42 Islington, Liverpool, July 14, 1870.
[Deseret News, 10 Aug. 1870]
Dear Bro. Geo. Q. Cannon:—It has been my intention to write a short synopsis of our travels since leaving our beloved home, which took place on the 13th of May. We (myself and my son Seymour B.) made a short stay at Philadelphia, visiting two or three families of our acquaintance, I trust with some good results. Thence we proceeded to New York and visited Long Island, where we held two meetings, after which we returned to New York city. On the 25th of May we embarked for Liverpool, on the steamer “Idaho,” Capt. Price, where we landed June 5. Here we tarried six days. Thence we proceeded to Manchester, where we held three meetings. That conference is small, compared with what it once was, and the Saints are very scattering. Thence we proceeded to Birmingham, where we remained one week, held six meetings, and visited the Saints in their different localities, filling up the interstices of time to the best possible advantage. After finishing our labors there, we proceeded to the renowned metropolis of the world, London, where we tarried another week, visiting and holding meetings every evening while there. We resorted to Westminster Abbey, where we witnessed pomp, arrogance, and cruelty in statuary and paintings, and saw and walked over the tombs of kings who murdered their wives, and queens who burnt heretics. In that place, London, is presented the wonderful contrast of human condition—royalty and grandeur on the one hand and poverty and misery in the most hideous forms on the other.
In the mean time we have visited the Saints in their different places of residence, eaten at their tables, and shared their scanty lodgings. Their hospitality has been extended to us with the greatest possible apparent cheerfulness, and all have regretted that they have not had something better for their much esteemed visitors and friends from Zion. It would be difficult to properly represent, in every particular, the condition of the Saints in Old England. So far as we have traveled, we have found them uniformly poor, almost without exception, but they are also meek, for the most part. But for hurting their Saintly feelings, we should have found it sacrilege to eat or lodge with them, yet their faith and ours also was that God would bless them in an extraordinary manner with at least as much in return as they bestowed upon us. While at home we had often heard of the hard fare of the Saints in the old world, but this song was sung like the casting up of dollars and cents, and when we had canvassed it over in our reflections it passed like a dream out of our memory; but after having traveled among the Saints and witnessed their hard fare and hard work, and the consequent privations which they pass through, it will be to me hereafter something more than a dream.
So far as I can recollect, we have not seen a family of Saints who are owners of land, or who live under their own roof. Being poor, they consequently rent the poorest houses that are possibly habitable, in order to curtail their expenses. They are generally located in the back streets of the cities, where they have no yards or vacant ground in the rear or in front of their residences. They are strangers to their nearest neighbors, and their neighbors are strangers to them having no associations in the farming districts, as we have in our beloved mountain home; consequently they have no friends to visit in the remote country, nor have they in the towns in which they live. The result is, many of the Saints in the Old World have no associations with any but one another, and opportunities for such association only occur once a week, at their public meetings, when they must sing and pray and preach and do up all their visiting in the little space of time which is allocated them during one portion of the Sabbath, for on the Sunday morning their preparations for meeting are attended with the same drawbacks as with other people. Frequently they have a great distance to walk to meeting. Many of the young sisters are in service. Such, frequently have to leave the meetings ere they close, and it is not uncommon for a brother and his family to have to leave in order to be ready to fulfil their engagements for the ensuing week. A certain portion of the Saints drop into the brethren’s houses on a Sunday evening, after meeting, for a short visit, and sometimes before meeting. In our traveling among them, this is no part no doubt has been in consequence of the presence of strange visitors from Utah, whom they had the curiosity and desire to see and to hear talk. Their desires, as a general thing, to be gathered to Utah, are intense, so much so that when we have made any general remark in relation to their removing to Zion, whether on our visits or in public congregations, it has excited their attention more than any other subject that we could possibly introduce. It is no wonder that this people desire to break, or have broken for them, the chains of bondage which hitherto have bound them down in slavery. In the old world even the poor, without the knowledge of the gospel, as we all know, have signed for American freedom, but when we come to preach to them the liberties of the gospel and the sweetness of that association which mingles their hearts together, how painful is the thought to them that they are and still must be separated from those they love and to mingle in whose society they desire above all things!
Still the Saints do not complain, to my knowledge. Their scanty earnings in this country are insufficient, as a general thing, to feed them, leaving out of the question their fuel, their clothing and their house rent. How, I have asked, can they live? It has occurred to me that the Lord has done and does magnify and increase their stock of provisions, as He gave the prophet power to increase the stock of meal and the oil of the poor widow in ancient Israel. I was so impressed that this was a reality that I made a public announcement before the congregation to that effect. I asked one brother to state to me his finances, his income, his wages. He had four persons to sustain. He informed me that his wages on the average amounted to twelve shillings per week. Out of this he paid six shillings and sixpence for rent, leaving five and sixpence to purchase coal, light bread, meat, butter, sugar and other things. His wife informed me that she went, a week previously, to the market and purchased with the above sum provisions, which lasted them five days. Four persons for five days would be equal to one person for twenty days, and if we reckon after the English fashion of living, it would be eighty meals of victuals, purchased for five and sixpence. Whether it is admitted that this was sufficient or not, it is what they subsisted on, and out of it she had treated some of her friends, ourselves among the rest. It may be said that this was an extraordinary instance. There are more families among the Saints in England, so far as my knowledge extends, that are worse off than those that are better off than this. There are many in the different conferences that we have visited, so far, who are so poor that our brethren who preside in different places have informed us that the brethren and sisters would have been very glad to see us, but they could not afford to set anything before us and have anything for themselves, consequently their feelings were less hurt to ignore us than they would have been to receive a visit from us under such circumstances. It is common to set something before our friends when they visit us, as they are sometimes fatigued and hungry; but such hospitality is impracticable among the Saints who are so poor. This made our hearts ache.
In our visitings in the conferences we have been received by the various presidents with great kindness. They have taken every pains to answer all our questions and walk or ride with us, as the case might be, to our appointments, or to visit the Saints or the places of public resort, and I am happy to say that these presidents, all that we have seen, and the elders who are laboring with them, are straightforward, upright and virtuous men, and, as a general thing, as the saying is, anyone might tie to them with safety. We have not seen all the elders and presidents yet, and probably shall not, but we shall take another tour, visiting three or four conferences, before we leave for home.
Of the missionaries who are laboring in this field, the following we have visited, more or less: Elders Wm. W. Taylor (Manchester), Lot Smith (Birmingham), Lewis Shurtliff and Geo. Romney, his successor (London), George H. Peterson and George Groo (Nottingham), Frank H. Hyde and Geo. G Bywater, his successor (Sheffield), Andrew Shumway (Liverpool). These, with Elders Levi Garrett, George H. Knowlden, C. Shumway, jr., W. H. Pidcock, Thos. Richardson, S. M. Price, Nephi Pratt, Thos. Rodgers, M. B. Shipp, A. Dewey, S. Taylor, R. F. Neslen, John Tuddenham, W. Farr, J. M. Ferrin, Ho. O. Spencer, J. S. Richards, H. B. Clemons, Karl G. Meser, Lewis M. Grant, Bishop David Brinton, and any others whom I have seen and may not remember, I can with confidence affirm, so far as my knowledge extends, have honored their ministry and mission in their respective places and callings, according to the ability which the Lord has given them.
In giving this brief notice of my brethren, the elders generally, I must not omit the man who stands as fair upon the records of the British mission as any other that has ever visited these islands—I mean Albert Carrington. His career in this mission was commenced, carried on and consummated without a drawback or blemish, so far as my knowledge extends of any reports or suggestions of any of the Saints during any of our brief travels through the conferences. Brother Carrington’s course in the British Isles has been pure without exception, so far as I have heard reported, and he stands to-day as high in the affections of the people as any other man that has ever presided in this country. He returned to Utah, his beloved home in the mountains, with the prayers and blessings of the humble Saints in Europe. His prudence, his straightforward course ,his pure examples and fatherly counsel to all the saints in this mission, have won for him the highest eulogies that can be conferred upon him in the estimation of his brethren; and I believe that his successor, Brother Horace S. Eldredge, will take a course that will be equally commendable and satisfactory to the Saints over whom he is called to preside.
The Lord being my helper, and guiding me safely home, I intend that my humble efforts in behalf of the gathering of the European Saints shall be renewed, with all the energy and influence that God may bestow upon me, and I shall feel thankful to find any degree of success in this direction as the result of my humble efforts.
I am yous truly in the bonds of undissembled friendship, gospel peace and good will,
Jos. Young, Sen.