Elder John Taylor’s Mission to Europe in 1849-1852.
Discourse by Elder John Taylor, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, August 22, 1852.
Reported By: G. D. Watt.
Speaker: John Taylor
Date: 8/22/1852
Brethren and Sisters—I feel happy in having the privilege of meeting you once more in the Valley of the mountains. It is now about three years since I left this place. Since then I have traveled a great distance, enough, if in a straight line, to have gone round the world. Had I only had that to do, I should have been back some time ago. Before I enter upon anything else, I will tell you some of my feelings, and speak of other things afterwards.
I feel glad to see you, brethren, sisters, and friends, and permit me to say that I feel just at home, for Zion is my home; wherever the people of God are, I feel perfectly at home, and can rejoice with them. It seems as though I want to look at you. I have been gazing around at this, that, and the other one, while brother Wallace was preaching; I have been trying to think where I had seen them, and the various scenes we have pressed through together, in different places—in journeying, in perils, in mobbing, in difficulties and dangers of various kinds. But out of all we have been delivered, the hand of God has been manifested towards us in a remarkable manner. And then I see people here from different nations, with whom I have associated—from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and from other nations of the earth; from the Eastern, Western, Northern, and Southern States; from Canada, and from almost all parts of the world. I think of the various changes, annoyances, and tribulations that we have passed through, the deliverances we have ob
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tained, and the hand of God which has been manifested to us in all these things; and I rejoice, and praise God my Savior. I feel perfectly at home, in fact I feel at home wherever I meet with the Saints of God—in this country, or in other countries, but this is the grand home, this is the home for the gathering of the Saints of the Most High God, the place where the oracles of God dwell, and where the Spirit of God is preeminently poured out, where we have come to learn, of the great Jehovah, the sacred things pertaining to, and associated with His kingdom.
I am not going to preach. I wish to tell my feelings, and look at you, and think about what we have done, and what we are going to do, for it is not all done yet—we have only commenced the great work of the Lord, and are laying the foundation of that kingdom which is destined to stand forever; what we shall do, is yet in the future; we have commenced at the little end of the horn, and by and by we will come out at the big end.
I was talking about troubles, but I don't know that we need talk or care about them. We have had some little amusements and frolics among the Gentiles, some few difficulties, but we have struggled through them all, and we are all here safe and sound. True, some of our friends have dropped by the way, they have fallen asleep, but what of that? And who cares? It is as well to live as to die, or to die as to live, to sleep as to be awake, or to be awake as to sleep—it is all one, they have only gone a little before us. For example, we have left other parts and come here, and we think we have got to Zion; they have gone to the world of spirits, and they think they have got to heaven; it is all right. We have left some of our friends behind in various places; when they arrive here, they will shake hands with us, and be glad they have got to Zion; and when we go to where our departed friends are gone, we shall strike hands with them, and be glad we have got to heaven; so it is all one. Although our friends were sorry when we left them, yet they rejoiced as well as we, that we were going to Zion; and so we shall rejoice with those who have died in the Lord, for they rest from their labors.
We have the principles of eternal life in us, we have begun to live, and we shall continue to live, as the Methodists very properly express it, “while life, and thought, and being last, or immortality endures;” and this is the beginning of it, consequently other little circumstances in this world, or even life or death; have very little to do with it. Some people have said to me, sometimes, Are you not afraid to cross over the seas, and deserts, where there are wolves and bears, and other ferocious animals, as well as the savage Indians? Are you not afraid that you will drop by the way, and leave your body on the desert track, or beneath the ocean's wave? No. Who cares anything about it? What of it, if we should happen to drop by the way? We expect the Lord and His angels can do as much as brother Benson has done in gathering up the people—he has brought a great host from Pottawatomie—and the Lord can surely as easily “send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four quarters of the earth,” and, as old Daniel says, we shall all come up and stand in our “lot in the end of the days.” These things don't trouble me, but I have felt to rejoice all the day long, that God has revealed the principle of eternal life, that I am put in possession of that truth, and that I am counted worthy to engage in the work of the Lord, and be a messenger to the nations of the earth. I rejoice in proclaiming this glorious Gospel, because it takes root in the hearts of the children of men, and they rejoice with me to be connected with, and participate in, the blessings of the kingdom of God. I rejoice in afflictions, for they are necessary to humble and prove us, that we may comprehend ourselves, become acquainted with our weakness and infirmities; and I rejoice when I triumph over them, because God answers my prayers, therefore I feel to rejoice all the day long.
I feel as though I am among the honorable of the earth when I am here; and when I get mixed up with the people abroad, and mingle with the great people in the world, I feel otherwise. I have seen and deplored the weakness of men—their folly, selfishness, and corruption. I do not know how they feel, but I have witnessed a great deal of ignorance and folly, I think there is a great deal of great littleness about them. There is very little power among them, their institutions are shattered, cracked, and laid open to the foundation. It is no matter what principle you refer to—if to their religion, it is a pack of nonsense; if to their philosophy and politics, they are a mass of dark confusion; their governments, churches, philosophy, and religion, are all darkness, misery, corruption, and folly. I see nothing but Babylon wherever I go—but darkness and confusion, with not a ray of light to cheer the sinking spirits of the nations of the earth, nor any hope that they will be delivered in this world, or in the world to come.
I have been with my brethren here who went with me some years ago to foreign nations—brother Erastus Snow, who is here; brother Lorenzo Snow, who has not got back yet; brother F. D. Richards, who has been over in England; and brother Pratt. There has been a great work done in all of these places, but I will leave these brethren to relate their own affairs themselves. I rejoice to associate with them, I rejoice to hear of their prosperity, and to see the wisdom, intelligence, and prudence that have been manifested in all their deportment and transactions. I could not have bettered it, and I do not know that anybody else could. Everything has been going on well, and prospering, the hand of God has been with us, and His angels have been on our path, and we are led to rejoice exceedingly before Him as the God of our salvation.
It gave me great joy, on my way home, to find the Saints leaving Kanesville. It seemed as though they were swept out with a besom almost. When I was there, I rode out in my carriage one day to a place called Council Point. I thought I would go and visit some of the folks there, but, when I got there, behold, there were no folks to see. I hunted round, and finally found a place with something like “grocery” written upon it. I alighted, and went into the house, and asked a person who presented himself at the door, if he was a stranger there. Yes, says he, I have only just come. And the people have all left, have they? Yes, was the answer. I next saw a few goods standing at the side of a house, but the house was empty, these were waiting to be taken away. I went into another house, and there were two or three waiting for a boat to take them down the river, and these were all the inhabitants I saw there!
When I first reflected upon this removal, my heart felt pained. I well knew the disposition of many of the men on those frontier countries, and I thought that some miserable wretches might come upon them after the main body of the Saints had removed, and abuse, rob, and plunder the widow, the orphan, the lame, halt, blind, and destitute, who might be left, as they did in Nauvoo; and thus the old, decrepit, and infirm would be abused, insulted, and preyed upon by wretches in human shape, who never have courage to meet men, but are cruel and relentless with the old, infirm, the widow, orphan, and destitute. But, thank God, they are coming, nearly all, old and young, rich and poor.
When I see my brethren and sisters here, I cannot help but to rejoice with them, and especially with those who have been engaged in these various labors.
The reports that have reached me from time to time, of your prosperity—accounts of the great work of the Lord that was going on here, have caused me much joy. I have heard of your progress in the city, and out of it; of your various settlements and explorations; and of the many organizations made by the Presidency. This has been joyful to me while abroad in foreign nations.
Some people think that preaching is the greatest part of the business in building up the kingdom of God. This is a mistake. You may pick out our most inferior Elders, in point of talent and ability, and send them to England to preach and preside, and they think they are great men there. Their religion teaches them so much more than the Gentiles know, that they are received as the great men of the earth. Anybody can preach, he is a poor simpleton that cannot, it is the easiest thing in the world. But, as President Young says, it takes a man to practice. A great many preach first-rate when they get abroad; you there meet with most eloquent men, they will almost make the stones un
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der your feet tremble, and the walls of the building to quake; but the moment they get into a little difficulty, they immediately dwindle down into nothing, and they have not got as much force as would draw a mosquito off its nest.
But the things that are going on here, require talent, force, energy, a knowledge of human nature and of the laws of God. The sacrifices that are being made, in leaving home, and traveling from place to place, combating and overcoming the many difficulties that we have had to cope with, and standing in a distinguished position in the eyes of the nations of the earth, are no small affair. They gaze with astonishment at the stand that this people take at the present time in their territorial capacity; to that all the nations and courts of Europe are looking. Talk about preaching; this is a matter of another importance entirely. I do not care how eloquent men are—these are all good in their place—but it is the organization in this place; the wise policy of the Governor who presides here, in the extension of this infant state, by building up new colonies, &c.; making such extensive improvements that preach louder among the courts of Europe, at the present time.
It is one of the most remarkable things that has ever taken place in any age; and kings, and philosophers are obliged to acknowledge it. I remember noticing an article in the LondonTimes, not long ago (and it is one of the leading papers of the day). In speaking about the “Mormons,” giving an account of some affairs associated with the Church, and with the establishment of a Territorial Government here, the editor remarks nearly as follows—“We have let this people alone for some time, and said nothing about them; we have been led to believe that they were a society of fanatics and fools, &c.; but let this be as it may, their position in the world, in a national capacity, demands at our hands, as public journalists, to report their progress, improvements, and position.” I sent the Epistle of the First Presidency to theJournal Des Debats, which is one of the principal papers in Paris. They published the Epistle, and the chief editor made some excellent remarks upon it, and signed his name to them. It was taken from the paper, and translated and published in Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, and Germany, and thus, in their various languages, it was spread before the nations of Europe. Our place and people are becoming well known abroad. While in the city of Paris, I had to do with some of the leading government men. In seeking to obtain authority to preach, all I had to do, generally, was to send my card—John Taylor,du(from)Deseret.
We are becoming notorious in the eyes of the nations; and the time is not far distant when the kings of the earth will be glad to come to our Elders to ask counsel to help them out of their difficulties; for their troubles are coming upon them like a flood, and they do not know how to extricate themselves.
I will here give a short history of some of my proceedings. I was appointed to go to France some years ago, in company with some of the Twelve, who were appointed to go to other places. The First Presidency asked us if we would go. Yes, was the reply; we can go anywhere, for if we cannot do little things like these, I don't know what else we can do. Some people talk about doing great things; but it is not a great thing to travel a little, or to preach a little. I hear some of our Elders saying, sometimes, that they are going to do great things—to be rulers in the kingdom of God, Kings and Priests to the Most High, and are again to exalt thousands of others to thrones, prin
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cipalities, and powers, in the eternal worlds; but we cannot get them out of their nests, to travel a few miles here. If they cannot do this, how will they ever learn to go from world to world?
We went, and were blessed in our journeying. We had a pretty hard time in crossing the plains, and I should not recommend people to go so late in the season as we did. We should have lost all our horses, but the hand of God was over us for our good; He delivered us out of all our dangers, and took us through safely. When we got to the Missouri River, the ice was running very strong, so that it was impossible to ferry; but in one night the river froze over, and we passed over as on a bridge, in perfect safety; but as soon as the last team was over, the ice again removed. Thus the Lord favored us in our extremities.
You may inquire, how did you get along preaching? The best way that we could, the same as we always do. We went to work (at least I did) to try to learn the language a little. I went into the city of Boulogne, and I obtained permission there from the mayor to preach; this I was under the necessity of doing. At that time, I had not been very particular in seeking recommends as I went along; but I had a recommend from Governor Young: he told the folks I was an honorable man, and signed his name to it as the Governor of the Territory of Utah, and Willard Richards as Secretary. I told the mayor, in relation to these matters, I had not many papers with me, but I had one that I obtained from the Governor of the state I came from. “O,” says he, “Mr. Taylor, this is very good indeed, won't you leave it with me, and if anybody finds any fault, I shall have it to refer to.”
Several Protestant priests from England commenced to annoy us, and wanted to create a disturbance in the meeting, but I would not allow it, besides I was in a strange city, and was received courteously by the mayor, and wished my meeting to be orderly. These insolent men came to create disturbance in our meetings, but seeing they could not get a chance of speaking inside the doors, they followed me in the streets, asking me questions as I walked along. Among the questions, they said something about “Joe Smith.” Says I, “Who are you talking about? I was well acquainted with Mr. Joseph Smith; he was a gentleman, and would not treat a stranger as you do me.” They still, however, dogged after me, asking me more questions. I told them, I did not wish to talk with men of their caste. They finally sent me a challenge, and we had a discussion; the result of it you may have read as published. The Methodist preacher denied his calling, and was to be removed from his place, in consequence; and the others sunk into forgetfulness—I could obtain no information of them when last there. I decreed, then, I would let the English alone, and turn to the French.
I went from there right into the city of Paris, and commenced translating the Book of Mormon, with brother Bolton to assist me. We baptized a few; some of them men of intelligence and education, and capable of assisting us in the work. Brother Pack went to Calais, and raised a small Church there. We afterwards united some English Branches, Boulogne en France, to it, called the Jersey Islands. There the people speak half English, half French; and brother Pack went to preside over them. Brother Bolton and I remained principally in Paris, and in that neighborhood; we there organized a Church. Before I came away, we held a Conference, at which four hundred members were represented, including those Branches that were added to the Branch in Calais.
We have got a translation of the Book of Mormon, as good a one as it is possible for anybody to make. I fear no contradiction to this statement from any man, learned or illiterate. I had it examined and tested by some of the best educated men in France. I have got a specimen with me. [The Book was produced, which was beautifully bound.] This is the Book of Mormon, translated into the French language, and it is got up in as good a style as any book that was ever published, whether in the Church or out of it. The translation is good, the printing is good, and the paper is good. I have made some little alterations, that is, I have marked the paragraphs, and numbered them, so as to tell where to refer to, when you wish to do so; and in some instances where the paragraphs are very long, I have divided them. The original simplicity of the book is retained, and it is as literal as the genius and idiom of the French language would admit of.
This book is stereotyped, and I have arranged it so that when copies of this work are sold, a certain amount of money is put away, that when another edition is called for, the money is there; and thus it can be continued from time to time, as necessity shall require, until 200,000 copies are printed without any additional expense. We also publish there a paper called “L'Etoile du Deseret” (The Star of Deseret). It is got up in good style, and printed in new type. It is also stereotyped, and most of it is new matter. I have given an account of the organization of the Church, and a brief history of it; of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and the evidences of it; of the doctrines of the Church, and the position of things in this country, &c., &c. These are some of the leading items of this publication. Instead of filling it with the news of the day, we have filled it with all that is good for the people to read, that it may be a standing work for years to come. It contains articles written on baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the necessity of gathering together, and all the leading points associated with the religion we believe in, that there may be evidence forthcoming at anytime and place, in the hands of the inquirer. If men should be there, not acquainted with the language, and individuals should make inquiries of them relating to the doctrines of their religion, they have nothing to do but hand them this Number or that Number of the “Star of Deseret,” containing the information they wish. This will save them a great deal of trouble in talking.
We found many difficulties to combat, for it is not an easy thing to go into France and learn to talk French well; but at the same time, if a man sets to work in good earnest, he can do it. I have scratched the word “can't” out of my vocabulary long since, and I have not got it in my French one.
The Spirit of the Lord was with us, and with the people, and He prospered us in our undertakings, and we were enabled to accomplish the thing we set about. We had difficulties to cope with in regard to the government. If it had not been for the position of things there in relation to the late revolution, that was then brewing, I believe we should have obtained the privilege from the government to preach throughout all France, and also protection for the Elders.
I petitioned the Cabinet for that privilege. While talking to some of them, they told me there would be no difficulty in obtaining permission. But we were unable to obtain the liberty we wished. And I believe it originated from the position of things just before the revolution broke out; it was through that, or through difficulties in Denmark, wherein a mob was raised against the Saints. They were then banishing strangers out of Paris, and would not allow them a place there unless they were wealthy persons, and had money in the bank, as security for their conduct.
“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and Brotherhood,” was written almost upon every door. You had liberty to speak, but might be put in prison for doing so. You had liberty to print, but they might burn what you had printed, and put you into confinement for it. The nations of Europe know nothing about liberty, except England; and there it is much the same as here, that is, liberty to do right.
When you get into France, Germany, or any of the foreign nations, where the language is different from ours, the spirit of the people is different, and it appears to me that a different spirit is carried along with these languages, which is peculiar to them.
I might tell you about their political state, but I will preserve that for some political speech or other; we will let that go for the present. At the same time, there are thousands of as good spirited, honest hearted men as I ever met with in any part of the world; they are quiet, calm, peaceable, and desirous to know the truth, and be governed by it; and if we only had liberty to preach to them the principles of truth, thousands would flock to the standard of truth.
Infidelity prevails there to a great extent, and at the same time a great deal of a certain kind of religion, a sort of Catholicism; not the Catholicism that was, but which is. Men have got sick of it, and look upon it as moonshine and folly. You may divide the people into three classes—the most religious class are the women; from observation you would judge that they attend to the affairs of the souls of their husbands, as well as their own. The fact is, the men care little about it themselves. You will find nothing but women in the places of worship there, while on the other hand, if you go out to the public promenades, and theaters, and public amusements on Sunday, you will see men by thousands; and if you judge of their religion by their actions, you would consider that the theater and public amusements are their places of worship; at the same time, that the Church is the place to do penance, and that the women do it.
I am not surprised that infidelity should prevail in such countries. I declare, personally, if I could see nothing better than what is called Christianity there, I would be an infidel too; and I say the same also in regard to Protestantism. The Protestants talk a great deal about Catholic priests, but I believe they are much more honest in the sight of man, and will do more for their pay, than any Protestant minister you can find. You will find them up at five o'clock in the morning, saying mass, and attending to what they consider are their religious duties—visiting the sick, and going among fevers and plagues, where Protestant ministers dare not go. This is my notion of that. (A voice in the stand—The children are always lazier than their daddy.) The idea of taking Protestantism among the French people is nonsense, for one Catholic priest could prevail over fifty Protestants. The Catholic priests are more intelligent, they know the basis upon which their church is founded, and they can reason upon principles the Protestants cannot enter into. Protestants can do very well when they have got a mass of their own people around them.
When I was in Boulogne, some Protestant ministers were afraid lest I should make a division among them; they were fearful lest I should show up some of their follies, and the Catholics should laugh at them. One of these Jesuit priests came to me; he was a well educated man. In speaking on those discussions, says he, when they ask about the character of your founders, just examine into theirs, and I will furnish you all the testimony you want. I told him I was much obliged to him, but I could attend to my own business. I thought if I could not get along, and defend “Mormonism” without the help of a Jesuit priest, it was a poor case.
I was speaking, awhile ago, about the people there being divided into three classes. One of them you may call infidel, under the head of Socialism, Fourierism, and several other isms. Communism is a specimen of the same thing, and they call it religion! These are generally known under the head of what is called Rouges, or Red Republicans. There is one class that think it is necessary to sustain religions as a national policy, to subdue the minds of the people, and make them easier to govern. The third class is in the minority a long way; it is those who are actually sincere in their religion.
I will give you a specimen of Protestantism as I witnessed it in a grand anniversary Bible Society meeting in Paris. There were some of the most notable men in Paris going to preach there and that attracted the attention of the public. The meeting was held in one of the principal Protestant churches. The late Prime Minister of Louis Philippe, Monsieur Guizot, presided, and many other eminent men were present. M. Guizot is a man of great ability, and quite an orator, so that all parties respected him on account of his talent. As he was going to be there, and deliver a speech, it attracted quite an audience. I went to hear them, in company with a French minister that was baptized there. The place was pretty well crowded, not so full as this hall is this morning; but in that country it was considered a first rate congregation. When M. Guizot finished his discourse, about one-third of the congregation left. I thought this a curious proceeding; they don't act so in Protestant countries. Another got up to speak, and when he had made a speech, another third of what was left, left the house and went away; and when four or five of them had made speeches, there were about as many left in the house as you would see at a Catholic chapel at mass. I was really surprised at the indifference and carelessness manifested.
This was at the anniversary of a Bible Society in the city of Paris, where some of the most notable men gathered together. I speak of this to represent to you the position of things there, and the spirit of the people in relation to these matters. In a theater, or in any public spectacle, all would have stayed till the last.
It is among this people we have got to introduce the Gospel. When they come to see it, they rejoice in it, but we do not preach religion much to them, for a great many of them are philosophers, and, of course, we must be philosophers too, and make it appear that our philosophy is better than theirs, and then show them that religion is at the bottom of it. It would be nonsense to talk about justification by faith: they would say it was moonshine, or something else. You have got to talk common sense, you have got to affect their bodies as well as their souls, for they believe they are possessed of both. When they once get interested in the work of God, and get the Spirit of God, they rejoice exceedingly in the blessings of the Gospel. I have seen Saints in that country who rejoiced and thanked God, for the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant, as much as ever I saw Saints in any country.
I had thought, after having completed the translation of the Book of Mormon into the French language, in which I was assisted by brother Bolton, of returning home last year, but I met with the Epistle of the First Presidency, from which I could learn their desire that we should stay another year. I, therefore, thought I would alter my course immediately, and follow the directions of the Spirit of God—for I wished all the time, as Paul says, to be obedient to the heavenly calling; I wished at all times to pursue the course the Spirit of the Lord should dictate. I knew it would dictate them right, though I did not see at that time that it would be of much benefit for me to stay long there, as it was no place for preaching in. The government, after studying about these things some time, denied us the privilege of preaching; and all the place we had to meet in was a private room; and, according to a law of the government, if more than twenty persons were known to meet together they were in danger of being put in prison. The officers were continually on the alert, and when we would meet, lest there should be more than twenty people, they would be counting how many there were in the room, and thus the Saints were continually under the spirit of fear of the authorities. It is under these circumstances we have had to labor.
As it stated in the Epistle, that it was better for the brethren to extend their labors to other nations, it immediately occurred to my mind to go to Germany, so I made a plan before I got up in the morning, for thought flows quickly, you know. The plan was—to publish the Book of Mormon there. I wrote to brother Hyde to send me out some brother that was acquainted with the German language, and my letter got there about the time he left for the Valley, and he did not get it. I said to bro
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ther Bolton, and brother De La Mere, who was from the island of Jersey, that there was one man in the Valley I wished was here, and that was brother Carn. There was one brother in France, who was a German, and was well acquainted with the languages, both German and French. I engaged him to go with me to Germany, that is, to translate. However, I went over to England, and thought we would hunt in England to find some person qualified to go and preach in Germany. I found many Germans, but none with sufficient experience in the Church. Finally, I thought I would start by myself. When I got to London, I met with brother Dykes; he had said something about going to Germany, but he concluded he had better be with brother Snow, as he was acquainted with the Danish language; he had got his discharge from that engagement, and was on his way home when I met him. This placed things in another position. He said he would like to go if his family could be provided for, but I could not say anything particular about his family.
I finally had him go for a month or two, for I did not wish to put a thing upon him I would not do myself. He felt a desire to go, and said he would do as I said, so I told him to go for two months. I made an appointment to meet him in Germany, as I had to go through France.
When we arrived there, we started the translation of the Book of Mormon, and it was half completed before I came away. We also started to publish a paper in Germany, calledZions Panier(Zion's Banner). I wished to be perfectly satisfied that the translation was right; brother Richards and I heard some of it read in Boulogne, and we thought it was very good, but still it had to be altered. I, therefore, got some of the best professors in the city of Ham
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burg to look over it: some few alterations were necessary, but not many. Also, with regard to the paper, one of the professors said he would not have known it was written in English and translated; he should, if not told to the contrary, have supposed it written originally in German.
I have often heard men in this country splutter a great deal about the meaning of odd words in the Bible, but this only exhibits their folly: it is the spirit and intention of the language that are to be looked at, and if the translator does not know this it is impossible for him to translate correctly, and this is the reason why there are so many blunders in the Bible. I believe the English Bible is translated as well as any book could be by uninspired men. The German translation of the Bible, I believe, is tolerably correct, but some of the French editions are miserable.
A Protestant minister in Germany refused to discuss the doctrine of Baptism, because their Bible is so plain upon that subject that the doctrine of sprinkling could not be maintained. Among the German people, we find a great deal of infidelity, but at the same time we find very much sterling integrity, and there will be thousands and tens of thousands of people in that country who will embrace the faith, and rejoice in the blessings of the Gospel. We have sent our French papers to Switzerland, Denmark, and to Lower Canada, and some of our German papers to France, andvice versa.
The languages in these countries are mixed up: it is a profession more general than it is in this country; they think a man is very ignorant if he professes to be a teacher and does not know two or three languages, but with all their knowledge of languages, there is a great amount of ignorance. There are men there acquainted with two or three languages, and that is all they do know; if you except that, there is not an ounce of common sense remains. What if you can read French, or German, or Hebrew, or anything else—what good would it do you unless you read to understand the works written in those languages? Simply none at all. A man is a fool if he boast about anything of that kind.
The Book of Mormon by this time is printed and stereotyped in the German language. I left brother Carn there, to attend to this business: everything was going on smoothly, so I thought I could leave it as well as not. When I got to Liverpool, and was about coming away, the very man I wanted to come from the Valley arrived there. I was glad to meet him in Liverpool.
I shall want to get some folks to go to France, and to Germany. I would not ask anybody to do that which I would not do myself.
There are books, thousands of them, if you cannot talk to the people, you can give them the books to read. But you can learn the language, or you are poor concerns. Any sane person can.
I do not know that it is necessary for me to say anything more. O yes, I organized a society to make sugar, and a woolen manufactory. The sugar factory will be here soon. If you will only provide us with beets and wood, we will make you sugar enough to preserve yourselves in. We can have as good sugar in this country as anywhere else; we have as good machinery as is in the world. I have seen the best specimens of it in the World's Fair, but there was none better than this; there is not any better on the earth, nor better men to make sugar than those who are coming. I found this affair as difficult to arrange as anything I have had to do. We could not bring the other machinery on this year, for we had as much on hand with the sugar machinery as we could get along with, so we had to leave it, that is, the woolen and worsted machinery, to another year. I can say also of this, that it is as good machinery as there is in the world. It is the same kind of machinery that is made use of in the west of England to make the best kind of broad cloth; also a worsted manufactory to manufacture cloth for ladies' wear, such as merinoes, and alpaccas, and other sorts of paccas. I don't know the names of them all; and various kinds of shawls, blankets, carpets, &c., &c., if we can only command the wool.
After having gone through these things, I will say again, I am glad that I have got back to this place. Some people have asked me if I was not pretty near being taken up and put in prison by the authorities of France. I might have been, but I did not know it.
A gentleman in Paris would make me promise to call on him when I came back to Paris, and make his house my home. I agreed to return, and stay a few days in that city, and hold a Conference there. This was a few days after the revolution. I saw the place where the houses had been battered down, and the people killed by wholesale; where they were shot down promiscuously, both big and little, old and young, men, women, and children. I was there soon after this occurrence; and at the very time the people were voting in their President, we were holding a Conference on the same day, for I thought they would have something else to do than to attend to us. Some of the Elders, however, were afraid to come to Paris, lest there should be difficulty.
There were about 400 represented at this Conference; Elders, Priests, and Teachers were ordained; and a Conference was regularly organized. The Spirit of the Lord was with us, and many were ordained to the Priesthood with a Presidency over the nation.
After I had left Paris, on my arrival in England, I found a letter from brother Bolton, who is president in France; he informed me that thehaut(high) police had been inquiring for me at my lodgings, but that the gentleman of the house had kept him talking for two hours, defending my character, &c. They came to the house ten minutes after I had left in a cab for the railroad, but I had then finished my work, and when they would have put their fingers on me, I was not there. But at the very time they were voting for their president, we were voting for our president, and building up the Kingdom of God; and I prophesied then, and prophesy now, that our cause will stand when their's is crushed to pieces; and the kingdom of God will roll on and spread from nation to nation, and from kingdom to kingdom. And from these nations we have been preaching the Gospel of Christ to, you will see thousands and tens of thousands yet flocking to Zion, and singing Hallelujahs to the God of Israel.
Did we not talk about England in the same way when the Gospel was first introduced into that country? Brother Kimball prophesied the same things of that country, and they have all come to pass, and this will come to pass by and by, for there is “a good time coming, Saints, wait a little longer;” and we will rise up like the servants of the living God, and accomplish the work He has given us to do; and when we have done our work here, we will then join our friends in the eternal worlds, and engage in acts more vast, more mighty, and that will require more energy than the works we are now engaged in.
I rejoice that I am happy to meet with you and my family: you are my friends, and you are the friends of God, and we are building up the kingdom of God, and by and by the kings and princes of the earth will come, and gaze upon the glory of Zion.
I used to think there was a good deal of intelligence among the world, but I have sought for it so long I have given up all hopes of ever finding it there. Some philosophers came to visit me in France, and while conversing, I had to laugh a little at them for the word philosophy is about every tenth word they speak. One of them, a Jesuit priest, who had come in the Church, a well educated man, was a little annoyed in his feelings at some of my remarks, on their philosophy. I asked them if any of them had ever asked me one question that I could not answer. They answered in the negative. But, said I, I can ask you fifty that you cannot answer.
Speaking of philosophy, I must tell another little story, for I was almost buried up in it while I was in Paris. I was walking about one day in theJardin des Plantes—a splendid garden. There they had a sort of exceedingly light cake; it was so thin and light that you could blow it away, and you could eat all day of it, and never be satisfied. Somebody asked me what the name of that was. I said, I don't know the proper name, but in the absence of one, I can give it a name—I will call it philosophy, or fried froth, which you like. It is so light you can blow it away, eat it all day, and at night be as far from being satisfied as when you began.
There are a great many false principles in the world, and as I said before, whether you examine their religion, their philosophy, their politics, or their national policy, you will find it a mess of complete baby work, there is nothing substantial about it, nothing to take hold of. There is no place that I have found under the whole heavens where there is true intelligence, but in the land of Zion.
I will risk our Elders among the world, if they will only brush up their ideas a little. I will take any of you rough looking fellows, put you in a tailor's shop a little, and start you out like gentlemen, as large as life. I tell you there is a great difference between our people and others. Many others have a nice little finish on them; they may be compared to scrimped up dandies; but everything is on the outside, and nothing in the inside.
Our folks who are operating round here in the canyons, and on the land, are listening to the servants of God, and studying principles of eternal truth; they are like young rough colts, with plenty of bone, sinew, and nerve in them; all they want is rubbing down a little, and they will come out first rate. I believe in the polish, and a little of everything else, you know I am a Frenchman now.
I have found that all intelligence is good, and there is a good deal in the world, mixed up with all their follies. It is good for the Elders to become acquainted with the languages, for they may have to go abroad, and should be able to talk to the people, and not look like fools. I care not how much intelligence you have got, if you cannot exhibit it you look like an ignoramus. Suppose a Frenchman should come upon this stand to deliver a lecture upon Botany, Astronomy, or any other science, and could not speak a word of English, how much wiser would you be? You may say, I thought the Lord would give us the gift of tongues. He won't if we are too indolent to study them. I never ask the Lord to do a thing I could do for myself. We should be acquainted with all things, should obtain intelligence both by faith and by study. We are instructed to gather it out of the best books, and become acquainted with governments, nations, and laws. The Elders of this Church have need to study these things, that when they go to the nations, they may not wish to return home before they have accomplished a good work.
When I was in Hamburg, there were 30,000 soldiers quartered in the city, and that is called a free city. If you ask any of the inhabitants what they are doing there, they will answer—Ich weise nicht (I don't know), but we have to keep them. They are there because the Emperor of Austria placed them there, and he had power to have them there.
In Paris, you would suppose you were in an armed city for you could not step anywhere without meeting soldiers at every step.
When I was in Hamburg, I had to go and get a permit to authorize me to stay one month, and when that was done, I had to get another to authorize me to stay another month. The only thing we can do in that country at present is to baptize some of the citizens, and set them to preaching, as they have more rights and privileges than a stranger. No man has a right to receive his own son into his own house, if not a citizen, without a card; or a permit from the Government; and that is a free city, so called. We cannot know anything about the blessings and privileges we have as Americans, without becoming acquainted with the condition of other nations, this is one of the greatest countries in the world, but they (the Americans) do not appreciate their privileges.
I am glad to see things moving on so well here; I observe great improvements and changes: you have done a great work, and God will bless you for it. I am glad to see and hear that you are more diligent in paying tithing, and attending to your duties than before I left. It is not hard to do the will of God, and if some of you would go out into the world for two or three years, you would not find it hard to repay tithing when you came back again. I am glad to hear of these things—of the building up of the kingdom of God; and union is strength, and to fulfill the will of God brings down blessings upon our heads. I now expect to rest a little, and visit a little, and we will talk and preach, and do all the good we can in this world, and then go into the next to do more good.
I feel obliged to the brethren here for putting me up a house; and brother Brigham, I am much obliged to you for it; God bless you for it. And I pray that the blessings of God may rest down upon all the Saints, worlds without end. Amen.