home to Zion: and notwithstanding my protest, the act of expulsion against me remained in force and I had also to leave or go to prison, and remembering the advice of the ambassador, to comply with the orders of the police until the matter was fully investigated, I concluded to comply with the requisition.
Brother Mayer was the first missionary sent to Zurich in this dispensation. He was an example of industry and perseverance in his ministry and was the means of accomplishing a great deal of good. He baptized quite a number and organized a branch of the Church in Zurich and another in Weiningen. He left, carrying with him the blessings and good feelings of both Saints and strangers who knew him.
I concluded, waiting the final issue of the ambassador's negotiations, to remove to Badan in a neighboring Catholic canton. Brother Savage, who could not speak German, decided to go with me for a few days before returning to his field of labor in Lausanne. The grief of the Saints was visible on every countenance, they felt discouraged, it seemed to them that, in the departure of the Elders, the last link connecting them with the body of the Church was about to be severed and that they were soon to be left without a shepherd.
The excitement about the "Mormons" had been considerable, the newspapers, as usual, printing all manner of falsehoods concerning us and those of Zurich printing a notice of our expulsion and advising the authorities in neighboring cantons to look after us. The Protestant cantons manifested their opposition to us the most, and the excitement among them was general. The Catholic cantons showed little interest in the matter, therefore we thought it best to take refuge in one of them.
Extremely little has ever been accomplished by the Elders among a Roman Catholic population, in consequence of the dense ignorance, in a general sense, of the mass of the people and their unwillingness to examine anything religious apart from their own faith—the result doubtless of an education which shackles thought and crushes out aspirations which would lead to religious freedom. A few days experience, surrounded by an unfriendly influence, inclined us to accept an invitation to visit a family of Saints in Weiningen, the same with whom I had lodged at a former period and in whose house I had been mobbed. That place was, however, within the boundaries of the canton of Zurich and therefore dangerous to our liberty. We had been considering the propriety of Brother Savage returning to Lausanne and my going into one of the other Protestant cantons where there were a few scattered Saints, but I thought it would be better to reserve my visit in that direction until the excitement was somewhat allayed that I might be able to remain for a season.
At this juncture the invitation reached us from Weiningen. Our friends promised us the utmost secrecy and care, as they, of course, understood that I had been banished and was in danger, if found in the canton. I finally concluded to go to Weiningen, and as the distance was short Brother Savage accompanied me. We got within two or three miles of our destination as it was getting dark, and, as arranged, were met by two of the brethren who came to pilot us into town in safety. On our arrival at Brother Hug's residence we were met by kind friends whose glad countenances testified to the happiness they felt at beholding us. Supper was ready and we all sat down to partake of the blessings provided by this kind family when suddenly the door was thrust open and a policeman, with several assistants, walked into the room and arrested Brother Savage and myself.
They next proceeded to relieve us of such things as our pockets contained, all the while asking questions which we did not answer, and congratulating each other upon the capture they had made. I had quite a sum of mission money in large silver pieces which I intended to send to Geneva by Brother Savage. As our visitors commenced to relieve us of such articles as we had, the Hug brothers (there were several of them) interposed, which led to considerable wrangling, when I thought of the money, and backing against brother Jacob Hug, drew nearly all of the money out of my pocket, unobserved, and, as I thought, put the money into his, but the outside opening of his trousers led down his leg as well as into his pocket, and, unfortunately, in the hurry the money went the wrong way, making a noise and scattering all over the floor. The police, amazed, cleared the floor and picked up most of the coin. Brother Jacob Hug claimed the money, however, and as the police could not prevail upon me to own it, Brother Jacob had it returned to him the next day. Without partaking of the good supper which had been set before us we were escorted to temporary quarters for the night at the house of a village policeman. On the way a remark was made by one of us when we were at once ordered not to speak. We were placed in a large room and against the door inside was pushed a heavy table, on which were placed a loaded musket, a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread. The contents of the first for us if we attempted to escape, and of the two latter for the benefit of the policeman and his assistant, who sat up all night to take care of us.
Our guards felt elated over their wine and our capture, the circumstances connected with which seemed to please them very much. I wondered how our arrival in the village was known, and so soon, but learned all about it from the conversation that took place between them. Some persons had accidentally seen us meet the brethren who came to guide us into the village.
Not having answered their questions when they arrested us, they took it for granted that we did not understand German, so they spoke freely. The policeman pointing to me said, "That is a fine fellow, he used to pretend to give English lessons, how could he, when he cannot speak any German?"
We were hungry, at least I was, and supposed Brother Savage was also. I dared not ask him as we might have been separated, but when it grew late and there was no sign of anything for us to eat, I distinctly asked in German if we were to have any supper. The effect of this very natural request was most remarkable. The policeman sprang to his feet and without a word walked over to where I sat, put his fist to my face and hissed out the word, "I thought you could not speak German."
I replied, "O yes, I can sometimes."
"Then why did you not answer me in Mr. Hug's house?" he asked.
I answered, "Because I did not choose to do so."
He was very angry and appeared ready to strike me, but he thought better of it and walked back to his seat, stating that we would get no supper. Just at this time his wife looked in at the door and with great kindness plead with him to allow her to give us something to eat, but he would not. He at length got up and offered me a piece of crust of the bread in a very surly manner, which I declined. I then told him we were ready to go to bed. He pointed to the floor and said we might lie there, but his wife again interfered in our behalf, and after considerable sharp talk on her part, as well as his, she was permitted to bring in a bed and bed clothes, when we lay down and spent the night very comfortably, as we were tired.
Early in the morning we were ordered to get up, and without breakfast and marched to Zurich, six miles distant. Like Brother Secrist, we had to go before, the policeman walking behind with his musket over his shoulder. As we reached Zurich our procession attracted the attention of the citizens, and, before we reached the jail, had quite a following. At the jail Brother Savage and I were separated. I was taken to an underground cell and locked in. Its size was about eight feet by six, with one small window on a level with the street; but worst of all, the cell was abominably dirty. The furniture consisted of a narrow bench and one or two old rugs, the place being used to confine persons in temporarily, until they were taken away for trial. During the day a number of prisoners were unceremoniously pushed in and shortly afterwards taken away again, and although most of them were anything but pleasant companions, the changes made broke the monotony of the long prison hours. They were all hand-cuffed and some looked as if it were a very proper precaution. Some were bound with great severity and begged me, as soon as we were alone, to adjust the small chain which was round their wrists, in the hope of obtaining relief.
As the day wore on the polluted atmosphere of the cell sickened me. The foulness of the place was beyond description, the very walls as high as a man could reach were covered with filthiness. I grew tired, as there was no resting place, being on my feet all day, and hungry, as I had not eaten anything for about thirty hours. At seven o'clock at night I was taken out of the den and brought before my former acquaintance, the Stadthalter, with whom I had quite a friendly conversation, more seeking information on his part than as an examination. I complained bitterly about the place of my confinement, which I think had not been known to him, and he told me that he would send me to a more comfortable place; he also said he did not desire to punish or expel me, but he was obliged to meet the wishes of the priests, whose influence was very great. A policeman was now ordered to take me to new quarters.
How fresh and invigorating was the air when we stepped out into the street! The extreme pleasure in some degree compensated me for what I had endured. I walked alongside of my new conductor until we reached a prison situated in the upper part of town, where I was received by the jailor and introduced to four genteel looking young men, who occupied two rooms in the building. My new friends were quite pleased to see me, and, bringing up their seats close to mine, inquired in a friendly and confidential way "what I was in for." I told them it was for preaching, which caused them to look at each other rather dubiously, as much as to say, "that story won't do," but I afterwards explained matters more fully, and I think satisfied them with the facts.
There were two beds in one room and one in the other, all clean and neat, although made every morning by the prisoners themselves, this labor being one of the duties of the prisoners. My companions desired me to occupy the single bed while they occupied the two in the other room. This was kind and acceptable, and before I lay down I rejoiced in expressing my great thanks to God, the giver of all good, for His kindness unto me, and in so ordering, that I had an opportunity of sleeping in peace. Indeed, although it may seem strange, I was grateful for the privilege, of resting from the anxiety and suspense to which I had so long been subjected. It was a kind of relief to be in prison under the circumstances, especially as I felt that I had done all the good my opportunities permitted, although there were some serious doubts in my mind as to when I might obtain my freedom.
It should be remembered that in Switzerland then, and in other European countries, a man might be imprisoned on suspicion at any time, without any certainty as to when he might be liberated. I slept well, and arose early, agreeable with our prison regulations. Our first work was bed-making, which had to be done well, as it was afterwards inspected. It was here I took my first lesson in that domestic labor, and as I appeared awkward in my first movements, one of my companions kindly offered to assist me. My companions were all respectable-looking and well-dressed young men, and supported by the canton, as they told me, for stealing. Three had been hotel waiters. They were cheerful and entertaining, and, during the time I remained with them, treated me with the utmost consideration. One of them, a mimic, diverted us daily with exhibitions of the walk and social manners of men of different nationalities, which were exceedingly good and helped to pass away the time, and I, when opportunities offered and sometimes at their own request, encouraged them to live a better life, and taught them some of the principles of the gospel.
There was one serious trouble; we were always hungry, being only half fed. Our meals were served with due regularity, and consisted of a little gruel and a small portion of bread for breakfast, of potatoes and sometimes sour krout with a very small piece of meat for dinner, and gruel and bread, as a change, for supper, but not half enough at any time. No matter what position we occupied, or what we were doing, as soon as the key rattled in the door about meal times we were on the alert and ready. I had spent four days and three nights in prison, when one day the jailor came in at an unusual time and said, "Mr. Budge, you are at liberty to go." I was not told why I was imprisoned, nor why I was set at liberty, and I asked no questions, but, taking leave of my companions, walked out into the street a free man. I found Brother Savage at liberty. The Saints had only that morning learned where we were in custody. Brother Savage, after the first day's imprisonment, had been obliged to consort with vile characters and in addition to other inconveniences had to endure the noise of their riotous conduct. In a day or two he left for Lausanne, expressing the natural kindliness of his disposition towards me and wishes for my safety, as I thought it best to remain in Zurich, at least until I received another notice to leave.
There was still no news from Berne with regard to myself, although I looked for immediate results after the dispatch of my last letter to the ambassador, and I continued to attend meetings and instruct the people, taking special pains to inform them in regard to the organization of the Church and the jurisdiction of the Priesthood in its varied callings, foreseeing the probability of their being left to themselves, at least for a time. I was naturally in a state of suspense, although the authorities made no new movement. I moved about very quietly among the Saints and others, subjecting myself to such inconveniences as were necessary to enable me to do my duty, the newspapers in the meantime still keeping the people in a state of excitement about the "Mormons."
PROGRESS IN LEARNING TO SPEAK GERMAN—COMMUNICATION FROM THE BRITISH AMBASSADOR—NOTIFIED TO LEAVE ZURICH—GO TO SCHAFFHAUSEN—THE FALLS OF THE RHINE—UNABLE TO OBTAIN PERMISSION TO REMAIN IN THE CANTON—SEEK ANOTHER PLACE OF RETREAT—LODGE WITH A FAMILY OF SAINTS—DIFFICULTY IN KEEPING SECLUDED—CALLED TO GENEVA—RETURN TO ENGLAND.
The Saints in Zurich and vicinity were enjoying much of the Holy Spirit and rejoicing greatly in the faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ; they were beginning to comfort themselves with hopes that I might be permitted, after all, to remain among them unmolested; and I was, under the blessing of God, making such progress in conversation as encouraged me in hopes of being still more useful, when at length I received the following communication from the British ambassador:
"BERNE, JANUARY 11, 1855.
"Sir:—I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 20th ult., and of your passport transmitted to me therein.
"The information conveyed in that letter, that you belonged to the sect denominated 'Mormons,' and the indication it contained that you were in the habit of preaching its doctrines, alike revolting and opposed to civilization and religion, led me to anticipate the results of my application to the Federal Council for explanation as to the motive of your threatened expulsion from the canton of Zurich. But having requested such an explanation at the hands of the authorities here. I thought it right to allow the matter to take its course and I therefore waited until I should receive from the Federal Council a reply to the note I had written on the subject. This reply I only received yesterday morning and I was fully prepared for the tenor of its contents. These are in brief to the effect, that Mormonism has lately been on the increase in the canton of Zurich, and its preaching and ceremonial acts have given rise to disorders in one locality on account of their immoral tendency, so that the police had deemed it necessary to refuse to the two Mormon teachers permission to reside in the canton; that you are one of these teachers, that you have hitherto resided in the district without legal permission to do so, and that it is the refusal to grant you such permission (which is required by Zurich law for Swiss citizens as well as foreigners and may be refused by the authorities to any one on just causes) of which you now complain.
"It is further observed in the note of the Federal Council, that the Government of Zurich, considering that Budge belongs to the sect of the Mormons, and devotes himself to the propagation of their tenets, that among these is found polygamy—a state of things incompatible with the basis of social and family life in the above canton, and, lastly, that the preaching of these individuals has occasioned disorder, is of the opinion that the determination of the police of Zurich is fully justified.
"The Federal Council itself approves of this determination on the part of the Government of Zurich, and is of opinion that there are no grounds for any longer delay being allowed, previous to your being ordered to quit the canton. This decision was transmitted to Zurich by last night's post.
"Coinciding as I do in the estimate formed of the pernicious doctrines held and disseminated by you, according to your own admission in your letter to me of the 20th of December, and considering that a Swiss citizen acting in a similar manner would meet with precisely similar treatment, I can see that I should not be authorized in interfering in any way as the queen's representative here, to prevent the execution of the order of the Zurich authorities—that you should leave the canton immediately. If you will follow my recommendation you will comply quietly with the order you have received, and in selecting your destination, if you should still remain in Switzerland, you will do well to recollect that other cantons have the same laws in this respect as Zurich and that wherever you go it will be advisable for you to refrain from preaching doctrines, which, whatever may be your own belief, are abominated as in the highest degree blasphemous and immoral, by the whole civilized world. I retain your passport in case you should wish to have it signed by me, to render it valid for any particular route you may decide on taking, and I will transmit it to you on learning your intentions. I am, sir your obedient servant,
"G. V. R. GORDON,
"H. B. Majesty's Minister.
"To Mr. William Budge, Zurich."
The strong prejudice of the ambassador is very apparent in the opening lines of his letter. The idea is conveyed, that he would not have made any application at all on my behalf if he had known that I was a "Mormon," that fact apart from the merits of the question at issue would have been sufficient to cause him to neglect his duty as a protector of his countrymen and their interests; but, having requested such an explanation at the hands of the authorities, he "thought it right to allow the matter to take its course." I thought as much when I wrote my first letter, therefore made my protest urgent, and refrained from introducing any religious consideration until he would commit himself in an effort to do me justice.
The reply of the Federal Council as quoted, contained several misrepresentations, but without them there would have been no showing of necessity or consistency in expelling a stranger from a "free republic." The disorders referred to were the acts of native mobocrats without provocation, and there was no more immorality about the baptism of believers into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than the baptism of people into a Baptist community. It was not necessary to refuse the two "Mormon teachers permission to reside in the canton," as we had duly deposited our passports and met all requirements made upon us by the authorities, and therefore did not ask for permission, which we had long enjoyed.
In regard to polygamy, we did not teach it and had testified before the authorities that we had no disposition or authority, even if we had the power, to interfere with social life in the canton, by advising the practice of our marriage views. It was true that "Mormonism" was increasing and also the rage of the priests proportionately, and as something had to be done to satisfy them, the rulers gave an unrighteous decision, which was endorsed by a narrow-minded British minister.
In a day or two after the ambassador's letter was received, I was summoned before the police and received peremptory orders to leave the canton in three days, or I would be arrested.
At last I was obliged to leave Zurich, and all our friends were full of grief on account of the determination of the authorities to drive us from the country. I had been pursuing my studies at all convenient opportunities and was able now to teach the Saints with more freedom, and since Elder Mayer's departure, the responsibility of the work in this part of the mission had devolved upon me. The interest I felt in the prosperity of the Saints was deep and abiding, and I sought the help of the Lord to enable me to instruct them in those things which were most necessary under the circumstances, feeling as we all did, that I would probably soon leave them. I felt the importance of the work being sustained in German Switzerland, so I determined to go no further away than was absolutely necessary.
On January 16, 1855, I left Zurich for Schaffhausen, and arrived there the next day, having walked part of the way. I had an introduction from a sister to a family in this place on whom I called and by whom I was kindly received, but it was necessary for me to obtain permission to lodge with my friends; I therefore visited the police office and explained that my passport was in the hands of the ambassador and would reach me soon, and they concluded, "as an obligation," that I might stay in town one night without it. On the second day of my arrival I was summoned before the police and examined, and had to telegraph to the ambassador, who replied that the passport was on the way, which for the time prevented me, I suppose, from being locked up.
My passport arriving on the 20th, I went to the police office and presented it, was closely questioned, and came to the conclusion that there was not liberty enough to teach the truth in this place. Schaffhausen is near the line between Switzerland and Germany, which accounts for the unusual severity of its regulations. I was in hope of doing some good, as the neighbors continued visiting my lodgings to see and talk with the "Englishman," and smoke their pipes. In talking we could hear, but it was with difficulty sometimes, when there were a number present, to see each other through the smoke.
Near this city are the beautiful Rhine Falls which have a world-wide reputation. I here introduce the following brief description of these beautiful falls from a work lately published:
"The falls of the Rhine, near Schaffhausen are among the largest in Europe. Though nothing in comparison with such falls as Niagara, they are imposing and beautiful. Shortly after passing the pretty town of Schaffhausen, the Rhine hastens, hurrying on for about three miles narrowed between woody knolls and low rocks. By these rocks, in the pass between Daschsen and Neuhausen, the river is divided into three shoots, which dash down a depth of about seventy feet. The spectacle of the falls is exceedingly fine on both banks, where every accommodation is equally made for visitors to enjoy the scene.
"A fine view of the falls is obtained from the garden of the castle of Laufen, on the left bank of the river. It is immediately opposite the Schweizerhof, from which visitors can cross in a ferry-boat, fare half a franc. The land belongs to a private family, but, by contract with the canton of Zurich, strangers are permitted to visit the castle and grounds; fee, one franc. A wooden balcony overhangs the rush of waters. The actual fall here is about eighty feet. The water's division into three shoots can be well seen. The largest body of water falls during the months of June and July. Although this, one of the finest falls in Europe, is not a Niagara, nevertheless the general landscape is superior to that in the vicinity of Niagara falls. The range of the Alps including Mont Blanc, distant 185 miles, can be seen from this point and this alone would form a feature of the place."
After remaining several days in Schaffhausen without any apparent results, I went to Weingarten and called on a Brother Bonnelli, of whom I had heard, and was received by the family with great kindness. This brother took my passport to the village authority, and was surprised when that dignitary questioned him closely and declared that I was a "Mormon." He was angry with Brother Bonnelli for entertaining me, but eventually sent a permit allowing me to lodge at their house and retained my passport.
I visited and conversed with Saints and strangers for several days in Weingarten when quite unexpectedly I was summoned before the Stadthalter, where I received my passport and a notice to leave the canton of Thurgau in two days. The Stadthalter's instructions contained no reason therefore, but he informed me it was because I was a "Mormon." It was the settled policy of the cantons to drive the Elders out of the country, and the decision of the federal government as given in my case, when expelled from Zurich, sustained them. The papers published every movement made by the authorities, and all strangers being obliged to deposit their passports at the nearest office that they might be permitted to stay where they desired to settle or lodge for the time, it was impossible to remain long undiscovered. To lodge in any house without the legal permit, providing the family were willing, subjected them to fine or imprisonment, and this was not desirable. I fully considered the circumstances and probabilities in the spirit of prayer and supplication to my Heavenly Father that He might guide and preserve me in my efforts to remain in Switzerland until His servants were satisfied with the efforts made to sustain the Church and warn the people. It was true that President Tyler had left the responsibility with me as to what I ought to do, but I was not yet quite satisfied, and finally determined to return to a small village on the Lake of Zurich, where a faithful family of Saints resided and where I might live unknown for a season, except to the family, in whom I had great confidence. How to get there was the question to be solved. On receiving my passport, when asked where I was going as was usual, I replied to St. Gall, such being my intention at the time, and the endorsement was made accordingly, but on reflection it was almost certain that my intention would be known in St. Gall before I could get there myself. To go to Kussnacht (the village on the lake), which was almost in an opposite direction to St. Gall, would probably be fatal to my liberty if my passport should be examined. My first movement from Weingarten towards my place of refuge would also bring me into the canton of Zurich, from which I had been twice expelled; but if I could spend one night on the journey safely, I had strong hopes of making the trip without detection.
On the afternoon of the 14th of February I left Brother Bonnelli's house with regret, as we were doing good and the prospect was encouraging. It rained all day and was very muddy under foot. I therefore concluded to remain for the night at a small town named Elgg. It was evening. I walked into a respectable looking hotel and arranged for supper and lodging. The people were obliging, but to save trouble I concluded not to use any more German than a few words, such as any traveler is supposed to pick up in a few days. After drying my clothes a little, as they were wet through with rain, I sat down to supper. Men were coming and going during the evening as is usual in such places on the continent of Europe. They come to chat with their neighbors, read the papers, smoke and drink beer. I noticed a man sitting at the table opposite me. He had been there some time, although we had not spoken to each other. The man at length said to the waiter—of course in German—"You have a stranger here."
"Yes," the waiter replied, "an Englishman, but he cannot speak German."
That was satisfactory to me as I went on with my supper, but directly after, the man looking over to me, said (in German), "You are an Englishman, I believe?"
"Ein Englaender," I replied, wishing to break off the conversation, when, to my astonishment, he addressed me in pretty good English. After asking several questions which led to an agreeable conversation, he informed me that he was the chief authority of the village, and then requested to look at my passport, which I at once handed him, but as I at the moment complimented him on the ease and fluency with which he spoke English (which seemed to gratify him), he probably did not notice that, according to the last endorsement which was written upon the document, I should have been on my way to St. Gall. My friend returned the passport good-naturedly, signifying his approval and stating that my staying at the hotel for the night was all right.
I was up early the next morning and had breakfast, but it rained so heavily that I was detained an hour or two at the inn. On this day's journey I passed through Winterthur and reached Zurich, as I intended, just as it became dark, and passed through to Kussnacht, distance during the day twenty-seven miles, but the walking was heavy as the roads were bad, and the snow was in many places over eighteen inches deep. The kind reception which I met with from Brother and Sister Elleker and family filled me with gratitude to God and to them, and I had need of their attention as I was completely worn out. I remained with this most excellent family until the eighth day of March, in the strictest seclusion, except when visited by a brother occasionally, from Zurich. The family were silk-ribbon weavers and had necessarily occasional callers. My apartment was up-stairs, but it was lonesome, and as there were no arrangements for warming the rooms, I went below to the sitting room as often as I could with safety. In doing this I had some narrow escapes from being seen, as to return to my room it was necessary to pass through a passage-way in view of the front door. It is a very difficult thing for a person to keep hid in a country like this, for a stranger is readily observed, and had the neighbors' suspicions been once awakened, my hours of liberty would have been few, and my protectors brought into serious trouble. As is common in many houses in Switzerland, Brother Elleker's sitting room was warmed by an oven projecting out from the wall, the mouth of the furnace being in another apartment. The projection was probably not less than five by four feet, and in height reached from the floor to within eighteen inches or two feet of the ceiling. This is covered on the sides and end with enameled pottery ware. The heat from the inside makes this oven a very desirable place to lean against in cold weather. In addition to other uses the people dry chicory on the top of the oven, which is flat, before grinding it to use instead of coffee. At Brother Elleker's, one side of the oven was near the wall of the house, leaving room for a number of narrow steps leading to the top. These steps were a favorite resting-place for me, as by going up a step or two I could not be seen, unless a visitor came well round into the room; if one did or was likely to do so, I got on top of the oven where I was entirely hid, as a curtain covered the space between the top of the oven and the ceiling. A neighbor woman came in one day whose movements were suspicious and I got on the top, but it happened that the top was entirely covered with small pieces of chicory, quite dry and, of course, very hard. There being no time to consider comfort, I was quickly, hands and knees, on the ragged edges of the dried root, and, to my consternation, from under the curtain I saw the woman deliberately plant herself against the side of the oven. You may imagine my condition, as the heat was oppressive and the chicory to my feelings got every moment harder. Sister Elleker did her best to get rid of her neighbor, without telling her to go, and when she succeeded I came down the steps without the least approach to hilarity in my disposition.
Shortly after arriving at Brother Elleker's I was in communication with a few of the leading brethren in Zurich, and one at a time would occasionally come and see me, the distance being only five or six miles, and I availed myself of every opportunity to instruct them in their duties. I also kept President Tyler acquainted occasionally with my whereabouts and condition.
On March 8th I received a telegram from President Tyler, desiring me to come to him at Geneva, which I at once prepared to do. I had become somewhat uneasy, as the visits of the brethren, although made with great caution, were being noticed by the neighbors, and I was satisfied I could not at present forward the cause to any great extent, not enough to justify the constant risk to myself and others. I and other Elders had been in all the Protestant German cantons, but two or three which we were not warranted in visiting, as they were strongly prejudiced and only in name removed from the bigotry and bitterness of Catholicism, and we had been expelled from, or prohibited from teaching in all we had visited; and during the last three months I had been summoned before the police authorities in different places no less than thirteen times.
I bade my kind friends an affectionate farewell and blessed them for their kindness and consideration which they had manifested towards me, and in a few days was united with my brethren in Geneva again.
Brother Tyler had written to President F. D. Richards, at Liverpool, in regard to my future labors, as there was no opening then in Switzerland, suggesting that there might be an opportunity to open up the work in Germany, but the result of the correspondence was the decision that I should return to England for the present.
I remained in Geneva until the 20th of April, 1855, (expecting to take a small party of Italian Saints from Lyons to Liverpool, on their way to the valleys of Utah, but circumstances prevented their coming), when I left for England by way of Dijon and Paris, where I duly arrived after an absence of seven months.
With regard to the feelings of the Swiss nation, within the last thirty years the policy of the government and the sentiment of the people have undergone a great change in favor of liberty. In 1876, Elder J. U. Stucki, then president of the Swiss and German Missions, was summoned before a district judge for certain expressions relating to polygamy, in a pamphlet which he had published, and he was fined fifty francs and an order was made for the confiscation of the book. Elder Stucki appealed to the supreme court of the canton (Berne) which confirmed the decision of the lower court; but the decision of the judges not being unanimous, Brother Stucki, encouraged, carried the case before the supreme court of the nation which reversed the two former rulings—a result which led to much inquiry by strangers and renewed prosperity for the Church.
I visited Switzerland again in 1879, visiting Schaffhausen, Wienfelden, Zurich, Berne and many other places, attending public meetings without using a passport at all, although I had one with me.
Within the last few weeks, in answer to an application for the repression of "Mormonism" in Berne Oberland (the district from which Elder Secrist was expelled in 1854) the authorities declared in effect, that the Latter-day Saints had as much right to preach their doctrines as any other religious denomination had to expound theirs.
TRADITIONS OF THE ZUNIS—THREE CHILDREN HEALED—ADMINISTER TO 406 INDIANS WHO WERE ATTACKED WITH THE SMALL-POX, MOST OF WHOM RECOVER—OPPOSED BY A PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND OTHERS—FATE OF MY OPPOSERS.
I arrived at the Zuni village on the 20th of January, 1878, on my way to the Mexican settlements, to preach the gospel.
Circumstances caused me to stay at Zuni eight days, thus giving me an opportunity to become acquainted with their traditions, customs and history.
They say that, before the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards, the Zuni Indians lived in Mexico. Some of them still claim to be the descendants of Montezuma. At the time of the conquest they fled to Arizona, and settled there. They were at one time a very powerful tribe, as the ruins all over that part of the country testify. They have always been considered a very industrious people. The fact that they have at one time been in a state of civilization far in advance of what they are at present, is established beyond a doubt. Before the Catholic religion was introduced among them, they worshiped the sun. At present they are nearly all Catholics. A few of them have been baptized into our Church by Brothers Ammon M. Tenney and R. H. Smith, and nearly all the tribe say they are going to be baptized.
They have a great many words in the language like the Welsh, and with the same meaning.
Their tradition says that over three hundred years before the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards, some white men landed in Mexico and told the Indians that they had come from the regions beyond the sea to the east. They say that from these white men came the ancient kings of Mexico, from whom Montezuma descended.
These white men were known to the Indians of Mexico by the name of Cambaraga; and are still remembered so in the traditions of the ZuniIndians. In time those white people became mixed with Indians, by marriage, until scarcely a relic of them remained. A few traditions of the Mexican Indians and a few Welsh words among the Zunis, Navajos, and Moquises are all that can be found of that people now.
I have the history of the ancient Britons, which speaks of Prince Madoc, who was the son of Owen Guynedd, king of Wales, having sailed from Wales, in the year 1160, with three ships. He returned in the year 1163, saying he had found a beautiful country, across the western sea.
He left Wales again in the year 1164 with fifteen ships and three thousand men. He was never again heard of.
The circumstances of the healing of the Indians who were affected with the small pox, which occurred during my stay among the Zunis, are as follows:
I put up with a Zuni Indian known as Captain Lochee, who had three children sick with the small-pox. After I had been asleep two or three hours, I was awakened by the cries of the family and some of the neighbors who had come in. I arose and inquired the cause of the crying, and was informed by Captain Lochee that his daughter, a child of about twelve years of age, was dying. I saw she was gasping for breath. I felt like administering to her then, but the Spirit of the Lord prompted me to wait a little longer. I waited until she had done gasping and did not appear to breathe. The Spirit of the Lord moved upon me very strongly to administer to her, which I did; she revived and slept well the remainder of the night. I also administered to the other two who were sick in the same house that night. All was quiet the remainder of the night, and all seemed much better in the morning. The news of this spread through the town, and the next day I was called to visit about twenty-five families, all of whom had one or more sick with the small-pox. They also wished me to administer to the sick, which I did. I was called upon to visit from ten to twenty families a day for four days after my arrival, and administered to their sick. The power of the Lord was made manifest to such a degree that nearly all I administered to recovered. The disease was spreading so rapidly that I was unable to visit all the houses. One morning about eight o'clock one of the Zuni women came for me to go and visit the sick; she took me to a house which had a large room in it, about twenty by forty feet. When I entered the room I found they had gathered the sick from all parts of the village, till they had completely filled the house. The stench that arose and the horrible sight that met my eyes is beyond description. They had a Spaniard there, who understood the Zuni language, for an interpreter, who told me they wanted me to administer to all those who were sick in the room. I being the only Elder in the village, it seemed to be a great task to administer to so many, but I called on the Lord to strengthen me. I commenced, and as fast as I administered to them they were removed, but other sick ones were continually being brought in. It was late in the afternoon before I could perceive that they began to diminish in numbers. When I had administered to the last one and went out, the sun had set and it was getting dark. The Spaniard who had stayed there all day asked me if I knew how many I had prayed for. I told him that I did not keep count; he said he had, and that it was 406. The next morning my arms were so sore that I could hardly move them.
There was a Presbyterian minister in the village, who became jealous of the influence I was gaining with the Indians. He persuaded two Spaniards, one Navajo Indian, one albino Zuni, and one of the Zuni medicine men to circulate lies and frighten the Zunis, telling them that those who were healed were healed by the power of the devil.
I felt weak from the effects of administering so much, and, on the second day after administering to the 406, I started for the settlement in Savoia valley. The next day after arriving in Savoia I was taken down with a severe fever, which lasted about a week. I stopped with the family of Brother John Hunt, who treated me very kindly. It was about three weeks before I was able to resume my journey to the Mexican settlements on the Rio Grande. I spent about four months preaching to the Mexican people in New Mexico. When I arrived at Savoia on my return, I was informed by the brethren that the minister who opposed me at Zuni had passed there and was nearly dead with the consumption. When I arrived at Zuni I was told by some of the most reliable Zunis that all to whom I had administered recovered, excepting five or six that the minister gave medicine to, and four or five that the medicine man had tried to cure by magic. The medicine man that opposed me had died during my absence, and the Navajo who opposed me, on returning home, was killed by his people to keep the small-pox from spreading among them.
This is a true statement of the manner in which the power of God was made manifest among the Zunis, and also the judgments of God which followed some of those who opposed it. It seemed that I was, by the providence of God, cast among them; and I felt that I was one of the weakest of my brethren, and to ask the Lord to strengthen me if it was His will to make His power manifest through me. If the Lord had not strengthened me I could not have borne up under what I passed through at Zuni. (Brother Ammon M. Tenney, who questioned the Indians themselves in regard to this miraculous event, says they testify as a body to the truthfulness of the narrative.—Ed. )
MY BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD—EMBRACE THE GOSPEL—A VISION—GATHER WITH THE SAINTS AT KIRTLAND—ZION'S CAMP—MANIFESTATIONS IN THE TEMPLE—THE SAINTS DRIVEN FROM MISSOURI—THE PROPHET AND PATRIARCH MARTYRED—OUR JOURNEY WESTWARD—SENT ON A MISSION.
I was born September 3, 1814, in the town of Putnam, Washington Co., State of New York. I lived with my parents until upwards of fourteen years of age, and, being the eldest of my father's family, I was kept constantly at work and had but little opportunity of acquiring an education. My father made no profession of religion, but led a moral and virtuous life. My childhood was not marked with any crime, although I paid but little or no attention to religion until the seventeenth year of my age. In July, 1832, when I first heard the fullness of the gospel proclaimed by Elder Simeon Carter, I was convinced that the scriptures were true and that the Book of Mormon was a divine revelation from heaven. I was baptized and spent the following Winter in going to school, working for my board and in meeting with the Saints. In the Spring of 1833, I started in company with Brother John S. Carter to the State of Vermont, where we labored about two months and then returned to New York State.
On the third Sabbath in May while speaking to a congregation I declared that I knew that the Book of Mormon and the work of God were true. The next day while laboring in the field something seemed to whisper to me, "Do you know the Book of Mormon is true?" My mind became perplexed and darkened, and I was so tormented in spirit that I left my work and retired into the woods. The misery and distress that I there experienced cannot be described. The tempter all the while seemed to say, "Do you know the Book of Mormon is true?" I remained in this situation about two hours. Finally I resolved to know, by exercising faith similar to that which the brother of Jared possessed, whether I had proclaimed the truth or not, and commenced praying to the God of heaven for a testimony of these things. Suddenly a glorious personage clothed in white stood before me and exhibited to my view the plates from which the Book of Mormon was taken.
In September, 1834, I started with my father's family for Kirtland, Ohio, as it was necessary for him to stay to transact some business. On my journey I accidentally met with the Prophet Joseph Smith, in Springfield, Pennsylvania; I there saw him for the first time, and heard him preach. I arrived in Kirtland and tarried there through the Winter, during which time Brother Joseph received a revelation calling for the strength of the Lord's house to go to Jackson Co., Missouri, for the redemption of Zion. I was one among the rest that volunteered to go and fulfill this commandment. I started in March, 1834, in company with Joseph Smith and others. We had a long and tedious journey, and arrived in Missouri on the last of June. While the camp tarried there Brother Joseph received the word of the Lord by revelation, relative to the camp, informing us that we were not to fight at that time; that Zion could not be redeemed then; and that he had required us to come thus far, as a trial of our faith; that He had accepted of our offering, etc. Some individuals of the camp felt to murmur at this decree, and wanted to fight the enemies of God. Brother Joseph said the Lord would send a scourge upon us in consequence of this unrighteous feeling. The cholera was upon us in a few hours after this prediction, and some eighteen of our brethren fell victims to its grasp. Among the number that I attended upon and helped to bury was Brother John S. Carter. My feelings on this occasion can never be described. At length I was violently seized with it myself, but through faith in God and the kind assistance of Brother Zera H. Cole, I was rescued from the grasp of death.
When the camp broke up I received an honorable discharge from Lyman Wight, our commander-in-chief. After this I started for home in company with Heber C. Kimball and several others, arriving at Kirtland, Ohio, about the last of July. I found my friends well and the Saints were exerting themselves to the utmost in their poverty to build the Temple which was so far completed that I received my endowments therein in the Spring of 1835. The Lord blessed His people abundantly in that Temple with the Spirit of prophecy, the ministering of angels, visions, etc. I will here relate a vision which was shown to me. It was near the close of the endowments. I was in a meeting for instruction in the upper part of the Temple, with about a hundred of the High Priests, Seventies and Elders. The Saints felt to shout "Hosanna!" and the Spirit of God rested upon me in mighty power and I beheld the room lighted up with a peculiar light such as I had never seen before. It was soft and clear and the room looked to me as though it had neither roof nor floor to the building and I beheld the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Roger Orton enveloped in the light: Joseph exclaimed aloud, "I behold the Savior, the Son of God." Hyrum said, "I behold the angels of heaven." Brother Orton exclaimed, "I behold the chariots of Israel." All who were in the room felt the power of God to that degree that many prophesied, and the power of God was made manifest, the remembrance of which will remain with me while I live upon the earth.
During the Winter of 1836, I attended a high school together with Brothers Joseph and Hyrum and most of the leading men of the Church; it was a fine opportunity for obtaining knowledge. The evenings were mostly spent in meetings for instructions on the principles of our faith and religion. It was then and there that the lectures in the first part of the book of Doctrine and Covenants were given. During this Winter and Spring the members of Zion's Camp were called together to receive an especial blessing, according to a promise which had been made in the before-mentioned revelation. Out of this number most of the Twelve were selected, and also the first Seventy, of which latter I was one. We had a meeting every Saturday to bless and ordain such as had been called. I was blessed and ordained under the hands of Joseph Smith, Jun., Joseph Smith, Sen., and Sidney Rigdon.
I started, on the 18th of April, on a mission to New York and Vermont, and returned home September 20th; and again, in the Winter of '37, I took a short mission to Ohio in company with Lucius N. Scovil. It was while upon this mission that we heard of the persecution that had been raised against the Church in which the printing office was burned and that the Church were leaving for Far West, Missouri. We returned home immediately, and I made preparations and started west with my family on the 26th of March, in company with several other families among whom was Brother Hyrum Smith. We had an exceedingly hard journey in consequence of a great deal of rain and mud. We arrived at Far West the 27th of May, 1837. The next day I went to Davies county with Joseph and Hyrum Smith and some others to look out a new location. I remained there nine days and helped survey the site for a city. As a reward for rendering this assistance at that time Brother Joseph selected me a very fine city lot. I removed my family to Davies county, and in a short time my wife was taken ill with the chills and fever, which rendered her nearly helpless for about six months, during which time the terrible tragedies of persecution were enacted in Missouri. My brother-in-law, Daniel Carter, and some of his family were sick and on my hands to provide for. Thus surrounded by affliction, I, with my brethren, was compelled to remove my sick family to Caldwell county. We tarried there till the next March, and were then obliged to leave the State. In addition to removing my own family I made two or three trips with my team to assist in removing the destitute.
I settled in Pike Co., Illinois. The people there were very kind and humane. I preached during the year of my residence in that county about one hundred times and baptized about thirty individuals. I removed to Nauvoo in April, 1840, where I remained during the Summer, and in the Fall took a mission to the east, in company with Daniel Carter. We took our families along, and by request of Hyrum Smith moved into his large and commodious house in Kirtland, to which was attached a most beautiful orchard. We then proceeded farther east on our mission, as we were authorized to visit the branches of the Church, and gather up means for the Nauvoo Temple. I was gone about two years, when I returned to Nauvoo.
In June, 1844, the storm of persecution arose against the leaders of the Church, which terminated in the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. During this scene I had the command of one of the companies of the Nauvoo Legion, and was on duty about three weeks. I saw Joseph's and Hyrum's dead bodies and was called upon to act as one of the guards at the burial.
At the organization of the Seventies I was appointed one of the presidents over the second quorum, was ordained to that office under the hands of Elder Orson Pratt. During the Winter, Spring and Summer I assisted in ordaining several hundred of the Seventies and organizing them into quorums. In the Fall of 1845 the mob spirit revived and after due reflection and counsel the Church as a body concluded to leave the States and seek a home in the wilderness. Every possible exertion was then made to hasten the completion of the Temple, that the Saints might therein receive their anticipated blessings and endowments before their departure. The Temple was finally dedicated and the giving of endowments was commenced. It was in this house of God that my wife Sophia was sealed to me first and afterwards Amanda M. Hammond was given me by President B. Young.
After receiving our blessings in the Temple, myself and family made all preparations for our wilderness journey, and crossed the Mississippi River on the last day of May, 1846. We had a prosperous journey, overtook the camp at Council Bluffs, crossed the Missouri River in July, and in concert with the spirit of the camp, made preparations for Winter Quarters.
My wife Sophia was sick most of the ensuing Winter, but through the mercy of God her life was spared. Her disease was the scurvy of which quite a number died. At the organization of the camp I was appointed a captain of fifty in Brother Kimball's division, but in consequence of sickness in my family I could not obtain the necessary outfit to go on in the Spring company. During the year 1847 I labored very hard to obtain the means necessary for my expected trip to the valleys of Utah and my arrangements were nearly completed to go in the Spring of '48, when a call came for me to go on a mission to England. I felt as ever to respond to the call, but the idea of leaving my family, to make their way to Utah without my company or assistance, was not very pleasant. My family, however, chose to undertake the enterprise rather than to have me fail to fulfill my mission. I accordingly turned my whole attention to prepare everything in my power as comfortable and convenient as I could for my family's expedition and resolved to see them across the Elkhorn River myself. My team consisted of a good, strong wagon, two yoke of first-rate oxen and a yoke of cows; I got a boy to drive the team.
We left Winter Quarters on the 20th of May, 1848, had a good journey to the river and crossed over it in safety. The people who were going to perform the journey had been gathering there for some time and forming an encampment, awaiting the arrival of the others who were to go. The two large camps would have covered some acres. One was formed in a square with a hollow in the center, the other in an oblong. Here the camps were organized for traveling with captains of hundreds, fifties and tens, with good instructions from Brother Brigham and others as to their every-day duties. A number of the Twelve and many of the friends and relatives of the camp had come over to visit their friends and see them start. The business having all been accomplished, the visitors and myself left for Nauvoo, on the morning of the third of June. While we were waiting for the boat to take us across the river Brother Kimball came and took me by the hand, blessed me, and prophesied many good things on my head; said I should perform a good mission and return with much honor to Zion. He then blessed my wives and said they should both be blessed and prospered in my absence and that we should all live to meet again. These predictions were fulfilled.
I was from the 3rd of June to the 27th of July getting to New York. At St. Louis I met Joseph Clemens, who was also going to England, and we agreed to travel together. We took the Highland Mary on the Ohio River. While on this boat we were attacked by a gang of thieves and robbers, who intended to kill and throw us into the river, but through the mercy of God they did not kill us, though my head was severely injured by their blows. We could get no protection from the officers of the boat, but had to hire a state room and shut ourselves up. The boat was burned on her return trip.
ARRIVAL IN ENGLAND—APPOINTED TO THE GLASGOW CONFERENCE—MY EXPERIENCE THERE—RELEASED—START HOME—A STORM AT SEA—CASE OF MIRACULOUS HEALING—ARRIVAL IN THE VALLEY.
On the 21st of September I arrived in England, and was appointed by Apostle Orson Pratt, who presided over the mission, to travel among all the conferences of the mission with authority to transact any business with both officers and members as the Holy Spirit might dictate. In this way I labored about a year, in which time I was greatly blessed, and always endeavored, by the help of the Lord, to comfort and strengthen the Saints and to build them up in all the principles of our holy religion.
About the 1st of July, 1849, the presidency of the Glasgow conference was vacated and President Pratt appointed me to preside there. It was the largest conference but one in the British Isles. After going there I held a number of council meetings, and then traveled and preached from one branch to another. I did not meet with much violent opposition in my labors. There was not, as a general thing, so much cruelty manifested towards the Elders, as there had been in some parts of America. I will name one incident, however, which took place with me, while I was preaching and building up the Church in my district. At one time I gave out a notice that I would preach in a certain large town. The people said I should not preach in that place and if I attempted to do so, they would tar and feather me and give me a free ride out of their town on a rail. I was apprised of the threats they had made, and the brethren begged me not to go to fill the appointment; but I told them I had never failed to perform my duty in this respect yet, and I had faith that the Lord would help me through this difficulty. I therefore went, trusting in the Lord, and preached to the people in great plainness. They had all their preparations made, and intended to put their threats into execution as soon as the meeting closed. When I had finished they put out all the lights but one, which, I suppose, they had saved for their own use. As they began to leave the house I reached up and extinguished the other light, which left us all in the dark, so they could not tell one from another, and I passed out in the crowd and walked away in peace.
I was released from my mission in January, 1850. By the request of President Pratt I left Liverpool about two weeks sooner than I had intended, as he wished me to sail on a certain boat and take charge of a large box containing money and goods which were to be sent to the Presidency of the Church in Salt Lake.
Having been released to return home, I set sail from England with a company of Saints on the 10th of January, 1850. Jeter Clinton was appointed president of the company and I was appointed one of his counselors.
We sailed along quite comfortably until the twenty-sixth of the month when a terrible storm arose. About two o'clock in the afternoon the sea began to swell and show its power, and the vessel lay first on one side and then on the other. Water came in upon us on both sides of our ship. We lost our sails and yard-arms, and the chains in the rigging of the ship broke. In the evening, when everything looked most dismal, our president called together his counselors and all joined in prayer to the Lord to cause the winds to cease. Scarcely had the brethren ceased their supplications when there was a calm, so sudden in fact that the captain and the officers of the ship were greatly surprised, and they came and inquired of us how it was that we felt so happy and gay amid the great danger through which we had just passed. They could not realize that the Lord removed all fear from the hearts of his faithful Saints when they were endeavoring to do their duty.
On March 8, 1850, we arrived safely at New Orleans. We felt truly thankful that the Lord had preserved us from the dangers of the deep and brought us to the shores of America.
From the time of my arrival at New Orleans till the 1st of June, when I started west, I spent my time between that city and Council Bluffs, in preparing for my journey across the plains. I traveled with the camp in Captain Aaron Johnson's company.
There were a few cases of cholera in the camp as we journeyed along. I always assisted in nursing and administering to the sick. Many were healed by the laying on of hands. One case of miraculous healing I will mention: A Sister McGaw was taken with cholera in its most dreadful form. I administered to her in the morning and she seemed to be healed, but after a short time the suffering returned and was worse, if possible, than before. She said if Brother Burgess could lay hands on her again she would live, if not, she must die. I was at the time a mile behind the train, assisting some of the brethren through a bad place in the road; but the woman seemed so sure of her recovery if I could administer to her again, that they sent a horseman after me in all haste, who was to take charge of my team while I was gone. I rode to the camp as fast as possible and found her in extreme agony. She was so cramped that her head and heels nearly touched each other. As I entered her wagon I felt the power of God resting down upon me mightily. I laid my hands upon her head "in the name of Jesus Christ" and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood commanded the destroyer to leave her and the wagon instantly and trouble her no more. It did so forthwith, but as it retreated I heard it hiss like an adder. The woman was healed from that moment and went on her way rejoicing. Through the mercy of God I reached the valley in safety and found my family alive and well, as Brother Kimball had predicted when he gave me his parting blessing on the banks of the Elkhorn River.
After returning to the valley I was called upon to perform various duties all of which I endeavored to execute with faithfulness and diligence. In the Fall of 1862, I moved to the southern part of Utah, in compliance with a request of the Church authorities, to assist in the settlement of that part of the country. I located in Pine Valley where I erected a saw mill, and this, together with my farming operations, provided me with the necessaries of life.
[It was here that Brother Burgess departed this life on the 10th of February, 1883, after a long life of usefulness in which he ever sought to faithfully perform every duty placed upon him, thereby laying up treasures in eternity which he can henceforth enjoy.]
CALLED TO AUSTRALIA—MY IGNORANCE—PRES. H. C. KIMBALL'S PROPHECY CONCERNING ME—ARRIVE IN SYDNEY—ADVENTURE WITH A DOG—GO TO CAMDEN WITH A FELLOW-MISSIONARY—SOUGHT FOR BY A DRUNKEN MOB—GOD BLINDS THEIR EYES AND WE ESCAPE—AT PICTON WE PREACH IN THE COURT-HOUSE—THE WRITING ON THE WALL—OUR SUCCESS.
In the Spring of 1856, in the days of my youth, I was called by the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to go on a mission to Australia, to preach the gospel. I was young and inexperienced, and had but very little education. I had been to school but six months in my life, although I had been raised in the Church from infancy, and had been taught by my mother that God had spoken from the heavens in these last days and had sent a holy angel to reveal the gospel that had been lost from the earth. These things I understood; but the scriptures I never had read, from the fact that I could not read. Under these circumstances I went to President Heber C. Kimball and asked permission to stay at home one year, and I would go to school and learn to read and write, and then I would go. But he said that he had called me to a mission and he wanted me to go now. I received my endowments, and President Kimball blessed me and prophesied many great things which should happen to me in the next three years and a half; for he said that I would be gone that time, and should learn to read and write by my close application and the help of the Holy Spirit. I bade farewell to my aged mother and started, in company with some other Elders, for Australia.
We arrived in Carson Valley, where Judge Drummond was holding a court at the time. President Orson Hyde was probate judge in that valley, and had held a court a short time before we arrived. He had decided a case of law between Col. Reese and another in the case of a mill. A. P. Chessley, one of our missionaries, filed a demurrer against Brother Hyde's decision, and the case was tried by Judge Drummond. Col. Reese lost the mill. Brother Hyde told Chessley that he had better not go on his mission, if he did, he should never see home again; for he had sinned, with his eyes open, to get gain. Brother Hyde told us all that if we went with that man we should share with him the displeasure of God.
We arrived at San Francisco and there was a ship about to sail for Australia. Half of the Elders said that they would go on that ship with Chessley, and the remainder of us concluded to wait for another vessel. They started, and, in about thirty days afterwards, a clipper bark was advertised to sail and we embarked in that ship. In thirty-six days we arrived at Sydney, Australia, having sailed about 10,000 miles and had a pleasant voyage. The other brethren had not been heard of. One hundred and fifteen days passed and they arrived at Melbourne. They had almost starved to death, and had sold nearly all of their clothing to the natives for fruit, chickens and pigs, etc., to live on. Thus was Brother Hyde's prediction to them fulfilled.
I was now in Sydney, a large, beautiful city, containing 175,000 inhabitants. I concluded that I would travel through the city a day or two and get something of importance to write home. I was traveling my first day on a back street, and I saw some birds with fine plumage, and several monkeys, performing on some wires that were stretched in a yard near a mill. Not understanding the customs of that country, I stepped through the gate to see the birds and monkeys. Just then a man let loose a large dog and gave a whistle. I looked around and saw the dog coming towards me at full speed. I sprang for the gate and got hold of it; at the same time the dog got hold of my back, and a struggle ensued. I finally extricated myself from the dog, but he had torn my coat off and left me only the sleeves and the collar. I then concluded that I had got something to write home, and I would not travel any further in that city.
We found the opposition to the gospel very great in this place, so I started, in company with another young Elder, to go to the interior of the island to commence our labors preaching the gospel. When we came to a city called Camden, forty miles from Sydney, we concluded to try to get a place to preach in. We were refused all public houses that we asked for. Finally we tried to get the privilege of stopping at a public house, or tavern, all night. We told the landlord that we were missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we were traveling without purse or scrip, according to the pattern that Jesus had left on record in the Bible. The landlord asked us if we were "Mormons." We said that we were called that name by the world. After talking some time with him he ordered us out of the house, and told some drunken Irishmen to run us out of the town and he would give them a gallon of rum each. It was now after dark, and we went down one of the streets and called at a large boot and shoe shop. The owner said that he would keep us and we were having a good discussion on the principles of the gospel when a rough voice called to the master of the place, and said,
"Are you going to keep them d——d Mormons here all night?"
We looked towards the door and saw there a mob of drunken men, armed with native war clubs, spears and the boomerang. The boomerang is a weapon with which the natives formerly fought.
I said to my companion, "We must get out of here."
He replied, "How shall we do it without getting hurt?"
I told him that God had not sent us here to be killed in this manner, and if we would now trust wholly in the Lord, He would deliver us.
I had no more than said these words when the owner of the house caught the same spirit as the mob and said to us, "Get out of my house, or I will kill you," and, at the same time, struck at my partner with a hammer, but missed him as he sprang to one side.
The mob said, "Drive them out and we will use them up in a hurry."
I picked up my carpet-bag and umbrella and went to the door with a prayerful heart to God that he would protect us, and I walked out between many of them. It appeared that they did not see me or they did not notice me. The mob was arranged on both sides of the door, with their weapons drawn ready to strike at the first sight of us; and as my partner came out the leader of the band called the attention of his men to give some instructions how to deal with us, and thus he slipped past them unseen. I took him by the arm and we started down the street. In the darkness of the night they could not see us. About this time the owner of the house came to the door and they asked him where the "Mormons" were. He replied that they had gone out just that minute. They said they knew better; "for," said they, "they have not passed us, and you had better bring them out, or we will knock your house down." At that they broke into the house and, not finding us, they took the master and journeymen out and beat them almost to death.
In this deliverance we see the prediction of President Heber C. Kimball fulfilled; for he said that I should be brought into many close places, and it would seem that death stared me in the face; but, if I would be faithful to my mission, the angels of God would deliver me in all trials, and I should return in safety to the Church and to my home. In all of my travels on that island for two years and a half, I found that when there was a good work to be done in a city, we met with the greatest opposition; for in this same place, where we received such cruel treatment, we afterwards preached, and baptized, and organized a branch of the Church with many members.
We next went to a city called Picton, and, by this time, the Lord had made us bold to declare His gospel, for such light had burst upon our minds as we had never thought of before; and by this time I had learned to read and write, and had learned arithmetic very well. We applied for the court-house and obtained it from the judge of the district. We appointed a meeting for Friday evening, and we then put up some cards stating the time of meeting. At the time appointed the people assembled and filled the house. For two days my companion had been marking passages in the Bible, and on this occasion he was intending to deliver a fine discourse. The meeting was opened and he arose, took his text and commenced with great importance. He had not spoken more than five minutes when he got to the end of his sermon, for he could not say more than "Amen." Then I was introduced to the congregation as Elder Potter, with the remark that I would continue the subject of the gospel. I arose with fear and trembling; for it was the first time in my life that I had stood in a pulpit. Before me was a large Bible and prayer book. I must say that my mind was confused; but I took a text from the Bible that lay open before me. It was from the Prophet Amos:
"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets."
After reading it I spoke a few more words and became dumb that I could not speak. I stood there without speaking about two minutes, when the words of President Heber C. Kimball came to me: He said that the time would come when I should be at a loss to know what to say to the people, "and, at that time," he said, "if you will commence to declare the divine mission of Joseph Smith in this our day, and the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, the Lord will loosen your tongue and you shall say the very things that are needful to be said to the people." When this came to my mind I commenced declaring these things to the congregation. I had spoken but a few minutes, when I thought I saw several lines of large letters printed on the walls of the house, and I commenced to read them and spoke about one hour. When the letters faded from my sight I then stopped speaking. I could not tell all that I had said; but my companion told me it was an excellent discourse. When meeting was dismissed the judge came to us and said if we wanted the court-house again we could have it; so we gave notice that we would preach at that place on Sunday evening next. The next day we went through the city and talked with many of the people, and when Sunday evening came we lighted the chandeliers in the house, went up into the pulpit and sat and read the scriptures. The time arrived for the people to gather, but not a soul came. We waited half an hour, sung a hymn and dedicated the house for meeting. We still waited; but, as no one came, we locked up the house and went to our lodgings.
MALIGNED BY SECTARIAN PRIESTS—INVITATION TO PREACH AT A DISTANT TOWN—MEANS PROVIDED BY A MYSTERIOUS PERSONAGE—BRANCH OF THE CHURCH ORGANIZED—APPLY TO THE AUTHORITIES OF THE COLONY FOR, AND RECEIVE, LICENSE AND PROTECTION AS MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL—ARRESTED—MY COMPANION'S DEFENSE—HONORABLY RELEASED—GO TO WINDSOR—UNABLE TO OBTAIN LODGINGS—DIRECTED BY A STRANGER—KINDLY TREATED—AN ATTEMPT TO POISON ME—MY COMPANION SHOT AT BY A RUFFIAN.
The morning after the meeting alluded to in the last chapter we learned that the priests and parsons of the different denominations had met and decided to unite in preventing their people from coming to hear us preach, for they said that we were dangerous men, and we were of the class of false prophets of whom Jesus spoke, who should come in the last days to deceive the people. We had labored a few weeks in this city and had baptized a few into the Church, when we received a letter from Emue Plains, stating that the people would like to see and hear a "Mormon" Elder. Emue Plains was a distance of sixty miles from where we were, and when we started it had been raining about a week, and a great portion of the country was flooded with water. We had a large river to cross on the way, and we were informed that the bridge had been carried off and there was a ferry established across the river which charged five shillings each passenger. We did not have any money with which to pay this charge, and my companion was anxious to know what we should do for money to pay the ferriage with. We were then about three miles from the ferry, and were passing through timber. I told him that we would go into the woods and pray to God to open the heart of some one to give it to us. We did so, and we had traveled but a short distance through a lane between two fields, when we looked ahead of us a little way and saw an old man coming across the field. He came into the road ahead of us, and as he came to meet us he had a smile on his countenance. He reached out his hand to me, as if to shake hands, and left a crown, or five shilling piece, in my hand and went to my companion and did the same; but spoke not a word. I cannot describe the feeling that we had when the man took hold of our hands; we felt our hearts burn within us, and it did not seem that we had power to ask him his name or where he was from, as we usually did when a person gave us any article of clothing or money. He was a man about six feet high, well proportioned, and wore a suit of light gray clothes and a broad-brimmed hat, and his hair and beard were about eighteen inches long and as white as snow. We passed on and came to the ferry, and the money that we had was just enough to pay our ferriage.
We came to Emue Plains, labored and preached one month, baptized twenty-one persons and organized a branch of the Church. So you see that our Heavenly Father opened up our way to preach the gospel. We returned to Sidney and met in council with the American Elders. We came to the conclusion that we would like to have more influence with the people. We went before the parliament of New South Wales colony and applied to get our names registered as ministers of the gospel, in common with ministers of other denominations in that country. We spent two days answering the questions of the governor and of the members of parliament, and they decided that the doctrine that we taught was a scriptural doctrine, and therefore we should be protected in our rights as ministers of the gospel. They then furnished us with blank books and forms to solemnize marriages and register births and deaths in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Having procured our licenses we were encouraged with the idea that we could now do more good among the people. By this time a large amount of books had arrived from the Liverpool office, England, and we started again for the interior of the country, taking with us books and tracts.
Gamberriar was a mining town containing twenty thousand inhabitants. To this place we repaired. We commenced traveling through the city, talking to the people and selling our books and tracts; but, to begin with, could not get any place to preach in. Early one morning, before we started out on our labors for the day, an officer with six men came with a writ to take us before the judge of that district, to answer to five different complaints. We were charged with being guilty of treason against the government, with being horse thieves, with selling goods without a license, with preaching a blasphemous doctrine and with trying to cause a rebellion. The court was in session; we were brought before the judge and the trial came on. The charges were read and we were asked, "Are you guilty, or not guilty?" We answered, "Not guilty." The words of Jesus came to our minds:
"But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak; for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you."
Our accusers were two merchants, two lawyers and one doctor. They commenced giving in their evidence one by one, and after the judge had heard it all he asked us if we had any defense to make, or if we wanted a lawyer. We told him we did not want a lawyer, but we had a defense to make; and as my companion was my senior in age, he arose to make our defense before the court. He commenced on the treaty between England and America. He had spoken but a few minutes when the Holy Spirit rested upon him in such a way as I had never seen before. His face was very white and he spoke with great power and authority. The judge looked amazed. The house and yard were full of men who were all silent for one hour. When he was through we presented our passports from the city of Washington, our recommendation from the First Presidency of the Church and our licenses from the parliament of New South Wales colony.
The judge then arose and said,
"Gentlemen, my decision in this case is that you, the accusers, who have brought these men before this court under the pretense of grave charges, have not proved anything against them. To the prisoners I say, you are honorably acquitted. You are strangers to us; but I believe you are gentlemen of honor, or our government would not have given you the document that you bear with you. Go your way in peace, and we are bound to protect you from the ruthless hands of degraded men. I am sorry that we have put you to so much trouble; but go in peace."
After court adjourned I heard the people say that if we did not leave the town we would find ourselves in a deep hole some night, so we concluded to leave; but not before we had sold one hundred volumes of our books. We left a testimony with them that they will never forget.
Leaving Gamberriar we traveled through the gold mine one week and sold our books and tracts to the miners and preached to them the gospel, and then came to a city called Windsor situated on the Penreth River. As we had been traveling several days in the rain, and had been wet through every day, we were desirous of getting a place to stay in the suburbs of this city and recruit ourselves and clean up before commencing our labors in the ministry. We tried twelve times to stay all night, but were refused very abruptly each time. We found that a parson of the church of England had gone before us, and had warned the people that the "Mormon" Elders were coming, and they must shut their doors against them. It was now nine o'clock at night, and was raining very hard. We walked up Main street in this city, and were so wet, tired and hungry that we could but just walk. We had traveled twenty-four miles that day with but very little food to eat, and our boots were worn out and our feet scalded with the water and blistered very badly. In those circumstances my companion said to me, with tears in his eyes,
"Is it possible that the Lord has forsaken us, and will suffer us to die in the streets of this city?"
I said to him, "Brother John Said," for that was his name, "this is a trial of our faith, and after the bitter then comes the sweet."
While we were thus conversing, I looked ahead some distance and saw a confectioner's shop with the door open. I said to my companion "we will try to stay there." As we drew near to the place we saw a man come out of the shop and walk into the middle of the street. He came down the street towards us. He and I met first, as I was in advance of my companion, and he said: "Good evening, friends. I have been waiting for you some time. What has made you so late?" As I answered his questions I drew close to him, and looked him in the face to see if I could recognize him; but I could not.
He asked: "Where are you going to stay to-night."
I said: "We do not know."
He then put his hand into his pocket and gave me some money, and went to my companion and did the same; and then said:
"Boys, do you see that large four-story house on the corner?"
We replied that we did.
"Well," said he, "you go there and tell the landlord that you have been sent there to occupy the green room to-night, and he will conduct you to it, and give you all the accommodations that he can afford."
After saying this the stranger left us, and passed on out of our sight, in the dark. We then proceeded to the house, and found all things as the stranger had represented. The landlord conducted us to the green room, it was in the fourth story of the house, and while going up the long stairs my companion said to me, "Stop;" I stopped and he said in a low voice, "I fear that this is a plan laid to destroy us." I told him not to fear, for we had suffered enough, and the Lord was about to bless us. Arriving at the room we found it a beautiful place, but we were not fit tenants for such a fine room, as our clothing was wet through and muddy. We found everything as the stranger who met us in the street had told us. There was dry clothing for us to put on, and a good bed to sleep in, and the landlord sent us up a warm supper. We then looked at the money that the man gave us in the street and found it to be English money of the denominations ranging from a crown down to the smallest coin in silver, and what seemed strange to us was that both of us had the same amount and pieces just alike; the man seemed to have a pocket nearly full of money, and it was dark when he gave it to us. After supper we went to bed and had a good night's rest and pleasant dreams. The next morning we got up and partook of the hospitalities of the house and asked the landlord our bill. He answered that "there was no charge," so we went on our way rejoicing.
We spent a few days in this city, and preached and sold our books and had a good time with the people. I baptized one man and his family; the man had been a Methodist preacher, and I ordained him an Elder, and he commenced preaching the doctrines of the Latter-day Saints. While traveling in this city I called at a public house to distribute our books. I found two American men there, and when they heard me say I was an American, they asked me if I was a "Mormon" preacher. I said, "Yes, sir." "Well," said one of them, "you must have something to drink with me as you are a fellow-countryman of mine." I told him that I did not drink spirituous liquors of any kind, but he insisted that I must take some wine with him. So he went into another room, as he said, to get some wine out of the cellar. I was showing my books to several in the room when he returned with the glasses of wine and presented one of them to me and requested me to drink with him. I could see by the man's countenance that he had done something wrong, so I told him that I should not drink the wine in the glass that he offered me, but if he would change glasses and give me the one that he was going to drink, I would drink it if he would drink the one he offered me. He then flew into a rage, for he knew that I had detected his design to try to poison me. I had overheard him say, while he was gone after the wine, that "the Mormon priests say that poison will not hurt them, but I will soon show you that I will make one of them ache." He also said that he was one of the party that shot Joseph Smith at Carthage jail. He took one of my books and said that I should not have it again if I did not drink the wine that he gave me. I stepped to the door and saw two policemen passing and called to them. They came to my assistance, and I told them my story. They hunted for the man, to take him, but he was not to be found. The next day my companion went to a farm house a few miles from the city to distribute some tracts and books and found one of those Americans there. When he left the house this stranger followed him with his Minnie rifle, and remarked that he had a killing contract to kill all of the "Mormon" Elders that he could find, and when he had said those words he drew his rifle to his face, and said "here goes for the first one!" and fired, the bullet passing within a few inches of my comrade's head. This vile murderer was so close to him that he did not take close sight on his gun. When he found that he had not hit him, he commenced loading his piece again, but by the time he had got his gun loaded my partner was nearly a quarter of a mile distant. The ruffian gave chase and when he came within about one hundred yards he took a rest on a stump and fired. But the bullet whistled near by and missed again. The assassin then gave up the chase and went back.
A CHAT WITH A CATHOLIC—CHASED BY DOGS—AN IRISHMAN'S DESIGN TO MURDER ME—REMARKABLE ESCAPE—ADVENTURE WITH A WILD BULL—"HAS HE GOT YOU?"—MY RELEASE FROM MY MISSION—INCIDENTS OF THE HOME JOURNEY—A PROPHECY AND ITS FULFILLMENT—A VISIT TO A SICK LADY—CONCLUSION.
My companion was called to Sidney on business, and I being left to travel alone for a few weeks, started on a tour through the country to sell our books. While traveling I met with an adventure at a large tavern called the Half-way House, kept by a Roman Catholic. This house was situated half way between Penrith and Bathurst cities. When I called at this house the landlord was away from home, but his wife was there and I showed her my books, some of which she purchased; and as dinner was nearly ready I was invited to stay and get dinner. While I was having a good discussion on the scriptures, the master of the house came home, and brought with him a Catholic priest. The woman showed the priest the books that she had bought, and he gave her a severe reprimand for taking them, and then turned to me and said that I was an infernal heretic and ought to be burned at the stake and killed. The master of the house partook of the same murderous spirit, and remarked that he would set his dogs on me and tear me to pieces; while he was whipping his wife, I stepped out and started. This was in a very heavy timbered country, and I did not follow the road, for I knew that he would follow me, and if he found me that he would do something desperate if he could. I had been traveling about half an hour when I heard the sound of the large hounds and bull dogs on my track. A thousand thoughts passed through my mind in a short time, and I imagined that perhaps I should never see my aged mother again; but then the thought came to me that President Heber C. Kimball had prophesied on my head that I should live to fill my mission and return again to the bosom of the Church. I then tried to climb up a tree, but the bark was so smooth that I could not climb it, and by this time the dogs had come in sight and I could hear a man's voice urging them on. While in this situation I called on the Lord for help, and my prayer was heard; for as the dogs came near me a large kangaroo crossed my track in full speed, and the dogs, seeing it, turned square about and went after the animal and did not see me at all. I then turned and went to the road, but my troubles were not yet ended. The dogs had gone out of hearing, but the man had discovered that the dogs were after the animal and tried to call them back, but could not; so he came into the road to hunt for me. I heard a rough voice calling after me, and I looked back in the road and saw an Irishman coming on a run carrying a large club in his hand. He swore bitterly, and said as he had caught me now he would use me up with that club. I could see that he was possessed of a spirit to kill, so I walked up to him and offered him my hand, with the remark that I wanted to talk with him a short time before he carried his threat into execution. I said, "Sir, I am an American, and I have come here thousands of miles to do you and others good," and then, to draw his attention, I told him that there were many Irish people in America and some of them were very wealthy, and they built our railroads, and made the best soldiers, and more than that, when the famine was raging in Ireland the Americans sent several ship loads of flour and bread stuff to them, and did not charge them one cent for them. By this time he dropped his club and we walked along together until we came on the hill within sight of the city Paramatta. He stopped and we talked a short time, and he confessed to me that he intended when he came up to me, to have killed me with the club, but he was glad now that he did not strike me with it. He shook hands with me and started back home. Little did he think that it was an overruling Providence that stayed his hand that he was not permitted to strike with the club. Here I joined my companion again and we started on a tour through the country.
The island of Australia abounds in many parts with wild cattle. As we were traveling one day through the woods on an old road not much used, all at once we heard a thundering sound behind us, and my partner who was about one rod behind me cried, "Look out for wild cattle!" There was some fallen timber near by, and I ran, got up on a tree top and then looked back to see where my companion was. I saw that he was in danger and I ran to his assistance, but before I could reach him a wild bull had caught him and thrown him on his horns; but he had no sooner struck the ground than he sprang to his feet again. The bull came the second time and my companion caught him by the horns, and was thrown again, this time alighting in a tree top, where the animal did not attempt to follow him, but turned around at me as I was belaboring him with a club. When I saw that he had turned on me, I felt my first fear of being hurt. There was a tree about three rods distant from me, I thought if I could get to it I could save myself by dodging the bull, so I started to run to the tree, the bull close after me with his head down, ready to hook on the first touch of his horns. Quite faint I succeeded in reaching the tree and whirled myself around it. The bull threw up his head and snorted and passed on. About this time my companion rose up out of the tree-top, where the bull had thrown him, and called to me, "Has he got you?" I answered, "No, sir, it takes a smarter bull than that to catch me on a fair race." I then went to see if my partner was hurt, and found that all the bruise or hurt that he had received was in the palms of his hands, caused by taking hold of the bull's horns to save himself.
On the 15th day of July, 1858, we received a letter from President Brigham Young, stating that we were all of us released from our mission and called home to help protect the homes of the Saints. We therefore settled our business in Sidney, made a short visit to the country branches of the Church, appointed local Elders as presidents over them, bade them all farewell and returned again to Sidney. In a few days we all went on board a fine ship. The names of the American Elders besides myself that were returning were, A. J. Stewart, G. S. Clark, S. R. Chappin and J. H. Said. The night before the ship was to start nearly all the sailors took a boat and deserted, leaving the captain with only four seamen on board. When morning came the captain went on shore and succeeded in capturing and bringing back in irons three of the runaways. He then went among the passengers to see if he could hire hands to man the ship. I agreed to work for him as steward and had the direction of all the store of provision on board. This proved to be a great blessing to the Saints who were with us, as many of them were sick on the trip and I could administer to their wants.
Previous to starting the captain loaded the ship with eleven hundred tons of New Castle coal, and this great weight caused the ship to draw twenty-four feet of water. As our captain was not much acquainted with the South Pacific seas, he concluded to sail south of the Society Islands.
The first ten days of our voyage passed in peace and safety. Nothing happened to us or our good ship only that some of us were very sea-sick, but that soon left us. We had now traveled fifteen hundred miles and were passing the coast of New Zealand when a terrific storm came upon us from the north. During the whole night we drifted towards the land and next morning we could plainly see it. The wind was blowing a gale and the captain ordered the ship to be tacked many times, but it seemed that every tack brought us nearer the shore. The water could be seen flying upon the rocks a distance of many feet. The anchor was lowered, but it was useless as the ground could not be reached. The next order was to throw overboard the loading. All hands therefore went to work and we had soon emptied a hundred tons of our cargo into the sea. This made the ship ride the waves more safely.
About this time the first mate asked us if we would not pray to God that the winds might be stayed or changed to another course. We told him that we had done our praying before starting from shore and now in times of peril we should watch and work. We did, however, ask our Father in heaven to change the winds and they immediately changed from the north to the south and just in time to save our good ship from striking that terrible rock called the King's Head, which towers four thousand feet above the sea. By evening we were out of sight of land and sailing along nicely towards our destination.
I shall never forget the day when we struck the trade-winds. On that day the captain ordered me to get all on board a fresh chicken dinner, the first cabin at eleven, the second at twelve and the steerage at one o'clock. I worked accordingly and while carrying a large china platter full of fresh chickens on my head the man at the wheel let the ship swing into the track of the waves and a large wave struck the ship on the broad side, broke in about eight feet of the bulwarks and covered the deck with about two feet of water. I was thrown to the deck; platter was smashed and the chickens were taken into the sea; but worse than all, I was dashed from side to side and almost drowned; I came near being washed overboard into the sea, the galley was filled with water and the fire was extinguished, so we did not get any fresh dinner that day.
After arriving in San Francisco, the captain went on shore and was offered an advanced price for his load; he asked our counsel and we told him to retain his load for one week; he did so and then sold for six thousand dollars more than he had been previously offered. He made us a nice present in cash which helped us on our way home.
Brother Chappin was impressed to tell the captain that his ship never would cross the ocean again, but would sink to the bottom of the sea and that he should barely escape with his life. One month later the captain freighted his ship with a valuable cargo bound for Melbourne, Australia, but in passing out of the heads at San Francisco without a tug-boat his ship was driven on the sands and in three hours after was a total wreck. Had it not been that a steamer was passing out of the bay at the time and went to the rescue all on board would have been lost, but as it was they were saved. The captain was the owner of the ship and as it was not insured he lost all his fortune in a few dreadful hours; he returned home to Boston, Mass., a poor man. Thus the prophecy of one of the servants of God to him was fulfilled.
Five of us Elders went to Sacramento and then went to other places to get employment in order to procure means for our journey home. I worked a short time at cutting wood, and while at that business I had the following dream: A messenger came to me and said, "You may cease this labor and work in the ministry. You are wanted at one Mr. Green's now." I had been to that man's place and had preached to him and his family. The daughter believed and wanted to be baptized, but could not be at that time.
The next morning while I was settling with the man for whom I had worked, a messenger came on horse-back with the news that this young Miss Green was not expected to live an hour. She had a putrid sore throat and had been asking for me all night. I had a few miles to go before reaching the house and on my way I purchased a bottle of sweet oil and went on a hill in the woods and there consecrated it for the anointing of the sick. About eleven o'clock I arrived at the house and found it full of strangers, most of whom were Irish Catholics. When it was announced that I had come the young lady aroused from her stupor which all pronounced as death. She reached out her hand to me and in a whisper said, "Thank God I have seen you before I die." She tried to speak further, but could not. I then told all in the house to sit down. They did so, and I then knelt by the side of the bed and asked the Lord to spare her a short time. I then anointed her with oil to her burial. At this she sat up in bed and said, "Give me some water." After drinking a little water she conversed on the gospel for half an hour, to the amazement of all in the house. She said she had hoped to live to gather with the Saints, but now she was going home to her God. I had taught these people the principle of baptism for the dead, and her last words were, "Remember me in the day that you are baptized for the dead;" thus saying she sank down again and her noble spirit fled to the paradise of God.
The next day I filled my valise with books and started for the mines, stopping frequently by the way to talk to the people. I experienced much opposition from the people and was about to return without doing much good when I was impressed to go in another direction. I came to a small settlement where I traveled a few days and sold some books. One family by the name of Millgate made me welcome at their house. I stayed there one week and the last night I stayed with them I took the family at midnight and baptized them in a reservoir near at hand. The time had now arrived for us to start home, and having purchased a spring wagon and a pair of horses three of us started for home. Three and a half years had now past since I received my blessing under the hands of President H. C. Kimball and all that had been predicted was fulfilled when I arrived home in safety.
HOW OUR MISSIONARIES ARE SUSPECTED—CHILDREN LOST—SUPPOSED CASE OF KIDNAPPING—MYSELF AND COMPANION ARE ACCUSED—THE DEAD BODIES ARE FOUND—DISOBEDIENCE BRINGS ITS OWN REWARD.
In the winter of 1869-70, while I was on a mission to the Eastern States, the incidents which I am about to relate occurred. They will serve to show the strong prejudice and superstitious dread with which many people regard the Latter-day Saints, or, as they are commonly called, "Mormons."
In company with Brother Fairbanks, with whom I was traveling, I visited some of his relatives and stayed a while in the State of New Jersey. From here we took a trip into the northern part of New York State, where we remained some time, and then returned to New Jersey. During our absence the following incident occurred:
Near what is called Pompton Plains, New Jersey, a family, consisting of parents and three children, lived near the edge of a patch of timber land. One evening in the latter part of December, the two elder children, aged respectively nine and five years, went to a hickory tree about half a mile from the house to gather nuts, contrary to the bidding of their mother, who had charged them strictly not to go. Before the mother had time to go after them, night came on, and, to make matters worse, it commenced raining. She called loudly for them, but no answer was received from the little truants. The night grew pitchy dark and the mother's anxiety increased. What was she to do? Her husband not yet returned from his work, no houses near or help at hand and she alone with her young babe, not daring to leave it to go and search the missing ones. As she waited and looked in vain for their return her anxiety became almost unbearable and she started out with her child in her arms, but the rain drove her back. Soon afterwards her husband returned, and the hurried story of his children's absence needed no repeating to rouse him to action. He started immediately in search of them. He went to the hickory tree, but no children were there. He called aloud, but was answered only by the wind whistling through the trees. After satisfying himself that they were not in that vicinity he returned home, fondly hoping that the little ones had, by this time, reached there. But in this he was disappointed. The wind had now set in pretty strongly and the air was keen with frost.
What to do now was the question, for it was certain the children were lost, and, being thinly clad, if they were not soon found they must certainly perish. The father ran to the nearest neighbors, a distance of half a mile, and gave the alarm. As soon as possible a company of fifteen or twenty men and boys were collected to assist in the search. But, by this time, it was nearly midnight, and no tidings had been heard of the little wanderers.
Their arrangements for searching were hurriedly made. They divided into squads and went in different directions, calling loudly as they went and searching every place where they could imagine the children would have strayed, and thus the search was continued all night till the men were almost tired out and frozen. Morning dawned upon that desolate cottage—a cold and cheerless morning to its inmates, for no relief had yet come to the anxious parents. Another call was made upon the people to continue looking for them, and they turned out and scoured the country, but in vain, for not a sign of the missing children could be found. Thus the second night passed. As the news of the loss spread through the district additional interest and anxiety were awakened, and the sympathetic neighbors turned out in force to aid the bereaved parents in seeking the lost ones. As the time passed the hope of finding them alive died out, but the efforts did not cease. About four miles from the house there were large iron works that employed about three hundred men, and on the third day these workmen turned out en masse and increased, by their number, the force engaged in the search.They organized and examined, as they thought, every foot of land in the vicinity, but with the same discouraging result.
A number of Spiritualists resided in the neighborhood, also some "fortune-tellers;" and they were applied to to divine, if possible, where the children were. They pretended to do so, but their stories conflicted fearfully and all conjectures failed. It was finally suggested that they had been kidnapped. A couple of "Mormon" Elders, it was said, had been in that vicinity and they were suspected of having spirited them away and sent them to Salt Lake. This was only one among a great many reports circulated against the Latter-day Saints, all of which gained ready credence. A reward of three hundred dollars was offered for the recovery of the children; and a great many, stimulated by a desire to gain the reward, spent days in searching them.
Thus matters went on for about three weeks, towards the last the search being prosecuted at intervals only; when one Sunday two or three neighbors decided upon going over the ground once more, with a faint hope of finding them. About three quarters of a mile from the house they noticed a number of crows flying around in the air and hopping upon the tree tops, a short distance from them. Though they paid little attention to the crows at first, when they approached nearer to them they noticed, by the peculiar actions of the birds, that there was some unusual attraction for them in the vicinity. Near by was a high ledge of rocks, under which they saw some of the crows fly. They made their way under this ledge to where the crows seemed to be busy, when, to their horror, they discovered the remains of the missing little ones, but so disfigured as hardly to be recognizable. They had wandered there to find shelter, and there perished. The elder of the two had manifested a noble disposition in the hour of their extremity, for it appeared that he had taken off his little coat and tenderly covered it over his little sister to protect her from the cold. Much of their flesh had been eaten off by the crows when found, but their remains were carefully taken to their sorrowful, heart-broken parents.
The next day there was a funeral at the Methodist church, near by, attended by the old and young of the entire neighborhood, assembled to see conveyed to their last resting-place the bodies of the children whose loss they all felt so keenly. No language can describe the feelings of those bereaved parents. Their sorrow was too deep for words to express.
We visited the place a short time afterwards, saw the cliff under which the children died, and learned how the final recovery of their bodies had relieved us of the imputation of having kidnapped them.
There is a lesson which every child may learn from this sad narrative: the necessity of obedience to parents. In obedience only is their safety. Though those grief-stricken parents forgave, in their hearts, the little act of disobedience which robbed them of their loved ones, it was none the less true that had they been obedient, as they ought, to their mother, they would not thus have met their fate.