The Governor of Utah and the Prophet.
From Occasional Correspondent.
GREAT SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 3,1862.
A few days since Gov. Harding received a dis-patch from Gen. Craig, at Fort Laramie, requesting him, in view of the recent Indian outbreaks, to re-enlist the company of Mormon soldiers whose three months' term of service had expired a short time before; and in order that he might do this with as little delay as possible, to consult with Brigham Young upon the subject.
Accordingly, the Governor of the Territory of Utah called upon the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the office of that dignitary. Brigham and his two Councillors were present—the "Trinity," as these three persons are considered by the Saints, the better to illustrate the order of their importance in their limitless power on earth.
After the customary formalities between the powers celestial and the power terrestrial, the latter, in earthly fashion, made known the contents of the dispatch, and proceeded to speak of the Indian difficulties, of the necessity of troops to quell them, and of the propriety of raising a company of soldiers to be placed at Gen. Craig's disposal.
The ruler of this people declined any participation in the matter, giving as a reason that the "boys " were busy with their harvesting, and that he did not think they would be willing to do anything more in the military line until they should see a pile of "green backs" from Washington; and demanding to know why Col. Connor, with his command, was not ordered off on an expedition against the Indians instead of being sent here among the Mormons, where he was not at all needed.
Gov. Harding replied that the United States Gov-ernment was fully able to pay all the men who should enlist in its service, and that it would most certainly do so, although there might, in this case, be some little delay.
Upon this, Brigham coolly informed the Governor of a new and startling fact, viz: that, there would be no United States Government, that it would go to pieces, that the two armies would totally destroy each other, &c., closing the tirade with the very significant question, "Don't you think, Governor, that a Gov-ernment administered by one man, and that man ap-pointed by God, would be far better than the Gov-ment of the United States, or of any other country?"
"Most assuredly," replied the Governor, "because the Almightly could undoubtedly make a better selection than any company of men on earth. The only question would be to know what man the Lord had chosen."
"There could be no trouble in deciding that," said Brigham; "evidently it would be the man who should receive a revelation to that effect."
"But," added the unbelieving Gentile, "some-times more that one might claim to have had a reve-lation. Some of your people believe you to be the true Prophet of God, and others believe in another Prophet."
"I was not aware of that fact," interposed the astonished Revelator.
"Why, it is only a short time since some of your followers set up a new Prophet [referring to the Morrisites], thus creating schism in the Church, and occasioning the death of several men. So you see that opposing factions may arise as well among this people as elsewhere."
After a pause, during which the "President" was manifestly collecting his forces, he renewed the at-tack by saying, "Don't you think the time must come—the millennium—when such a Government, divinely ruled, will be established upon the earth ?"
"I do not suppose," replied the Governor," that we are to consider the descriptions of the millennium as literally true, but simply as figures through which the inspired writer sought to convey his meaning to a highly imaginative people. For instance, when we read that the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, that the lion shall eat straw as an ox, &c., I do not imagine that those phenomena are actually to take place."
"Why not ?" asked Brigham, in amazement.
"Because it would be a physiological impossibili ty. The lion must first be provided with a new set of teeth and a new stomach. You might chain a lion by a straw stack, and place beside him all the water he would drink, and after a certain number of days he would die; while an ox, with the same bill of fare before him, would thrive."
"Where do you get such ideas ?" inquired the Prophet, in solemn tones.
"From books—from such authors as Buffon, Hum-boldt, and other distinguished scholars, who doubt-less know more about such subjects than you, Presi-dent Young, or I, or any of us.”
"They don’t know half so much about it as I do. They don't know anything about it. It was sheer folly for them to write such books, and it would be better for the world if they were all burned."
"Well," said the Governor, good naturedly, "history has furnished us with an illustrious ex-ample of your mode of thinking, in the character of the great Saracen chieftain, who ordered the splendid Alexandrian Library, enriched by the collection of ages, to be burned to ashes, giving as a reason that all books which contradicted the Koran were false, and ought to be destroyed, while all those which agreed with the Koran it was unnecessary to pre-serve, as they were mere works of supererogation."
At this presumptuous speech from a mortal, in the Triune presence, it is reported that the saintly glow which unceasingly illumines the countenance of the Prophet-in-Chief, the Lord's anointed, was suddenly heightened to a remarkable degree—the halo of glory being changed, in a twinkling, to that more fiery halo of wrath, righteous indignation, I should say, and that the second in power and majesty, the Prophet's First Councilor, buried his face in his hands as though he would fain shut out from his eyes the miracle so sure to follow—the blasphemer struck dumb; that the third person in the Trinity, in whose title of lieutenant-general there is a smacking of this world, taking it more as a mortal would, lay back on the sofa, and surveyed the ceiling with what was intended to be an air of indifference.
The audacious sinner, evidently forgetting that his auditors were anything more than ordinary human beings, quietly drew their attention again to the business which had brought him to their sanctum.
Brigham still declining to render any assistance in the matter, and again alluding to the wreck of our Government, the heart of the Governor was stirred within him, and rising from his seat in his earnest-ness, he said:
"President Young, while I agree with you on many points, there is one subject upon which I disa-agree with you in toto cœlo; and that is your theory that this Government is going to pieces on the princi-ple of the Kilkenny-cat-fight. Mark my words. I prophesy against your prophecy. These difficulties will be settled, and there will be more cats left than ever were heard of in Kilkenny. I can converse coolly upon any subject, except when I am talking of my country, in the hour of her peril, and I suspect the man I am talking with to be disloyal. Then I become excited. I want you distinctly to understand, President Young," added the patriotic Governor, growing vehement, "that I stand by my Govern-ment—stand by it to the death."
Whereupon, taking his hat, he politely bowed him-self out of the Presence, leaving behind him such at-titudes and expressions as though a new revelation had suddenly come down from on high.
A slight difference of opinion is said to prevail in the community in regard to the interview, some of the Saints claiming that the Governor was highly impudent in his remarks to the "President;" while those who lay claim to no higher character than that of citizens of the United States, very naturally place the impudence on the other side.
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