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THE papers about this time announced the death of Sidney Rigdon who died at Friendship, Allegheny County, New York, on July 14, 1876. His name will be found quite frequently in volumes one and two of this work, and a short biography will be found in volume 1, pages 129-142, and 638-641.
The Herald of July 15, 1876, notices a communication from Elder Thomas Taylor, of Birmingham, England, as follows:
Numbers from the Brighamite organization have seen the error of that system, and have already this year identified themselves with the cause and taken fellowship with the Reorganized Church; also that these all have received a satisfactory evidence for themselves that the work is of God.
July 17 President Joseph Smith left Plano for a trip to the Pacific Slope and the West, an account of which will be given principally in his own language in the next chapter.
A letter from Elder H. N. Hansen, dated Crescent City, Iowa, July 18, announced his return from Europe, and he reports encouragingly of prospects there. He reported the baptism of six in Aalborg, and three in Copenhagen.
In July, 1876, the Saints in Keokuk dedicated their church, Elder M. H. Forscutt officiating in their behalf.
In Herald for August 15 and September 1 President Joseph Smith presented the Indian question. We here insert it both as containing valuable historical matter, and the opinion of church authorities on this much vexed question:
THE INDIAN QUESTION.
The cause of the red man finds some defenders, who, while they admit his present general character of cruelty and love of revenge, yet speak earnest words in condemnation of that which has caused his evil deeds namely, the wrongs he has endured through the rapacity and wickedness of white men, and through the frequent violation of the treaties entered into and the stipulations guaranteed by the officers and agents of the Government, as well as by Congress itself.
General Vandevere, Indian inspector, shows that the great body of the Indians have no connection with the war now in progress, neither do the large majority feel any hatred against the Government or the whites. He says that those who have gone out are only the unruly ones, and that there are among them, as a whole, no more of this element than there are bad ones among the same number of whites; and thinks that if in all transactions the whites treated them with the same degree of justice that we do civilized beings, instead of as a defenseless prey, they would all be our friends; but, as it is, that provocation after provocation compels them to fight.
The celebrated Wendell Phillips has written to General Sherman concerning the report of the Indian commission of 1867, composed of General Sherman and others, wherein he says, was presented "one of the most terrific pictures ever drawn, of the wrongs the Indian has suffered from this nation." He says:
"You know that we have surrounded him with every demoralizing influence, steeped him in intemperance, incited him to licentiousness, and tempted him to every vice. You have yourself given evidence that the Government has robbed him of his lands, cheated him of his dues, and uniformly broken faith with him. If any of the tribes are liars, thieves and butchers, they may rightly claim to have only copied the example we have set them. You know that they have been outraged, plundered, and butchered with brutal and detestable cruelty; and that the Indian has not lifted his hand against us until provoked to do so."
He then gives General Harrison's views of their peaceableness, but for their wrongs; and quotes General Harney, who said, after fifty years experience among them, "that he had never known an Indian tribe to break its word with the Government, and he had never known the Government to keep its faith with an Indian tribe." He quotes General Pope, who has stated that it is their wrongs which "drive the Indians to war;"
also that they "have only done substantially what he would have done himself under like circumstances."
Mr. Phillips says that it is a reproach to the nation and to religion, that, with all our resources of civilization, we have lived two hundred years close to the Indians, and have mainly given them only our vices. He continues:
"We have made war on him as a pretext to steal his lands. We have trodden under foot the rules of modern warfare. We have cheated him out of one hunting-ground by compelling him to accept another, and have robbed him of this last by driving him to madness and resistance."
Reverend I. S. Kallock recently lectured in San Francisco and arraigned the Indian policy of the Government as being of the worst possible kind. He said that it is wonderful what a love the Christian philanthropist has for the heathen-those at a distance, but the real article at his door is another thing. He admitted, which all do, that the red man is treacherous, revengeful, and sanguinary, but that our dealings with him have only made him more so, while all our efforts at improvement have been feeble and insufficient, and our treaties have only been blunders.
The New York Sun says that the war has been caused by "treachery, dishonesty, and incompetency," growing out of "the gross violations by the whites of treaty stipulations." Another writes as follows:
"The Indians are fighting for their rights. Put yourself in his place and would you not fight? Suppose that your neighbor comes upon your land and takes possession of your property, would you not remonstrate; and, if necessary, also do more than remonstrate? If you should pound him for his evil deeds, and then for it the law should punish you, or exile you and confiscate your property, what would you think of it? So the Indians have defended themselves, just as any other nation or people would have done under like circumstances. But now the Government invades the Sioux territory to punish them for defending their property or rights, or for doing just as other people would be expected to do in the same condition."
It is evident to us, as it is to all men, that the Government really admitted the rights of the red men to that country when it last year essayed to, or made a show of protecting it from the invasion of the whites, and when it made overtures for a purchase from White Cloud and his chiefs. But when it failed to get it on its own terms it ceased its show of protection and let the invaders do as they pleased, and the reds are slain for maintaining what they suppose to be, and what the Government has conceded to be, their rights.
If, instead of being beaten, General Custer had succeeded and had slain thousands of Indians it would have been called a "glorious victory;" but as the reverse happened and hundreds of whites fell, it is called a "massacre," and the cry is for "extermination."
But, says the humane man, this should not be; punish the transgressors on both sides and make a settlement as impartially as we would if the
trouble was with a nation who could call for arbitration, or who was able to cope with our armies.
In Congress there is a wide diversity of opinion as to the true policy. One class claims that when the whites want any country occupied by the Indians they shall have it any way. The Chicago Times well says that if this is the case then we ought to stop making treaties and not pledge the honor of the nation to do a thing, and afterwards proceed not to do it; and that, to demand their extermination, is as barbarous and foolish as to wish to wipe out Chicago because some wicked people murder and commit other crimes there.
As to wrongs, it is stated that the North Pacific Railroad scheme included, as a share of its plunder, fifty-eight million acres of land that virtually belonged to the Indians. Writers also cite the violation of the treaty in regard to the Indian Territory south of Kansas, and the rascality of those who have the management of the Indian business is evidently the immediate cause of the present difficulties.
A Times editorial of July 17 says that the cry of "extermination" is senseless, atrocious and brutal, because the criminal element among the Indians is not above ten per cent of the race, probably only five per cent who are evil disposed toward the whites. It is supposed that there are three hundred thousand Indians in the United States, and "some of these have permanent forms of government, and all of these demonstrate that they can govern themselves; that they are self-supporting and are making a fair progress toward a substantial form of civilization. When one separates the chaff from the wheat he will find that the wheat largely predominates."
Bishop Whipple, of Minnesota, writes to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, as follows: "We agreed that no white man should enter the Indian country, but, in violation of this, the Government ordered General Custer to explore it. He found gold, and the white men flocked there, the Indians killed them and war ensued. Sitting Bull believes that the Indian who sells his country is doomed, and that he is doing a patriotic duty to defend it." Bishop W. says that after a trial of one hundred years our nation still "Persists in a policy which sows blunders and crimes and reaps massacre and war.
Wendell Phillips has written to the Boston Transcript, as follows:
"Why do your columns talk of the 'Custer Massacre?' During the war General Custer has fallen in a fair fight, simply because the enemy had more soldierly skill and strategy than Custer had. What kind of a war is it where, if we kill the enemy, it is death; if he kills us it is a massacre? When the farmers of Concord and Lexington, in 1775, shot the British invaders of their villages, was it a massacre? When the Southerners mowed us down at Bull Run and Ball's Bluff, there was no talk of a massacre! When the North paid them their own coin at Gettysburg and Antietam there were no columns with staring capitals 'Gettysburg Massacre.'
"But the word 'massacre' is an unfortunate one for the friends of General Custer to connect just now with his name. For there really was, in 1868, a ''Custer massacre,' when General Custer-a disgrace to the uniform and the flag he bore-attacked a peaceful Cheyenne village near Fort Cobb, dwelling there by our order. At midnight, without the slightest warning, his shouts woke this quiet settlement, and, as the terrified sleepers rush from their huts, Custer shoots down scores of women half asleep, and of unarmed, peaceful men. This was the real ''Custer massacre,' which was then proclaimed as a 'brilliant victory.'
A Chicago Times editorial of July 26, says:
"We call the killing of Custer a massacre; but we are the historians, and the Sioux have no means of reaching the world with their version, or they would designate it as a fair battle, in which they annihilated the enemy. We have much to say of their mutilation of the dead, for we have the best of this matter of branding the opposition for their inhumanity. Could the Sioux speak, they might tell of four Sioux who were ambuscaded a few years ago, killed, scalped, their flesh boiled from their bones and their skeletons propped up on the banks of the Missouri, a hideous spectacle to every passing boat. They might recall a charge of whites upon an Indian camp, when old men, women, and children went down before the sabers and bullets of the white man; also a large gathering at Sand Creek, under a pretense, and then their slaughter by the whites.
"The truth is, in the words of General Sherman ' all war is cruelty.' In all cases of war both sides are cruel. We do not hesitate to do things to Indians, which, if done by them to us, would lead to an uprising, and probably to their utter extermination."
A correspondent from General Crook's expedition writes that the despised aboriginee of three months ago has suddenly become a formidable foeman, "more than worthy of our Caucasian steel. An outcast tribe has been roused into brilliant heroism, and successfully copes with the cross and sword of the Christian civilizer." This writer, although enduring the ills and evils of the campaign in that land of mountains, and amid the barrenness caused by the grasshoppers and the burning woods and prairies, set on fire by the Indians; and while saying that he would gladly fire a mine that would exterminate the red men, one and all, yet says: "This particular war has been forced upon the Sioux, and they have responded to the challenge right gallantly, and 'ne'er may valor lose its meed,' even displayed by them."
We preserve this as history for future use and a coming time.
We find the following from the San Bernardino (California) Times, of July 8, 1876:
"On Saturday last a deputation of Coahulia Indians, led by their head chief, Manuel Largo, called upon us and earnestly requested that we should, through the medium of The Times, lay before the people of the country the story of the wrongs of his people, and pray them to do all in
their power to assist him in getting redress. His story was pathetic in the extreme, and although we can not give it as he did, we here relate its substance. He stated that for years he and his ancestors have been located on the land they now occupy, that his people have cultivated it for their living, and they have repeatedly been assured by Indian commissioners that they were secure in their possession of it, and that it would be set apart for them. A reservation has lately been set apart for them in another part of the valley, but upon it there is not a drop of water and nothing will grow to sustain life, the only vegetation to be found upon it being a scrubby brush. The lands they have heretofore occupied and cultivated have been surveyed and opened to preëmption, and already white men are squatting upon them, driving the Indians away, and forcing them to abandon their growing crops, upon which they are dependent for their living. The old man complained bitterly of the fact that the squatters were even plowing up the bones of his deceased relatives and ancestors. He then rehearsed the number of good services he had performed for the whites, the culprits he had brought to justice, and stated that whenever a member of his own tribe, or any one within his reach, had committed any depredations, he had invariably delivered him up to the proper authorities or dealt out summary justice to him with his own hand; that for all these services he had never demanded or received from the Government any remuneration whatever; that he respects the Government and will obey it, and, while he can not believe it will drive him from his home, his farms, and the graves of his people, still, if it is the case, he ,will acquiesce in it and go out upon the desert, although he knows that starvation awaits him. For himself, he says he is old and nearly blind, and to drive him away will be hard indeed. He has ever been friendly to the whites; has rendered them innumerable good services, and does not intend to allow this new outrage upon him to alter his friendship for the whites; he believes that the movement is being done through ignorance on the part of the authorities at Washington, and makes this appeal to the people of San Bernardino County that they may send a remonstrance to the proper quarter, and if it is then determined that he is to quit he will go out upon the desert and die."
The Irish World calls it "unmanly cant" to talk of the Custer massacre, because "there was no massacre at all. Both General Custer and Sitting Bull meant war, and the former made the attack, hoping to kill, wound, or capture not only Sitting Bull, but also his entire tribe. But war is a game it takes two to play, and it happened that General Custer was whipped. But it won't do to say that, so we must insist that it was a massacre. Had Sitting Bull been 'massacred,' it would have been a ' brilliant victory,' and his unpardonable crime was in not letting himself get killed. The simple fact that he stood between his people and extermination is, to many persons, ample proof that he is a savage. A hundred years ago the King of England employed the red man and the Hessian to murder Americans for the crime of defending their homes."
Thus we close some of the words spoken and written in defense of the red men of the West, words heard on high because of their favor for the descendants of a civilized and powerful people, a people once noble and great in the midst of the land, but who are now filthy, degraded, and loathed, and a prey to all, according to the Scriptures.
September, 1876, Elder Joseph Dewsnup wrote a detailed account of the Saints of Manchester, England, including himself, severing their connection with the people of Utah, and their union with the Reorganization, with the reasons assigned for these actions. He relates that they first became dissatisfied with the Utah organization because of the tyranny of the authorities sent there. They then through the instrumentality of Elder Thomas Taylor had investigated the claims of the Reorganization. He adds:
We had opened a correspondence with Elder Thomas Taylor, of Birmingham, the acting president of the Reorganization in this country, and through him we had been supplied with a number of tracts, which we had diligently perused, and which had had the effect of completely destroying the little faith we had in the divine authority of the priesthood and leaders of the church of Utah.
The tracts alluded to were entitled, "Brighamism," "Idolatry," "Reply to Orson Pratt," "Polygamy: Was it an Original Tenet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," "The Bible versus Polygamy," "The Basis of Polygamy," etc., and by the instrumentality of these works our eyes have at last been opened to the false position in which we had placed ourselves in sustaining the doctrines attached as part of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; for upon examination we discovered that they were contrary to the revelations of God, given through Joseph Smith the prophet. The immediate result of this was that a number of us at once placed our resignation in the hands of the proper authorities. We still continued our investigation, and at length, with one exception, we were satisfied that our duty to God required our identification with the Reorganization, which was accomplished on Saturday and Sunday, the 16th and 17th of September, 1876; and the Manchester Branch of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is now an established fact, fourteen having been baptized, and six more requesting baptism. . . .
We have been trusting to the arm of flesh, but now our dependence is in the Almighty God; and praised be his holy name, for in our darkness he has given us light, and he has blessed us with true liberty; liberty such as always follows the profession and practice of the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have realized his soul-sanctifying promise, "Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden and I will give you rest" and
"Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow."-The Saints' Herald, vol. 23, pp. 677-678.
October 1, the Herald publishes the following item of news from the president of the European Mission:
Bro. Thomas Taylor of Birmingham, writes that the work of God is onward in the English Mission. He was to baptize, soon after he wrote, several who did belong to the Brighamites, and still others are expected to do likewise and return to the true faith of the church.
The semiannual conference for 1876 was hold near Council Bluffs, Iowa, October 6-9; President William W. Blair, presiding; J. C. Jensen, secretary; E. T. Dobson and H. Nielson clerks.
Reports were read from nearly all parts of the United States and Canadas; also from Australia, England, and Denmark. We insert a few of the most important items of business.
The 7th, after a lengthy debate, the following was adopted:
Resolved, That the practice of citing members to trial, on their church membership, through the Herald, be discontinued.
The 8th, Elder Heman C. Smith was ordained a seventy by James Caffall and others.
The 9th, on petition from St. Louis District, J. X. Allen was appointed to labor there. A petition from Central Nebraska District, for Heman C. Smith, was also granted. R. J. Anthony was continued in his former appointment, and Elder James Caffall was authorized to ordain him a seventy.
The committee on music, failing to report, was discharged.
The following resolution was moved and adopted:
Resolved, That this conference reaffirm a resolution passed by the annual conference of 1871, touching the Sunday-school cause, which reads, That the Sunday-school cause forms an important feature in the work of the last days, and the officers and teachers thereof are hereby sustained; and furthermore it is hereby
Resolved, That we request the presidents of branches, throughout the world, to use their utmost endeavors to organize Sunday-schools in their respective branches, and to make reports to their several district conferences of the condition and progress of said schools; and that districts make reports to the annual conference; and that presidents of districts and the traveling ministry be also requested to use their influence to establish and sustain Sunday-schools.
The following were presented and adopted:
Resolved, That a committee on music be now appointed, and that Bro. M. H. Forscutt be the chairman thereof, with power to choose two assistants.
Resolved, That the Bishop be, and hereby is, instructed to report to the General Conference whether the necessary measures have been taken to have the title of the Kirtland Temple transferred to the church corporation as provided for in article six of the articles of incorporation of the church.
The High Priests' Quorum reported that John Macauley, of Wisconsin, had been received into the quorum upon evidence that he was ordained at a General Conference in the British Isles in 1842.
The following missions, as recommended by the Quorum of Twelve, were appointed by the conference: Charles Derry, Southern Iowa and Missouri. J. H. Hansen, Southeastern Mission, in charge. G. E. Deuel, Iowa and Nebraska. M. Fyrando, Danish Mission.
All others who were not named, who were under appointment in mission fields, were sustained.
First Quorum of Elders reported that it had silenced Elder Isaac Beebe.
The semiannual conference for the Pacific Slope Mission was held at Oakland, California, October 6 to 8. Joseph Smith, president of the church, and D. S. Mills, president of Pacific Slope Mission, presided; Peter Canavan and G. S. Lincoln, secretaries.
A resolution was adopted providing that mission conferences be held thereafter annually instead of semiannually, and that said conference be held in the fall of the year. The business was principally of a routine character.
On October 10 John D. Lee was sentenced to death by the courts for complicity in the Mountain Meadow Massacre, and the day for execution was set for January 26, 1877. The law giving him choice between being hung or shot, he chose the latter.
At the semiannual conference of the Utah church held in Salt Lake City, October 6 to 8, John W. Young, the youngest of three legitimate sons of President Brigham Young, was chosen his first counselor to succeed George A. Smith, deceased.
The Herald for November 15, had editorially the following items of interest:
Bro. H. S. Smith, of Unionburg, Iowa, writes that the work of the gospel is improving there and at Salem; also that Bro. James Caffall is laboring there with some success.
Bro. Daniel Munns writes from Good Intent, Kansas (near Atchison), that they have good meetings in that branch, and the once existing prejudice there seems, most of it, to have passed away, and that people are listening to the principles of life and salvation. Bro. Munns has been preaching at the Indian Mission in Jackson County, Kansas, having good congregations, including twenty or twenty-five Indians, who listened attentively.
Bro. G. W. Shute wrote from Otter Lake, Pottawattamie County, Kansas, that he is preaching every Sunday and also doing wayside preaching at every opportunity; but the opposers will not come out in a fair encounter, rather adopting the bushwhacking style of warfare.
Bro. J. H. Hansen wrote from Davis City, Decatur County, Iowa, October 18, that he was on his way, returning to Kentucky.
Bro. Solomon Salisbury of Lacrosse, Hancock County, Illinois, is corresponding with Bro. W. W. Blair in relation to holding a debate with Mr. Shelton, of the Disciple Church. It is said that he has been very strong in his terms and abusive in his language. His main effort against Bible doctrine seems to be concerning the laying on of hands for the Holy Ghost, and contradicting the promised gifts of the Spirit; connected with a loftiness of manner about having anything in our ranks worth debating with, saying that none but the offscourings of the earth belong with us, and defying us to bring a scholar to the front. Bro. Blair writes that he will go if the gentleman will meet him.
Bro. J. C. Clapp wrote from Ott, Coos County, Oregon, October 9, that he is "busy as a bee" in answering the calls in that country. . . .
The presidential election is over on the evening this is written; and, not knowing which party has been successful, we would now say that what was written before was not with any air of importance, or intending that the editor's views might influence; for the writer considers that no subject is of less importance to the Saints than politics, insomuch that he has voted but once, some years since, in the ten years he has had the right. We before said and yet suppose, and hope, that every man who took any part in the matter, did so according to the leading of his better judgment, if he could decide what that was, uninfluenced by anything but reason and love for the best interests of his country. We are no politician.
November 20 to 25 there was a public discussion held at Castana, Monona County, Iowa, on the Bible and the Christian religion, between Mr. J. Cartwright, an infidel, and Elder Heman C. Smith, the latter acting
as a substitute for Elder J. R. Lambert, who arranged for the debate. Elder Lambert acted as moderator. Of this debate Mr. Cartwright wrote the Saints' Herald as follows:
I am glad to say that we had a pleasant time, good feelings on all hands. I was never before treated with such gentility by Christian ministers.
An extract from a letter written by Elder Fyrando, November 22, 1876, from Aalborg, Denmark, gave the situation as follows:
Since my report to the semiannual conference I have visited Christiania, in Norway, stayed there over two weeks, distributed a good many tracts, and found some friends, although not able to get a house to preach in, nor any place, public or private. I went out about six or eight miles from the city, but being a stranger to the country, language and all, I could not make much impression; and, as it cost a great deal to stop there, both for food and lodging, I returned to Copenhagen. I tried to rent a hall there for preaching, but I could not get one for a shorter time than three months, at twenty krowns per month, or sixty krowns (twenty dollars); it seems but a small sum, but when a person has not got it, it is a great deal. I stayed about two weeks, then went to Sweden, and had a very good time there for about three weeks. Returned to Copenhagen, in hope of finding a letter from the church that I was released, and with the necessary means to return to my home this fall; but not so, and I see through the Herald that I was sustained in this mission. I am glad of the confidence shown in sustaining me, but I know also that some steps must be taken to carry on the work here, or else my being sustained does not amount to much. I have, up to this time, worked a good deal for to pay for house rents for meetings and all necessary things, but now this fall and winter I would like to sound the gospel trump to several of the cities in Denmark, together with Bro. Brix; but it can not be done without money. I therefore ask you, brother, to apply to the church. I had to pawn some of my things, a pair of blankets, to get money to come here, for I was called to this city because a brother was so very sick, and he believed that he would soon die.-Herald, vol. 24, p. 11.
The following items are from the Herald for December 15, 1876:
Bro. Joseph Luff, of Chatham, Ontario, writes that he is engaged in the work of the Lord and that they have reason to look for blessed results from their labors.
Bro. J. J. Cornish wrote from London, Ontario, November 27, that he baptized two more the day before. He found excellent openings in Michigan in his late visit there, and thinks the prospect very favorable, if a continuous effort was made.
The Salt Lake Herald of December 2, announced that "Elder Joseph Smith"
would speak in the Liberal Institute the next day, morning and evening. By letters we learn that he has suffered for a month or more with the neuralgia in his face, but was better so that he could preach. He has been well received by his cousin Joseph F. Smith, and others. His advent there has caused much stir and excitement, and all kinds of rumors were in circulation concerning his presence and purpose. President Young went to St. George, his winter retreat, three hundred miles south, November 1, and so he is not to be seen. It seems that the Brighamites have taken out the article on marriage, section three, Book of Covenants, and have inserted in its place the so-called revelation on polygamy, in their new edition of that work.
It is stated that the appointment of Bro. Heman C. Smith at the October General Conference should have read that in addition to Central Nebraska, he was also requested to extend his labors into Northern Kansas.
Sr. Anna Leather writes from Bivingsville, South Carolina. They feel much isolated, being so far from the church, the Herald being their mainstay in hearing the news of the cause of Christ and its progress.
Many of our readers will be pained to learn of the death of Bro. Henry Wagner, of West Joplin, Missouri, and so soon after the decease of his brother Charles. Their names will be familiar to many who never saw them, for they were ever ready to do for the cause, and for its defenders, giving hundreds of dollars towards the work, and only anxious for its progress, as their deepest interest in life. No relations or kindred are in this land, but the Saints who knew them, in person or by reputation, sincerely mourn their loss.
Bro. Thomas Taylor, of Birmingham, England, writes that affairs are moving favorably for the cause there.
Bro. Adam See writes from Adams County, Wisconsin, that they are having lively times with the Seventh-day Adventists, and he sends for documents to refute their views.
Bro. J. X. Davis writes that their late session of conference was one of the best, if not the best, ever held in the Des Moines District.
President W. W. Blair arrived in Plano, December 8. After leaving Council Bluffs he called at Nebraska City and St. Joseph, and attended conference at Stewartsville, Missouri.
December 24, 1876, the Saints at Newport, California, dedicated their church, Elder D. S. Mills and others officiating.
The year ended with fair prospects at home and abroad.
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