Mormon History, Jul 20, 1849

Epistle to O. Pratt-- This Epistle directed to Orson Hyde and the Authorities of the Church in Iowa is a report of events that had transpired in the valley of the Great Salt Lake since the previous letter to Orson Hyde in April, 1849. For a discussion of the 24th of July celebration mentioned in the Epistle see: CHC 3:493-498. For a discussion of the effects of the California Gold Rush mentioned in the Epistle see: CHC 3:345-353. EPISTLE to Elder Orson Hyde, and the Authorities of the Church in Pottawatamie County, Iowa
Great Salt Lake City, July 20th, 1849. Dear brethren,-Since our last letter of April last, some matters have transpired which we consider worthy of your attention. The weather has been favourable for farming interest generally, and our crops so far bid fair to realize the common expectations; and we feel confident, that if strict economy is used, grain enough will be raised to meet the wants of the Saints here; but let it be understood by those expecting to immigrate to this valley, that they depend not upon the people here for a supply of provisions, but to bring their outfits with them. This refers to this season if any wish to start this fall, though our counsel is, not to start after this arrives.
On the 16th of June, the gold diggers began to arrive here on their way to the gold regions of California; since which time our peaceful valley has appeared like the half-way house of the pilgrims to Mecca, and still they come and go, and probably will continue to do so till fall. As many quit their wagons and pack at this point, and as many of their animals become worn down through fatigue, horses and mules are commanding high prices to complete the journey to the land of the gold dust.
From all appearance many will have to stop here late in the fall and tarry with us through the winter. Goods and groceries are already beginning to stop and are sold at fair prices.
The health of the saints is as good as we can ask, and we feel thankful to our Father in heaven for so great a blessing. The council house, our roads, bridges, bathing houses, &c., are progressing as fast as we can spare time from our agricultural labors to do them.
We are preparing to celebrate the 24th of July as the anniversary of the entrance of the pioneers into the Valley of the Great Salt Lake in a manner that shall characterize the Saints as the true sons and daughters of liberty.
We have already erected a shade or building (on spiles or posts) measuring 100 feet by 60, for that memorable day, and for the purpose of meetings hereafter.
The weather has been steady with few exceptions. The warmest day we have noted, the thermometer at 2 P. M. stood at 104 deg. in the shade.
Elder C. C. Rich to the Bay of San Francisco, and Elder Addison Pratt, with some two or three of the Seventies to the islands in the Pacific, will start across the Desert immediately after our celebration. We can truly say that the Saints live up to the old Mormon Motto and "mind their own business," by which the valley of the Great Salt Lake is bursting into a city of habitations; where, if humility and love continue to increase with industry and economy, plenty and union will crown the efforts of all that the Lord designs to bless. Law suits and mobs are far from this valley of peace, and may they ever remain so.
The brethren in Pottawatamie County, Iowa, Missouri, Nauvoo and vicinities, must remember, pause, and reflect, that we came to this valley when there was no house nor fence, and no corn nor wheat, save what we brought with us; and that our every nerve, and all our energies will be exerted to sustain ourselves, to build houses, fences, and raise grain, which, from all appearances must command as high a price as from five dollars to ten dollars per bushel for wheat, and from two dollars to six dollars for corn, and other things in proportion.
When these small matters of journeying more than a thousand miles over the sage plains, and settling, and preparing to live, and sustain ourselves with the common necessaries of life are overcome, then the poor shall feel our helping hand to assist them to remove to this valley.
In the bonds of the New and Everlasting Covenant, dear brethren, we remain, yours, truly, BRIGHAM YOUNG, HEBER C. KIMBALL, WILLARD RICHARDS. {1849-July 20-MS 11:337-338 (November 15, 1849)}

[source: Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)]

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