"Arrival of the Hand-Carts at Great Salt Lake City," The Mormon, 21 February 1857, 2.
WE are glad to learn from a letter from Salt Lake, that the last hand-cart trains have arrived in the valley. The following is the extract referred to, bearing date Dec. 6:
"The last of our hand-cart emigration arrived on last Sunday, the 30th ult. The so-called independent company, with ox trains, have not arrived; but are supposed to be at Bridger's Fort; sufficient assistance has gone to their relief to bring them all safely into the city. The weather has been steadily cold since the first of November, and considerable snow south and in the mountains, but not much in the valley, or on the line of travel as far east as the pass, except on the mountains, where it has been somewhat difficult to keep the roads open."
We are informed from other sources that there has been a good deal of suffering, owing principally to their late start and the unusual severity of the weather. We are glad, however, to learn from the following extract of a letter of Gov. Young's to George Q. Cannon, editor of the Western Standard, and published in that paper of Jan. 17, that things are not so bad as many anticipated, and that, indeed, we had a right to fear from the terrible accounts of the sufferings of other emigrants, surveying and other parties, as heretofore published in THE MORMON. The Governor says:
"The past current news you will learn from our papers. The weather for some time has been and continues to be cold, but through the blessings of the Lord, all out immigrating companies have arrived, except two independent ox train companies, which are now safely quartered at Fort Bridger, and will probably arrive in eight or ten days; for some one hundred and twenty resolute men, with upwards of sixty wagons and about three hundred horses and mules, have gone out to bring them in, which they will be able to accomplish easily.
"Notwithstanding the companies now out and the two last arrived hand-cart companies were caught in the cold and storms, owing to far too late a start from Florence, yet the relief so promptly, freely, liberally, and timely sent from here was so blest in rescuing them, that but few comparatively, have suffered severely, though some had their feet and hands more or less frosted; yet the mortality has been much less than often attends well fitted animal trains travelling in good season.
"Business remains dull; money is scarce and becoming scarcer, which will prove a great blessing to the people, if they wisely improve the lesson."
When we reflect upon the position of those emigrants, their exposed condition, and the extreme severity of the weather, we have cause of gratitude to our heavenly Father for His protecting care over them and their safe arrival at the place of their destination. We would not here, however, forget to remark, that so far from the statements being true that some of our New York cotemporaries published about those who had gone to meet them turning back, there never was a time when more extensive aid was given to the emigrants, nor more energetic means made use of for their assistance. Hundreds of men and teams were brought into requisition, and every assistance rendered with men, teams, and provisions that human energy, prompted by the most philanthropic feelings, could impart. To this, then, may be attributed, in a great measure, the comparatively small amount of suffering among so many people, so much exposed in so inclement a season. We stated at the time that we did not believe those statements; we thought we knew the Saints in Utah better; we are glad that we have not been disappointed. From the reports on thing is very evident; that, if according to President Young's instructions the hand-carts had started earlier, there would have been comparatively no suffering.
The companies that started early got through safe, with probably as little or less loss than any ox trains, having the same number of persons. It is not, then, as some have remarked, that the hand-carts are inefficient; but the trouble has been among those who started late. We were not apprised, until some time after, that companies had started so very late in the fall, and we must confess, when we heard of it, that we trembled for the result. We believe that the brethren engaged in the direction of the emigration used every exertion, and we anxious to take all through that they possibly could; but we then believed, as well as now, that much suffering o the emigrants would have been spared, and also a great deal of unnecessary trouble and expense to our friends in the valley, if the last companies had staid in Florence, or somewhere on the frontier. However, we have no reflections to make, nor are we disposed to be censorious. Men differ in their judgment in many things, and
Does well; acts nobly; angels can do no more."
For the information of those not acquainted with such matters, we condense the following, as a sample of suffering and deaths from freezing, from the Chicago Weekly Tribune:
"In Iowa and Minnesota; five men near Bradford; eleven frozen to death in Minnesota; a man frozen below Osage; two teamsters in the same vicinity; a daughter of Mr. Cary, near Lynn Grove; a young man, near Blue Grass, in Minnesota county; an old man, near Onion Grove; in same place, a whole family, consisting of man, wife, and three children; two men. Norwegians, near Fort Atchison; a boy, on his way to Howard Centre; Williams Rice, same place.
"The Dubuque Republican thinks that not less than fifty lives, in the last twenty days, have been lost in that way in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota-and to these may be added many more in other parts of the State, but of not so frequent occurrence."
The Nebraska correspondent of the Cleveland Pathfinder says:
"The weather thus far has been one of unprecedented severity in Nebraska. For several days at a time the thermometer has stood at 12 or 15 degrees below zero. The third and fifteenth of this month it stood respectively at 32 and 26 degrees below. Much suffering has ensued from the excessive cold and storms. Nearly every week we receive the intelligence that some person or persons have frozen to death. An Omaha Indian named Yellow Smoke, and his whole family, consisting of six persons, froze to death one day last week, while encamped near the Elk Horn River, about thirty miles from the city. The snow is now about three feet deep, on the average, Fifty miles north of here, it is said to be over five feet deep. Snow storms occur once a week, and are generally accompanies by a high wind, which renders travelling extremely unsafe."
We give the above to show how excessively severe the season has been, and if so many people, in the immediate neighborhood of friends, shelter, and home, should thus have perished through the extreme cold weather, it is to us a matter of gratification to learn that so few comparatively have suffered of our emigrants, in the fierce chilling blasts and extreme cold, without protection or home, in the elevated desert passes of the Rocky Mountains; and although we feel to sympathize with those who have suffered and their friends, we feel from the bottom of our hearts to rejoice that the whole are as favorable as represented.
While speaking upon this subject, we beg leave to refer to a rumor that has reached our ears, through various sources, that some of the parties associated with the emigration have stated that we did not interest ourself in, and were to blame for the lateness of the start of this year's emigration. At first we paid no attention to this rumor, until we were again and again saluted with the same sound. Now we very much object, in general, to pay attention to the rumors of men; besides, we know that no one acquainted with our course here could make such a statement without being guilty of deliberate falsehood and wicked misrepresentation. However, lest such and idea should obtain, we feel that injustice to ourselves it is proper to make the following statement, the which, should the rumor be false, can do no harm.
In the first place, we knew it to be President Young's views that the emigration should start early and we wished to carry out those views. Again, it was our own fixed, decided opinion that the hand-cart trains should start early. Our reasons were that the project was new; that a great many feeble persons, as well as women and children, would be along, and that in case of casualty they would be much safer with an early start. Besides, we have always believed that more trouble, sickness, and expense was caused by detention in camp than by anything else. And we felt unwilling that any suffering should accrue through any remissness on our part; and so far from impeding, we lent all our energies for the accomplishment of an early start, and all our counsels and our moves tended to this object. So early in the season as February, when Elders George D. Grant and Williams H. Kimball, the first agents sent out by Bro. Richards, came to New York, this was particularly spoken of in a council where Elders Dr. Clinton, N. H. Felt, Alexander Robbins, George D. Grant, and William H. Kimball were present. I then emphatically stated that there must be no delay; that there was no necessity for any; that I believed that additional sickness and expense had occurred the year before in consequence of the emigrants laying in camp so long, and that this must be avoided. I wish you now, brethren, to be active and diligent, and when a company comes on here, and I telegraph you that they are here, all the answer to my interrogatory—"Are you ready?" is simply three letters—YES. The above-named brethren know that this is the fact. They also are well aware of my anxiety for the safety and welfare of the hand-cart emigration. To accomplish this object we assumed responsibilities very foreign to our natural feelings; for when, in a day or two after the above-named council, some instructions came to Bro. Grant, from President Richards, requesting him to go to St. Louis, he having already been appointed to go to Chicago and Iowa City to prepare hand-carts immediately, I told him that I was not satisfied about his going to St. Louis, and neglecting the hand-carts; for I was afraid of delay; but in order to meet Bro. Richards' views I was willing that he should go to St. Louis, provided he stayed no longer than one day there, and proceeded immediately to his appointment; for I was not willing that the emigration should be delayed on any consideration. I then immediately wrote to Bro. Richards as follows:
"Anxious to make the best of it I could, and not to permit any of your interests to suffer, I counseled Bro. Grant to go to St. Louis; but immediately to proceed to his appointment at Iowa City. I wished to have your instructions attended to there; but could not, of course, see the business of emigration interrupted."
The above were my uniform feelings as the brethren associated with me very will know.
When Bro. Daniel Spencer, who had charge of the P. E. Fund emigration, came here, I, and the brethren with me, rendered them all the assistance in our power, and no company was detained in the east one hour unnecessarily. Bro. Spencer being appointed by President Richards to attend to the P. E. Fund emigration, to avoid all collision or delay arising therefrom of any kind, I gave him charge of the other emigration also, and published the appointment in THE MORMON.
We published regularly, in THE MORMON, the list of passengers' names who were coming, long before they got here, and sent the papers to all the emigration agents, weekly, and gave Bro. Spencer, by letter and otherwise, all the information we had. We sent Bro. Felt three or four times to Boston, and Bro. Robbins to Burlington and St. Louis. We had Bros. Cunningham and McGraw making arrangements about the northern route early in the spring, and inquiring about provisions, cattle, &c, and Bro. Cunningham, under our directions, selected a camp ground at Iowa City. We sent Williams Kimball, with written instructions, to complete negotiations already commenced by us in Florence, in relation to ferry privileges, storage, lots, camp ground, and other things for the benefit of the emigration.
The following extract, from THE MORMON of April 26th, will exhibit our feelings and public course:
"As the season for emigration advances, a few words from me may not be inopportune; and as I do not know the exact whereabouts of all parties appointed to take an active part in it, I take this public means of conveying a few words of counsel to all concerned.
"I have been anticipating, according to the statements made, in the general epistle of the first Presidency, that some person or persons might be sent from the Valley to superintend the emigration in the West. In the absence of such persons, I have felt it a duty incumbent upon me to make all preliminary arrangements for the furtherance of the interests of the emigration; and for this purpose I made the appointments, already published in THE MORMON, a copy of which I have forwarded to President Young. I feel deeply solicitous for the welfare of the travelling Saints, and more especially am I anxious that everything shall be conducted properly, with the care and safety, and as far as may be practicable, for the comfort of those who may be going by hand-carts. It is a new project, and will require our greatest attention and vigilance. I have, according to instructions received from President Young, had the Northern route surveyed, and entered into preliminary arrangements for camp grounds at Iowa City. I am also now negotiating with parties at Florence, a new city on the western side of the Missouri river, the site of old 'Winter Quarters,' for ferry, storage, and other privileges on the Mississippi and other rivers, which, when consummated, I will make known.. Being directed to select a place for a settlement at, or, as near, Wood River as practicable, I have appointed Bishop Cunningham, a competent, good, and zealous man of God, to select a company to go there for this purpose. In this he will be assisted by Bro. William Kimball, so far as it does not interfere with other defined duties of the latter. I wish the settlement to be on the western boundary of the recent purchase in Nebraska, and such persons to go as can make land claims according to the provisions of the late act of Congress, which I will publish another week for their information. It will be necessary that they go prepared to fence in a large field, put in grain, make a fort, and be supplied with guns and ammunition sufficient to protect themselves against Indian depredations. As Bro. Cunningham however, will have the Presidency of this affair, the brethren selected will, of course be subject to his counsel. I would suggest that a sufficient number of competent men be appointed to make the station perfectly secure against depredations from without. As it regards the time of starting, the selection of the location, and other matters I will communicate with President Cunningham. I hope, however, to be along, with other brethren to assist in establishing the locations. This settlement will be a great help another year, in assisting the emigration as it will be about one hundred and twenty miles west of the Missouri river; but it can be of no avail this year.
"In relation to the hand-carts, I have forwarded to Bros. Webb and Spencer President Young's instructions to me respecting this business. I hope they will be carried out as far as practicable, suggesting that great attention be paid to their strength and that the best of seasoned timber be used. Not having been informed as to the exact umbers of the European emigration who would want hand-carts, I found it impossible to make any correct estimate as to the number that should be required. I have had a hundred made in St. Louis previous to learning the wish of others on this subject. These were made according to a schedule given by a committee of Elders who had just traversed the plains. They are a very neat article, well finished, ironed, and painted, well adapted for the purpose, and will cost about twenty dollars. Some time ago I appointed Elder George D. Grant to have another hundred made in Iowa City in a more primitive style, and without iron. These will cost about ten dollars each. Elder Grant is sanguine that they will answer the purpose. Elder Chaucey Webb is superintending the manufacture of a number more, and anticipates being able to make them for a still smaller sum. By having this variety we shall at least have a test of all.
"Elder F. D. Richards, President of the European Churches, has sent out our much esteemed Bro. Daniel Spencer as his travelling agent, to attend to the financial affairs of the P. E. Fund passengers. Knowing his abilities, and being desirous that everything should harmonize in relation to emigration, I have appointed him to superintend the whole of the migration in the West. I had previously appointed those other brethren referred to; but knowing the necessity of concentration of action, and one head to dictate, I appointed him to give direction. The brethren, therefore, will receive him in that capacity, listen to his suggestions, and carry out his plans.
"I would further recommend that a constant intercourse be kept up with Bro. Spencer by the different parties employed in this business, that he be thoroughly posted in relation to all matter, so that no delay may be occasioned; but that as the passengers arrive at the place of outfit, they may immediately proceed on their journey. He will confer with me from time to time.
"THERE IS MORE LOSS, UNPLEASANTNESS, AND SICKNESS OCCASIONED BY DETENTION THAN PERHAPS BY ANY OTHER THING.
I wish the passengers, on their arrival at the place of outfitting, to be prepared to start the next day, or, in a day or two, at furthest.
"Elder N. H. Felt started to Boston on the 18th inst., for the purpose of assisting the passengers expected on the 'Enoch Train,' and making all necessary arrangements for the continuation of their journey. They come by New York, as I am enabled to make better arrangements for the West direct by this route than that of Boston.
As I am informed by President Richards, from time to time, of the sailing of vessels, I shall immediately communicate with Bro. Spencer, so that he may be duly informed in relation to the general movements, and be enabled to make arrangements accordingly.
"Praying that God may bless you, brethren, in all your laudable exertions for the welfare of Zion; that you may be blessed with union, energy, faith, and power, to bring to a successful and happy issue your present labors, and return to the bosoms of your families in peace,
"I remain your Brother and fellow-laborer in the Gospel,
Soon after this Bro. Erastus Snow came, and we then considered our labors in the west at an end. If our presence had been necessary in the west we should have gone; but Bro. Spencer, who is himself a very active business man, had as efficient a body of men to assist him as perhaps ever were assembled together for an object of the kind; and, as we said before, they certainly were not impeded by us, for so free did they feel themselves of our control that they never even gave us a report of their proceedings, and we did not know of their late start until some time after their departure. In fact, so far from hindering, if ever there was a subject that we felt interested in being done speedy and safe, it was that of the hand-cart emigration; we felt it an important move, and lent it all the aid in our power.
In regard to our being uninterested, the following letter will exhibit what our feelings were on that subject:
"From the reports we get from the valley, of the great loss of cattle, and the very great scarcity of provisions, as well as the helplessness of many now on their way to Utah, having careful examined the subject, I am more than ever convinced of the necessity of being very careful in our moves about the emigration.
"They ought to have 60 lbs. Of breadstuff for every person to start with, instead of 55 lbs per person; and I wish to propose, that you send an extra team loaded with flour to each of the two first companies of 400 persons each. In consideration of your posi-vance one-half the cost of said extra supplies, in-tion.* I propose for these two first companies, to ad—[in]cluding cattle, wagons, and flour; i. e., if you send six yoke of cattle, two wagons with forty hundred weight of flour for these two first companies, to be forwarded to near Fort Laramie, I will bear the expense of three yoke of cattle, one wagon, and twenty hundred weight of the flour. But I will do this only upon these conditions, viz: that each person—man, woman, and child—go provided, as above, with 60 lbs. of breadstuff, independent of this supply, and that you, out of the P. E. Fund, advance the other half of the above supplies and outfit; and I would recommend that the companies be not informed of this arrangement until their arrival at Laramie. If this arrangement meets your views you can draw upon me, at St. Louis, for the half of the expense of the said teams, wagons, and flour.
"By the time of the arrival of the later companies at Laramie, there will be some return from the new crop, which, with this advanced supply, will likely relieve them of much suffering. You will please inform me, by return of mail, whether you accept of the above terms, that I may make arrangements to meet in St. Louis.
"Remember me to Bros. Grant, Kimball, Ferguson, and all our brethren in the West.
"With kind regard to yourself, I remain your brother in the Covenant,
* Bro Spencer was agent for Bro. Richards and not the principal.
We have been at this pains to set all of our friends right in relation to this matter, and we think after a review of our course all will agree with us that no person acquainted with the above facts could have made such statements as those referred to without being guilty of foul calumny and base misrepresentation.