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BRIGHAM YOUNG AT HOME.
His biography -- Birth and education -- Embraces Mormonism -- Meets Smith the Prophet -- Journey to Missouri -- Is ordained an Apostle Preaches -- Appointed President of the Apostles -- Flies for his life Re-lays foundation of Temple in Jackson county, Mo. -- Mission to England -- Returns to Nauvoo -- Brigham and Smith -- Brigham and Sidney Rigdon -- Builds up Nauvoo -- Conducts emigration -- Mormon Battalion -- Salt Lake City -- Brigham's leadership -- Appointed President of Church -- Quarrels with Judges and expels them -- Colonel Steptoe -- Modus operandi -- Should he die, fate of the Church -- Personal appearance -- In council and in pulpit -- Satellites to this planet -- His manners -- Style of oratory -- As a writer -- As a husband and father -- Domesticities -- His wives -- His favorite Women -- Courting the men -- Occupation and property -- Universal confidant and adviser -- Administrative blunders -- Secret of success.
BRIGHAM YOUNG, the President of the Mormon Church and Governor of Utah Territory, was born at Wittenham, Vermont, June 1, 1801, and is, consequently, now fifty-six years of age. His father was a farmer, and had been a soldier of the Revolution. The whole family moved to the State of New York in 1802. Brigham's youth was occupied by the ordinary pursuits of a farmer's son; familiarized with tools and accustomed to hard work.
In the year 1832, being then thirty-one years old, he heard
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and embraced Mormonism. He was convinced by Elder Samuel H. Smith, brother to the Prophet, Joseph Smith, who has since apostatized, and was baptized by Eleazar Miller, now at Salt Lake. Brigham gathered with the Saints to Kirtland, Ohio, in September of the same year, and soon became intimate with Joseph Smith. He was ordained an Elder, and began preaching. His shrewd views of policy, and almost intuitive knowledge of character, soon attracted attention and favor among the small and despised Church. Illiterate, among the ignorant his lack of education passed unnoticed and unknown. He accompanied Smith, in 1834, from Ohio to Jackson county, Missouri, with the companies who "went for the relief of the Saints;" who had just been driven out of that, into Clay county. He had become a marked and prominent man. Eminently practical and far-seeing, at a time too when practical ability of any kind was much needed to meet the exigencies of the Church, then being driven, starving and naked, in the winter season, from their homes to suffer and several to die; he made his presence felt in the Church, and was regarded as one of the men of Mormonism. Accordingly, in 1835, on the 14th of February, at Kirtland, Ohio, Brigham Young, then thirty-four years of age, was ordained one of the newly-organized quorum of the Twelve Apostles; he having been previously designated by a special revelation, that Smith pretended to obtain. Under the hands of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, all of whom subsequently apostatized, Brigham was ordained and set apart to his office. The Twelve were sent from Kirtland, in March, to different parts of the States, and Brigham, firmly
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believing in the authority, and enthusiastically devoted to the person of Smith, as well as fully convinced of his being in reality an Apostle, and equal with Paul or John in the eyes of God, went out to preach. He traveled through the eastern States, and proselyted with much zeal and, therefore, with much success. Not only had he been ordained to the apostleship, but had subsequently received an especial blessing designed to peculiarly aid and Comfort him in his travels at this particular time.
When the Kirtland Temple was completed, in 1836, we find Brigham's name as being present at its dedication. A great many of the Saints on that occasion, were seized, as the Irvingites, with an uncontrollable desire to utter unknown sounds, called "the gift of tongues." Brigham, among others, was thus favored, and this, more than ever, confirmed him in the faith and inspired him with renewed zeal to "bring many to the knowledge of the truth." He continued to labor ardently in the Mormon ministry.
In 1837, Smith's bank, "The Safety Society Bank of Kirtland," failed; his stores were seized, and goods sold, and himself (Smith) was forced to fly by night, to avoid arrest, and very likely being mobbed. Brigham Young accompanied this second Mohammed, in this second Hegira, and Missouri was the Medina that opened its gates to receive them. A new revelation was obtained, and Brigham was commanded to make his home in this State of Missouri.
Thomas B. Marsh, the President of the Twelve Apostles, had apostatized, finding Mormonism too bad a faith, or Smith too bad a Prophet. Brigham Young who, by having "preached
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in tongues" to the Saints, who did not understand him though, in 1836, and having abundantly proven his practical superiority, was appointed President of the Twelve Apostles in Marsh's stead.
Then came the dark days of Mormonism; days that proved Smith's tact and talent severely. Orson Hyde, the present "President of the Twelve," had apostatized, and testified against Smith. W. W. Phelps, the present Mormon devil, almanac maker, "Brigham's jester," etc., had made affidavits against the Church. The Pratts were wavering; Dr. Arvard, a prominent member of the Danite band, had exposed the hidden machinery of Mormonism. Almost alone, and discouraged, Smith was arrested. Brigham fled to save his life, on September 14, 1838. He reached Illinois in safety, met with the Twelve at Quincy, Il., in council, transacted some "Church" business and returned to Far West, where, in company with several of the Apostles and "other brethren," he assisted to re-lay the foundation of' the Temple at "The New Jerusalem" in Independence, Jackson Co., Mo. This was done at midnight on the 25th and 26th of March, 1839. In the darkness of a gloomy night, surrounded by enemies who had sworn to take their lives, who had previously driven them from their habitations, that lay in ruins silently around them, these men met to perform fantastic rites for a fanatic object. However much one may denounce their malpractices, or deplore their delusion, he can not but admire the stern intrepidity of these fearless and foolish men.
On 14th September, 1839, Brigham was appointed with others, by Joseph Smith, to go to "open England by preaching
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the gospel." They landed at Liverpool on 6th April, 1840, partook of the sacrament, and commenced preaching. As they were penniless, and depended entirely on the charity of their audiences, then very poor and very small, Brigham suffered much and often. He here superintended affairs, issued an edition of the Book of Mormon, and commenced the publication of the Millennial Star, a weekly periodical still living. He found that gullibility formed a strong ingredient in the characters of residents of the old as well as new countries. He shipped off, to Nauvoo, Ill., seven hundred and sixty-nine of the faithful who had been converted to Mormonism; and on April 20, 1841, Brigham sailed for New York, leaving behind him many Mormon Churches with organizations completed.
His value was felt and appreciated. Smith received him cordially at Nauvoo, in the July following, and all the Saints applauded him very warmly. Although it is, and always has been, Mormon policy that there should be but one head, and he the all in all of the Church; yet, in April, 1843, Brigham was possessed of influence sufficient to even grapple with Smith, as to the trustworthiness of the Twelve. Smith, who had trained Brigham, had to yield to the pupil he had educated.
The summers were spent by Brigham in preaching, in which his handsome face and pleasing manners obtained him much success; his winters, in attending to the necessities of his wives and children.
It was June, 1844. Smith was shot. The Twelve Apostles were scattered in different places. Nauvoo was threatened.
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Illinoians were alarmed. The most absurd rumors were circulated. Troops were in arms, and their generals had lost their brains. Brigham was then in Boston, Mass. Sidney Rigdon, to whom the right of presidency belonged, according to Mormon law, assumed his authority and began to obtain revelations, confer endowments, institute new mysteries, and dictate a la Smith. Brigham came hurriedly to Nauvoo -- and now came the tug of war -- convinced of his right to lead the people. O how easy it is to be convinced of what is to one's interest! He called his quorum and the people together; ran Sidney Rigdon into the earth completely; broke up his organizations; denounced his revelations as from the devil; crushed his influence; cut off himself and adherents; cursed him; "handed him over to the buffetings of Satan for a thousand years," and was chosen President by an overwhelming majority. He did not stay to reason with the minority, but cut them all off at once. The Church was going to ruin; a thousand divisions threatened to tear it piecemeal. Four claimants to Smith's position appeared, and each had his followers among the people. Brigham aimed at the most prominent. His energy intimidated those whom it did not cut off. He saved the system, and achieved his own triumph.
One thing is certain, had Rigdon remained President, there would have been no Mormonism to-day. Brigham had given a strong proof of his administrative ability. The people obeyed him willingly, for people will always obey men who are able and determined to lead. Energy grew in him with its exercise. From pleading with the people, he began to teach them; from teaching, he dictated to them. Possessed of
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a far more powerful mind, more dogged pertinacity, clearer views, and more pointedness of means than Smith, he soon made Nauvoo show the firm hand of the helmsman. The Temple was completed, the Mansion was growing fast, Nauvoo was increasing rapidly, and, with these, his popularity and power.
Not only on the present did he keep his shrewd gaze. He felt the then position of the Saints was entirely a false one, and he was busy laboring to convince them of the necessity of moving from Nauvoo, even though it should be at the sacrifice of their all. They had reared their Temple in the munificence of their poverty; to leave it was like forsaking a child. Smith's promises and prophecies about Missouri had failed; those about Nauvoo were about to fail too; might not Brigham's predictions of the Rocky Mountains also fail? They hesitated, and they wept. Still Brigham's authority prevented further expression. The force of a strong will bent them before it; and his influence carried the measure through. The Temple was finished in 1845, and endowments were commenced. Thousands were hurried through. They were bound together and to him by oaths, which, while they made them shudder to remember, yet made them love him the more. Their tenderest attachments, their deepest superstition, their fiercest passions, and most sacred reverence were artfully enlisted, to make them more united, and more unitedly obedient. Loving Brigham as their brother, venerating him as their President, obeying him as their God, they left even their beautiful Nauvoo. They crossed the Mississippi on the ice, in February, 1846. Here Brigham proved himself a general as I
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well as a commander. He directed every thing. Thousands were leaving; many destitute, and all poor; their future location was undecided and unknown, it being "somewhere in the Rocky Mountains," and all their property left behind them. Without confusion, without hurrying or even discord, their long trains rolled by him, while he comforted, inspirited, blessed, and counseled the weeping emigrants. Committees were left behind to sell the property of the Church; all business was arranged, and he left Nauvoo, for Winter Quarters, Iowa.
The same skill and energy directed the next movement of the Church. Their avowed intention of going to the Rocky Mountains, then Mexican country, was to establish an independent government. Disgusted with the institutions of a country that had allowed them to be expelled three times, they resolved to forsake it, and forever. In their style, they would "worship under their own vine and fig-tree, and none should make them afraid." But they were poor: money was needed to enable them to move. Their design they desired to cloak under a sham patriotism. The United States offered $20,000 bounty money, and Brigham recruited a regiment, persuaded, commanded them to leave their families, many of them perfectly destitute, and join General Scott's army, then in Mexico, and they obeyed. One hundred and forty-three men, with Brigham at their head, made the trip to Salt Lake, where they arrived July 24th, 1847; and leaving a few to commence farming operations, Brigham returned to Winter Quarters, Iowa, where the Church were suffering poverty and starvation; while the cholera, and fever and ague, were mowing them down in ranks.
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A very serious step had now to be taken. The veneration of the people for the memory of Smith was very sensitive. No man could supplant him in their affections: few men could have dared to attempt occupying his position. A thousand reminiscences of him, that the people loved to cherish, were sanctified in their thoughts by his blood. Brigham was only ruling the people in his capacity of President of the Twelve Apostles. He needed greater influence; therefore, he coveted the higher authority of the President of the Church. Cromwell was content to be king in fact; Brigham demanded the name as well as the power. It was a bold step, but his feet were firm; he attempted it, and succeeded.
The Church was reorganized at Council Bluffs, Iowa, on the 24th December, 1847. After the pattern of Smith, Brigham was chosen "President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in all the world." He appointed Heber Chase, Kimball, and Willard Richards, to be his Counselors. These three formed the "First Presidency." All this was subsequently confirmed at a conference held 6th of April, 1848, at the same place. Brigham was then the nominal as well as virtual "head of this strange community." A greater trial demanded his forethought. The whole of the Church had to be moved a distance of 1030 miles, through au almost unknown country, full of dangers and difficulties. Some ability is required to efficiently remove bodies of armed troops over such new and pioneering obstacles; well supplied, equipped and mounted, it taxes a commnander's skill; but here were poor, unprovided, feeble men, women, and
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children, shaking with ague, pale with suffering, hollow and gaunt with recent hunger. Without strife, without discord, without almost a murmur, this heterogeneous mass moved off. Many groaned with anguish, but none with complaint. Brigham's energy inspired them all; his genius controlled them all. Marking their road with their grave stones, they arrived at Salt Lake Valley, destitute and feeble, in 1848. The desert, to which they had come, was as cheer less as their past history. From cruel foes they had fled to as unfeeling a wilderness. Renewed difficulties demanded a renewed effort from Brigham. Every thing depended on him. Starvation and nakedness stared in the gloomy faces of the desponding people. Murmurs and complaints were uttered. He quelled every thing; scolded, plead, threatened, prophesied, and subdued them. With a restless but resistless energy he set them to work, and worked himself as their example. He directed their labors, controlled their domestic affairs, preached at them, to them, for them. He told foolish anecdotes to make them laugh; encouraged their dancing to make them merry; got up theatrical performances to distract their minds, and made them work hard, certain of that rendering them contented by-and-by. Feared with a stronger fear, venerated with a more rational veneration, but not loved with the same clinging tenderness that the people still felt for Joseph Smith, Brigham swayed them at his will. They learned to dread his iron hand; and were daunted by his iron heart. They got enough to eat, and their previous want made their then present scarcity seem like paradise begun. They
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were by themselves, but still they were away from their enemies.
Mexico was vanquished, California seized, much territory annexed to the United States, and the Mormons were now desirous to be recognized by the federal Government. Accordingly the people elected a Convention who drew up the Constitution of the State of Deseret, appointed delegates, sent them to Washington, and prayed admission into the Union. Brigham of course was Governor; the other offices were filled by the leading men of the Church. Congress in 1850 sheared some of the self-named and extensive proportions of "Deseret;" and granted them a Territorial Government under the name of Utah. Fillmore, by the advice and intercession of Colonel Kane, who had embraced Mormonism in Iowa, appointed Brigham as the Governor of Utah, for the first term of four years.
Since that time, large bodies of emigrants have flocked in. The California excitement drove thousands through, who left much money and property. Brigham's policy of keeping the people to work constantly, began to show its fruits. Cities, towns, public buildings, roads, etc., were going up. A Temple block was dedicated, inclosed, and the Tabernacle erected. Meanwhile his influence began to increase; thousands came from England, prepared to believe him any thing he pretended, and every thing he said. They brought the skill of English mechanics added to the Mormon energy. Comfort and prosperity dawned upon the people; and Brigham had a moment's respite. The year 1852 came, and the Secretary and Judges appointed by
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President Pierce to Utah, came with it. Mr. Brocchus and others made some slighting allusions to the Saints, and their conduct. Brigham was aroused. The man who had crushed Sidney Rigdon, in the very teeth of the Church, at a time pregnant with ruin for the whole system, would not be cowed by one man, especially when there were thousands to support him in what he might do, and they were a thousand miles "from anywhere." Brocchus was bruised, bent, broken; and the officers fled. Others were appointed; they yielded to Young, and remained.
In 1854 another cloud darkened the temporal horizon of the Church. The crops failed. Famine stared the people in the face. Hundreds were suffering want and anxiety. The people murmured, and many left. Brigham recalled his old tact and energy. "The Saints were unfaithful, therefore they were cursed;" or, rather, the Saints were cursed, therefore they were unfaithful. Brigham's famine sermons startled every body; they succeeded where every thing else would have failed. He stifled out complaint by cursing the murmurers. The people bowed to the yoke, and only worked harder than ever. There was more suffering, and more prayer. Brigham had frequently declared that "no other man should be Governor of the Territory." Colonel Steptoe came in the same year, with his appointment, generally suspected. Brigham courted the Colonel; got up parties for the officers; flattered, befooled, and used them as tools. Colonel Steptoe threw up his appointment; got up the following memorial to President Pierce; induced his officers and civil friends to sign it, and forwarded
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it to Washington, praying for the reappointment of Brigham Young to the office of Governor.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY FRANKLIN PIERCE,
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
Your petitioners would respectfully represent: that
Whereas Governor Brigham Young possesses the entire confidence of the people of this Territory, without distinction of party or sect; and from personal acquaintance, and social intercourse, we find him to be a firm supporter of the Constitution and Laws of the United States, and a tried pillar of Republican Institutions; and having repeatedly listened to his remarks, in private as well as in public assemblies, do know he is the warm friend and able supporter of Constitutional Liberty, the rumors published in the States to the contrary notwithstanding; and having canvassed to our satisfaction his doings as Governor, and Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and also the disposition of the appropriation for public buildings for the Territory,
We do most cordially and cheerfully represent, that the same has been expended to the best interest of the nation; and Whereas his reappointment would better subserve the Territorial interest than the appointment of any other man, and would meet with the gratitude of the entire inhabitants of the Territory, and his removal would cause the deepest feelings of sorrow and regret; and it being our unqualified opinion, based upon the personal acquaintance which we have formed with Governor Young, and from our observation of the results of his influence and administration in this Territory, that he possesses in an eminent degree every qualification necessary for the discharge of his official duties, and unquestioned integrity and ability; that he is decidedly the most suitable person that can be selected for that office.
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We therefore take great pleasure in recommending him to your favorable consideration, and do earnestly request his reappointment as Governor, and Superintendent of Indian Affairs for this Territory.
Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, December 30, 1854.
J. T. KINNEY, Chief Justice U.S. Supreme Court, Utah.
E. J. STEPTOE, Lieutenant-colonel U. S. Army.
JOHN F. REYNOLDE, Brevet Major 3d Artillery U. S. Army.
RUFUS INGALLS, Captain U.S. Army.
SYLVESTER MOWRY, Lieutenant U.S. Army.
LATHETT L. LIVINGSTON, Lieutenant 3d U.S. Artillery.
JOHN G. CHANDLER, Lieutenant 3d U.S. Artillery.
ROBERT O. TYLER, Lieutenant 3d Artillery.
BENJAMIN ALLSTON, Brevet 2d Lieutenant 1st Dragoons U. S. Army.
CHARLES A. PERRY, Sutler U.S. Army.
WILLIAM G. RANKIN, Quartermaster's Clerk.
HORACE R. WIRTZ, Medical Staff U. S. Army.
LEO. SHAVER, Assistant Justice of Supreme Court of U. S., Territory of Utah.
WILLIAM I. APPLEBY, Clerk of Supreme and First District Courts U. S., Territory of Utah.
CURTIS E. BOLTON (Book-keeper of Mr. Perry).
A. W. BABBITT, Secretary of Utah Territory.
JOSEPH HOLLMAN, U. S. District Attorney for Utah;
and many Mormon signatures.
The Colonel left, believing Brigham to be an ill-used and belied man; and feeling that certainly, notwithstanding his fame in military and diplomatic circles, he was not the man to cope with this famous prophet and would-be reformer.
Other judges and officers were appointed; not one of them but sunk themselves, or was fiercely curbed by Brigham. One
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officer disgraced himself with an Indian squaw. Another was a notorious opium-eater, with which he killed himself. Another was accused of having gambling in his cellar. Another for taking a public prostitute, seating her on the bench with him, and being accessory to an attempted assassination. Another was a notorious drunkard. All fell, or all had to fall. It is a popular mistake that Brigham used physical force in any of these cases; he is too wise a man. Physical force is the sole property of brutes, and they are brutes who make it their sole property. But although he never struck, he has over and over again threatened and intimidated them. He has instigated annoyances of a thousand different kinds; frustrated their plans, and baffled their designs; forced them to act under a mental and moral duress; but he never yet attempted personal violence. They have all felt the pressure of his heavy hand, but none bear the marks of his fangs. Had they resisted him, however, I make no doubt but that some appointed individual would have sought a quarrel with the contumacious Judge, and have murdered him. Let an other man give the Mormons the same reasons to be disliked or feared as Governor Boggs of Missouri, and Joseph Smith's successor will find another O. P. Rockwell to attempt to assassinate him. That Brigham Young has been accessory to several murders, I am compelled to believe; that he would not hesitate at such, if he thought it advisable and proper, I have not the slightest doubt; yet, I think his heart would condemn such an act, if not imperiously demanded by his policy.
To his policy he would sacrifice himself; to it he would willingly sacrifice his country; to it he will assuredly sacrifice
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the whole Mormon people, by arraying them against federal authority and power; and the immolation of a Judge or a Governor, would need but a small stretch of his conscience. While this is true as to his unscrupulousness, it is not true of his past conduct. The means he has employed to so completely rule the United States officials hitherto sent has been this -- they have put themselves under his heel, and he has mercilessly trod them down, and compelled them to leave.
Brigham Young has one design, and only one. However wild in theory and impossible in execution, he entertains it seriously; and that is, to make the Mormon Church by-and-by control the whole of this continent. For this he really hopes, and to this end are all his efforts directed. By the native force and vigor of a strong mind he has already taken this system of the grossest absurdity and re-created it; molded it anew and changed its spirit; taken from beneath it the monstrous stilts of a miserable superstition, and consolidated it into a compact scheme of the sternest fanaticism; guided its energies and swelled its numbers; increased its wealth and established its power, and all with the same ability that characterized his triumph over Rigdon, or his direction of the emigration to Salt Lake. His success in the past only inspires in him confidence in his future, and relying on contemptuous disregard or fluctuating imbecility on the part of the Government, he is prepared to consummate his folly and his ruin.
I have seen and heard him very often; privately conversed with him; watched him in his family and in his public administrations;
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carefully endeavored to criticise his movements, and discover his secret of power, and I conscientiously assert, that the world has much mistaken the ability and danger of the man.
This is independent of his system; that is a piece of gross fraud, but it is a proof the stronger that he must be something of a man, to make so much out of so poor and ridiculous a foundation. In a few years he will follow others to the grave; Mormonism will lose his clear head and his iron fist. Under the vacillating weakness of Kimball, or the impetuous thoughtlessness of the old apostate, Hyde; the abstract ponderings of O. Pratt, or the good-natured want of energy of George A. Smith; the self-confident and self-exhibiting egotism of Taylor, or the wild theories of the others, Mormonism will decline. It must live its day and die. Brigham is its sun, this is its daytime. Delusions have arisen in all ages; like meteors, the more rapid their progress, the more heat and light they have evolved -- but the more speedy has been their extinction. It has been thus with other systems of imposture, and will be so with this.
Brigham Young is far superior to Smith in every thing that constitutes a great leader. Smith was not a man of genius; his forte was tact. He only embraced opportunities that presented themselves. He used circumstances but did not create them. The compiling genius of Mormonism was Sidney Rigdon. Smith had his boisterous impetuosity, but no foresight. Polygamy was not a result of his policy, but of his passions. Sidney gave point, direction, and apparent consistency to the Mormon system of theology. He invented
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its forms and many of its arguments. He and Parley Pratt were its leading orators and polemics. Had it not been for the accession of these two men, Smith would have been lost, and his schemes frustrated and abandoned. That Brigham was superior not only to Smith, but also to Rigdon, is evident. To carry on Mormonism demands increasing talent and skill. Its position and process becomes constantly beset with fresh and greater difficulties. The next President must be as superior to Brigham as he was to Smith, or Mormonism will retrograde. Such an one does not live in the Mormon Church.
Thus far with Brigham's past history. It may be interesting to ask what is his appearance and style. In person he is rather large and portly, has an imposing carriage and very impressive manner. To pass him in the street, he is one of those men we should naturally turn round to look after. In private conversation, he is pointed, but affable, very courteous to strangers, knows he is the object of much curiosity, takes it as a matter of course, and, so long as the curiosity is not impertinent, is very friendly. he talks freely, in an off-hand style, on any subject, does not get much time to read, and, therefore, often blunders grossly; he is much more of an observer than reader, thoroughly knows men, a point in which Smith was very weak, although he boasted "the Lord tells me who to trust." Men, not books, deeds not words, houses not theories, the earth and not the heavens, now and not hereafter, is Brigham's view of matters. Hence his religion is all practical; and, consequently, hence his practical success.
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Brigham in a council and Brigham in the pulpit are not the same. Under the force of his prophetic afflatus, he talks, till, on reviewing his remarks, he has to say, "Well, well, words are only wind." This is a remark he once made. In council he is calm, deliberate, and very politic; neither hastily decided, nor easily moved when decided. His shrewdness is often, however, baffled by a set of sycophants that he has around him. He has unjustly browbeaten and crushed several of his warm believers through the instigations of men "whom I thought I could believe." So complete is his ascendancy that they, however, have only bowed their heads and tried to do better. The same petty jealousies, secret maneuverings, pandering flattery, and entire self-abnegation, characterize his, as any other great man's satellites. One difference exists, and that is this, however bickering among themselves, they would all die for Brigham Young. One of the severest tests of greatness is the power to completely center in oneself a thousand interests and the deep affections of a thousand hearts. All really great men have done this. Philosophy has had its disciples, adventurers their followers, generals their soldiers, kings their subjects, impostors their fanatics. Mohammed, Smith, Brigham have all been thus. No man ever lived who had more deeply devoted friends than Brigham Young. The magnetism that attracts and infatuates, that makes men feel its weight and yet love its presence, abounds in him. Even his enemies have to acknowledge a great charm in the influence he throws around him. The clerks in his office and his very wives feel the same veneration for the Prophet, as the most respectful new-comer. It is
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thus also in his public orations; he soon winds a thrall round his hearers. Bad jokes, low ribaldry, meaningless nonsense, and pompous swagger that would disgust when coming from any one else, amuse and interest from him. I have seen him bring an audience to their feet and draw out thundering responses more than once. Sermons that appear a mere farcical rhodomontade have been powerful when they were spoken by him. His manner is pleasing and unaffected, his matter perfectly impromptu and unstudied. He does not preach but merely talks. His voice is strong and sonorous, and he is an excellent bass singer. His gestures are easy and seldom violent. He feels his sermons; the people see he feels them, and, therefore, they make themselves felt. He makes constant and unmistakable allusions to individuals; imitating their personal appearance and peculiarities, and repeating their expressions. Brigham is a good mimic, and very readily excites laughter. Much that tells, therefore, very gallingly to Salt Lake audiences, who understand the allusions and recognize the parties, seems ridiculous when read. Even on reading, after denuding his sermons of the ridiculous and obscure, there is an evident vein of strong, practical sense. They are, however, much garbled in printing, and are still more coarse and profane, when spoken. Brigham has no education. He never writes his letters, merely dictates them. This was also the custom of J. Smith. Smith's letters to A. Bennett, Clay, and Calhoun, and his address as candidate for the Presidency, which was thought to so clearly evince the man, were written by Phelps, the Mormon devil, W. Clayton, and others. In like manner, the epistles, addresses,
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and messages that simple Saints have believed were the divine effusions of "Brigham's graphic pen" (!) were written by General D. W. Wells, Albert Carrington, and others. His autograph, which is quite characteristic, dashed energetically up and down and curling off with a little flourish, is almost as far as Brigham's chirography extends.
Much interest is naturally felt as to his family. As a husband he is kind not fond. As a father he is necessarily negligent, indeed he makes a mockery of Solomon's injunction, "Bring up a child in the way he should go, and he will never depart from it;" quotes Solomon himself as a proof to the contrary, and says, "According to my experience it is, bring up a child and away they go." Brigham is a tolerably well-preserved man, considering his travels and hardships, and the constant mental and physical demands on his system. He sleeps by himself, in a sacredly private chamber behind his office. He, as some old philosophers, teaches the doctrine that cohabitation is entirely for the purpose of procreation, and that all cohabitation should, therefore, cease with pregnancy; nor be resumed until after weaning the infant! This rule he endeavors to keep, although the birth of children proves him to have violated his own law, certainly in one woman's exception. There is also another practice he has adopted which eminently proves the degrading nature of this Mormon institution. As cohabitation is merely for the purpose of procreation, therefore after his wives get past child-bearing, they are entirely discarded. They live in his house and eat at his table, but all attention from him, as a husband, ceases. Brigham believes that Solomon's injunction, "Waste not thy
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strength on women," might be peculiarly applied in these instances. These women, thus neglected, usually become "Mothers in Israel;" pretend to great piety, and endeavor to win the smile of approval as devotees, that is denied to them as wives. But Mormon piety is very peculiar in its nature; it is not the spiritual purity and holiness that might be imagined, but assumes quite a practical and Mormon cast: to convert young girls who dislike polygamy into advocates of the practice; to convince young wives who stand alone in their husband's affections, that it is their duty to persuade their husbands to take other wives; to visit the sick, and by anointing, and praying, and "laying on of hands," to endeavor to heal them miraculously; to teach newly-married wives their duties, which many of them do most indecently and even obscenely; to be present at child-births, and give motherly advice upon the most sacredly private affairs; to attend their weekly "council of health," and tell their own and friends' experiences; and disgustingly discuss the laws of procreation and human nature in general. Incited by feelings which are neither dead nor dormant, witnessing around them unblushing signs of sensuality, remembering the reasons that have induced the neglect they can not but feel, hearing but little conversation not connected with marriage, or birth, or their kindred concomitants, the vast majority of them are as above stated; and who can be surprised that such results should inevitably follow?
Brigham has not only these discarded wives, and those with whom he lives, but also the widows of Smith; besides many spiritual wives (temporarily married to other husbands)
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and likewise many women to whom he has been "sealed" as agent or proxy for some dead brother. Counting all these he has a very large number. Out of this number, there are only, I believe, about twenty-five with whom he lives. This, I think, includes the whole, but of this it is impossible to speak decisively. I can only say, that I am not acquainted with any more. It may be naturally asked, Where does he keep them? How do they live? What do they do? When does he visit them? etc., etc.
Brigham has some of his wives in his Lion House; others in his Mansion, and others in little houses, in different parts of the city. He intends to see them all once a week, and, if possible, once a day. This, however, owing sometimes to his ill health, sometimes to the press of business, and sometimes from bad weather, he is not able to do. His wives, if they want to see him, then, have to go to him. For thirty or forty women to be in a sick room, and all wanting to do something for their suffering lord and master, is no trifle for weak or disordered nerves. If he be sick, he has to name his attendant, and the rest go sadly away and weep, till their jealousy and anguish is over. Poor women! there is many and often a wet eye, a pained bosom, a dreary heart-ache, and deep sighs; but they murmur, "It is the will of the Lord," and try to stifle down the voice of nature that is pleading within them, against the monstrous cruelty. He may be in pain, and their kind hearts and soft hands may uselessly wish to attend or comfort him; he may die, and the whole of his family could not stand around his bed, to hear his last words or watch his last breath. They are the companions of his
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passions, and not of his life; panderers to his lusts, instead of being the partners of his affections; obliged to be satisfied with a passing nod, a casual smile, or an accidental confidence: crushing out every hope of happiness, every dream of girlhood, every wish and every necessity of their deep woman hearts; searing themselves into a premature age, and age bringing with it inevitable neglect, and yet, most of them appearing content to be thus degraded, for the sake of their religion; preserving themselves pure for their impure husbands, till the observer is almost compelled to think, that they must have ceased to be women altogether in heart, in soul, and in mind.
Brigham Young, imitating the sultan in his hareem, has imitated him also in having a favorite. This, of course, is vigorously denied by the men of Utah; the women, however, whose perceptions are far more acute, especially when sharpened by jealousy, know the men are trying to deceive them. It is contrary to human nature for men, however brutal or however refined, to have several wives without feeling a warmer love for some one of them than for the others. Brigham Young, I presume, would deny the charge directly, were any of his wives to dare to make it: but with so many eyes to watch his glances; to observe on whose face it lingers the longest; or seems most tender while regarding; or whom he gets to wait on him most, when sick; or whose company he prefers, when traveling; or who seems best acquainted with his views on private matters; or who exercises most influence over domestic arrangements; or who obtains the most attention if unwell; or who is always best provided
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with assistance; or at whose accouchments Brigham, in spite of himself, exhibits most anxiety; with so many eyes to remark, and so many hearts to treasure up such observations, it is impossible not to know.
Brigham has a favorite. She is a very good-looking person, of about thirty years of age. She is tall; her eyes are a very soft blue, large and full; her hair light brown; complexion very fair, and general expression very intelligent and prepossessing. I believe she is Brigham's third wife, and, I understand, he married her at Council Bluffs, Iowa. She has had six children, most of them, however, are dead. In her case, Brigham violated his own law. For a little while, he indulged his vanity so far as to wear his hair curled; much laughter and remark was occasioned by persons often noticing his head fixed up in papers and hair-pins, of an evening. This lady was the industrious hair-dresser. She is very devout in her religion and passionately devoted to her husband, that is, to her "undivided moiety" of a husband!
Mrs. Emeline Free Young, however, is not alone, either in her worth or her affection. Brigham is very much beloved by all his wives, notwithstanding his bitter attacks on some, and cruel neglect of others, of them. They all certainly believe in his authority, and are content to share his future glory, although that is so widely diffused, that it can come only in homeopathic doses to any one of them.
There are still very many who would like to be married to Brigham, notwithstanding the size of his family. Many great men, orators, tragedians, poets, or warriors have excited similar feelings in many bosoms. At Salt Lake the women not
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only feel, but express such wishes. Nature has implanted the feeling of sympathy and the sentiment of admiration; false education has taught many to mistake that sympathy for love, and that admiration for devotion: the Mormons have broken down the barriers of modesty, and the women, thus in error are permitted to indulge it, and gratify the new passion by a new marriage, if single; or by a divorce and then a marriage if previously united.
Great numbers have pestered Brigham so much to marry them, that he has been forced to declare, "My family is large enough, and I do not want to take any more." I spent a few days at the house of an old gentleman from Pennsylvania, during the spring of 1 856. He was a thorough German; honest, honorable, very hard working, and completely infatuated with Mormonism. He had a daughter, about twenty-two years of age, good-looking, intelligent, and very much courted by several wealthy and hard-working single young men, but had refused them all. She was moping, and doing her best to make herself miserable, and I learned that Melina had been spending a few weeks with Mrs. Emeline Free Young, had thus been thrown into the society of Brigham, had become so impressed and enamored of him as to love him. She told me that she had asked Brigham to have her, she promised him to labor for and support herself, told him of her love, and only wanted to call herself his wife. When I asked her, very gravely, what Mrs. Emeline said to all this, she told me,
"Why, brother Hyde, she was only desirous to add to her husband's glory!"
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I demanded what reply Brigham made to this earnest and devoted appeal?
"Why, he told me that his family was large enough and he did not wish to extend it," replied the half weeping and foolish girl.
"Then as he refused you, Melina," said I, " why do you not marry some of these young fellows, who are constantly pestering you to go to parties and sleigh-rides?"
Her answer struck me forcibly. "Brother Hyde, it is a principle of Mormonism that, if we resolve, and keep on resolving, and keep on living up to our resolution, that we can accomplish what we want. Isn't that true?"
"Yes, to a certain extent, it is true, but what do you make of it?" I demanded.
"Just this; I am determined to be one of brother Brigham's wives; God showed him to me in a dream, and I know he will have me, if I only resolve and keep sticking to my resolution, and living for it and nothing else, and that is why I keep refusing all these fellows. I won't ride with them, nor dance with them, nor walk with them; I'll keep myself to myself, and I know I shall get my wish."
Her perseverance is commendable, whatever be said of its object; and so Miss Melina is "still sticking to her resolution."
Brigham has some seventeen or eighteen of his wives in his "Lion House." Each wife has a separate sleeping apartment, except in case of discarded ones who sleep by twos. The rooms are scrupulously clean and neat; sufficiently, but not well furnished. They are the sitting-rooms during the day
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time for their occupants. When well, all in that and the adjoining house are expected to eat at the general table. It is a curious spectacle is Brigham's dining-hall. Wives, children, workmen, visitors, a crowd of hungry dinner-seekers. It needs no small amount of cooking, nor any slight quantity of edibles. Brigham keeps no servants; his wives, unless sick, wait on themselves. In that case, they must wait on each other. Cooking, cleaning, dairy-work, washing, mending, tending children, has to be distributed among them according to the taste or skill of each; or else, by the absolute and final dictum of the Prophet! Before the general table system was adopted, each wife was supplied in rotation, and by weight and quantity, with vegetables, fruits, etc. Like old feudal barons, Brigham is obliged to keep a steward and purveyor for his numerous dependants.
It must not be imagined that these wives lead an idle life. Brigham is a working man. Sternly practical in his views of policy, keeping the whole of the people constantly and diligently at work, he makes his household a pattern for the Saints. "There must be no idlers in Zion, no drones in the hive," is Brigham's hobby-cry, and consequently the whole of his family work. His sons among the stock, herding, branding, driving. His wives at household affairs, looms, spinning-wheels, knitting-needles, and quilting-frames. They boast very extensively of how many stockings, quilts, yards of flannel, linsey, and carpet they have made. "If a woman can not support herself, and partly provide for her family, she is only half a woman," say Mormon domestic economists. They try, therefore, to make their wives models of perfection;
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they have to work hard. "To dress well is costly, and that is extravagant; and extravagance is a sin," say they; and, consequently, they conclude, "to dress well is a sin." Proud of a delaine, pleased with a muslin or content with a calico, they limit their wants to the wishes of their "lords," and are satisfied if none of the rest have any better. Roundheads could not be less costly in their dress; Puritans not more punctilious in the trifles of life. I have often thought, indeed, that Brigham tries to imitate the old Puritanic style in every thing, except his polygamy. Stern old fellows who would pray while they drew their swords; who would kill an antagonist for the love of God; who, in the fanatic hope of securing a heavenly kingdom, would tear down earthly governments, and sincerely rebel in the belief of doing their duty; to whom blood was but an incense to the Almighty, and whose foes were the especial enemies of the Eternal; these certainly present Mormon sentiments. Brigham's wives, although poorly clothed and hard worked, are still very infatuated with their system, very devout in their religion, very devoted to their husband. They content themselves with his kindness, as they can not obtain his love. Not being allowed to be happy, they try to be calm; and endeavor to think that this calmness is happiness. Because their hearts may not feel, therefore they freeze their hearts. As their religion is all their solace, they try to make it their only object. If it does not elevate their mind, it deadens their susceptibilities, and not being permitted to be women, they try to convince themselves that it is God's will for them to be slaves.
As before remarked, Brigham sleeps alone. He not only
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practices, but publicly advocates this habit, and that, too, without any delicacy of thought or modesty of expression. The reasons he urges are very singular and ridiculous. "Audit solum ad vocem libidontis."
Brigham has many small children living, and one of his wives is school-mistress to the whole. His two large houses are comfortably furnished, and he has a piano and melodeon, on which his daughters have learned to play. His family is necessarily very expensive, but he is a very excellent business man; and although he does not receive a cent from the Church in remuneration for his services, his position as President secured to him all the chances of selection in the commencement, and every opportunity of improvement since. To this must be added his past salary as Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs. He is a very extensive farmer, having the best locations; owns several saw and grist-mills, much stock and other property. No one's farms are better cultivated; no stock, finer breed; no mills make better flour than those of Brigham Young. His practical genius shows admirably in the improvement of his own property. Of course his position secures also many valuable presents. From a barrel of brandy down to an umbrella, Brigham receives courteously, and remembers the donors with increased kindness. Any new variety of fruit, or stock, is always sent up to "Brother Brigham, with Brother So-and-So's respects." I saw one man make him a present of ten fine milch cows. That man will some day get an exclusive grant to some nice pasture from the Legislature of Utah, or some rich claim to a wood kanyon; or an important privilege in a valuable ferry.
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Although, of course, the Mormons indignantly disclaim such bribery; still it is thus at Salt Lake; and as says Sam Slick, "human natur is human natur, wherever the critter's found."
Brigham is a great lover of fruit, and a warm patron of the Pomological and Horticultural Societies of Utah; although some rigid Saints are inclined to view Mormon co-operation with outside Pomological or Agricultural Societies, as evincing a hankering after "the flesh-pots of Egypt."
Brigham's time is much occupied. He rises early, calls the whole of his family together. They sing a hymn, and he prays fervently, and they separate for the day's duties. He eats at the long table, and as his gustativeness is small, his fare is very simple; often consisting only of a bowl of milk covered with cream, and dry toast or bread. To make his rounds, "see the women folks," is his next duty. To these he is cordial and kind, but no more. He is not Brigham the lover or the husband, but Brigham the Prophet and President. They feel for him more reverence than love, watch his face and treasure his words; and torture every one of them into embodying the "key" to some great mystery. Then to his office, to meet his visitors and counsel with them. He is the director of every thing. From the slightest matter to the most important, the Saints all consult with Brother Brigham. Many absurd things have occurred in consequence of this. Men of every trade seek his advice, and view it as a revelation from God for them to follow. None can divorce but him, and to him all such cases come for investigation and action. No other can give permission to a man to take any wives subsequent to the first, and therefore all such parties apply to him. An old
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lady once went to seriously inquire "the word of the Lord" as to whether red or yellow flannel was best to wear next the person, and he as gravely advised her to "wear yellow by all means." C. V. Spencer was married to two ladies on the same day, and they disputing as to priority, he appealed to Brigham to determine the important question. Brigham's reply was characteristic. No speculation is entered on, no enterprise begun without seeking counsel from Brigham. He encourages and commands this: "If you do not know what to do in order to do right," said he, "come to me at any time, and I will give you the word of the Lord on the subject." -- Deseret News, June 25th, 1856. He is fully obeyed in this. Although it occupies much time and involves much labor, it is very admirable policy. It acquaints him with every secret of their thoughts; associates him with every action of their lives; makes them feel him their truest friend, and renders him positively necessary to their prosperity. For them to uphold, cherish and love him is inevitable; and whatever may be said of his policy as a leader, or his conduct as a husband, all must acknowledge that Brigham is as true to his friends as he is unscrupulous to his enemies.
He often enmeshes the affairs of the people, so that none but himself can disentangle them. A French soldier once, seeing a shell about to explode, threw himself on to Napoleon the Great, and sprang with him into a depressed earthwork. "Look here," cried he, " you must not die. You have brought us into this scrape, and no one but you can bring us out. So it is with Brigham. Brigham, knowing the business of all, can blend interests, and plan more successfully than any
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one else; hence, also, if any grow contumacious, he can very easily ruin them, without being seen. A Mr. Howard was a Mormon merchant, but grew dissatisfied in 185, and determined to leave Salt Lake. No sooner was his intention known at head-quarters, than the line was drawn, and he found himself irrevocably entangled. His goods were seized and sold at auction, when they were bought in by the "Church" at a mere nominal amount; his store was sold also and likewise bought by the Church at their own price; no one daring to bid against this unseen, but all-powerful inviduality; and Mr. Howard found himself a ruined man. His wife was, however, a firm and fervent Mormon; she pleaded and implored him to remain; consented even to procure for him another wife. Several Mormons used their influence with him; the "Church" threatened its anathema; it alluded to his endowment covenants, and their penalties; old infatuation was re-awakened, and Mr. Howard bent his head to "the will of the Lord;" was re-baptized, blessed, and returned to his old allegiance; helplessly sunk and hopelessly involved in the destiny of Mormonism. This case is but a sample of many similar. Mormonism has adopted Romanism as its model of government, and uses Jesuitism as its means of accomplishing its ends, and controlling its victims. Loyola might have learned something from Brigham Young. So universally is this unseen power felt, although very seldom traced, that it has become a very common saying among the faithful Mormons at Salt Lake, "When I obey counsel, every thing prospers with me; when I neglect it, I prosper in nothing." This united action under the able direction of one powerful business
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mind, is the main cause of the rapid prosperity of the Mormons; but is at the same time a strong evidence of Brigham's administrative tact and ability. On several occasions, however, he has made great blunders, and had to retract. One very prominent error was the attempted settlement of Carson and Wash-ho Valleys. Being surrounded, however, with active, enterprising and ambitious men, whom he must constantly keep employed, it would be astonishing were he not frequently to fail. Not long will elapse before this Cromwell shall fall, and under the lax administration of Brigham's "Richard," or some more cautious than profound General Monk, this meteor shall fade, and
"The king shall hae his ain again."
Brigham Young is not a temperate man. He loudly urges young men to quit the use of tobacco and liquor, as well as tea and coffee. He made a solemn covenant before the whole Church in 1851 that he would cease using tobacco. Excited by his words, and stimulated by his example, all the men joined in the obligation, and much was thrown away. Brigham persisted for several weeks; grew languid and nervous; he accidentally met Ira S. Miles, who was just cutting his tobacco; the temptation overcame the Spartan heroism of this would-be Lycurgus, and he asked for a piece. It was given; Brigham chewed it with great gusto. "It is very good, brother Ira," said he, "That is a question between you and the Lord, brother Brigham," retorted Ira; "Joseph says that God denounces it as bad!" Since that time the people have followed the Prophet; the children
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imitate the men, and tobacco is the best article of merchandise at Salt Lake. Lewis has received many a hundred dollars from many a Mormon Gentile hater.
Not only with regard to tobacco, but also as to liquor, Brigham is decidedly intemperate. His two sons, Joseph A., and Brigham, jun., have long since been notorious for their indulgence; and I have seen Brigham intoxicated at the same time that he was seated in his office, pretending to give the "word of the Lord" to those who should consult with him! This was on the evening of Monday, April 7th, 1856. Mr. Alva L. Smith was in company with me, and he also noticed it, and remarked it to me, after we left the office. It had been conference-day. Brigham had spoken but very little; but had been observed to have been "full of the spirit" when he did speak.
The whole secret of Brigham's influence lies in his real sincerity. Brigham may be a great man, greatly deceived, but he is not a hypocrite. Smith was an impostor: that can be clearly established. Brigham Young embraced Mormonism in sincerity, conscientiously believed, faithfully practiced, and enthusiastically taught it. As devoted to Smith as Kimball is now to himself, he reverenced him as a Prophet, and loved him as a man. For the sake of his religion, he has over and over again left his family, confronted the world, endured hunger, came back poor, made wealth, and gave it to the Church. He holds himself prepared to lead his people in sacrifice and want, as in plenty and ease. No holiday friend, nor summer Prophet, he has shared their trials, as well as their prosperity. i.e. never pretends to more than "the inward monitions of the Spirit;" and, not as Smith, to direct
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revelations and physical manifestations. No man prays more fervently, nor more frequently, than Brigham Young. No man can more win the hearts, or impress the minds of his hearers than Brigham, while in prayer. Few men can persist in believing him a hypocrite, after hearing him thus pray, either in his family, or in private meetings, or in public. I am convinced that if he be an impostor, he has commenced by imposing on himself. It is not impossible, as any reader of history knows, for men to be as grossly deceived as Brigham, and yet be honest in their intentions. The Florentine Savanarola is a strong pertinent illustration. Were it not for this real, constant, evident sincerity, he would expose himself before the entire people, and fall. He is a good specimen of a man in positive earnest; and what such a man can do. He is in earnest; if he makes nothing else felt, all feel this. Enthusiasm is the secret of the great success of Mormon proselytism; it is the universal characteristic of the people when proselyted; it is the hidden and strong cord that leads them to Utah, and the iron chain that keeps them there; and it is, too, the real reason of Brigham's triumph. This earnest, obstinate, egotistical enthusiasm has been nursed by wily men as deceived, but more ambitious; it has been fed by false miracles, justified by false logic, fanned by persecution, and cemented by blood.
Brigham, however deceived, is still a bad man, and a dangerous man; and as much more dangerous, being sincere in thinking he is doing God's work, as a madman is than an impostor; one being accessible to reason and inducement; and the other knowing no reason but impotence, and no inducement but constraint.