Letter to Orson Spencer, dated May 3, 1848, at Merthyr Tydfil. (Vol 10:174)
Merthyr, May 3, 1848.
Beloved President Spencer,--I am sorry to say that my weather-beaten lungs are lagging behind and threaten to give up the race. I have had to coax them along much lately by change of air and every lawful means, but still I am determined "not to give up the ship while I have a shot left in the locker." I have but just returned since I wrote to you before. The lively, thriving, yes, flourishing condition of the branches generally, cheer my heart, and the good news which I continually receive of the rapid march of Mormonism in every part of Wales, like the spicy breezes of Ceylon, help to invigorate my lungs. Last week I was benefitted by a sea voyage to Bristol, and still more pleased to see the reformed condition of the Saints there. Brother George Halliday has put new life in that old tree, it now blossoms like the rose, and bids fair to be a resting place for the great birds of heaven. They have an elegant little chapel there, and everything in proportion; some twenty-three or more have been baptized since brother Halliday came there, which proves that the Lord blesses the labour of those who go where they are counselled. Such is the case all through Wales, so long as we toe the prescribed line and no further.
According to reports already received our increase in Wales averages over 100 per month since Christmas, notwithstanding that the slackness in the coal and iron works have retarded our progress much. Many of the sectarian stewards turn the Saints out of employment on account of their religion only, and threaten to serve all others in the same manner who embrace it. The holy and very pious persecutors pronounce their anathemas publicly on any of their goslings, if they even dare for once to hear the "Latter-day Devils." They have, in a grand council, decided and published abroad, that that is an unpardonable sin! Poor creatures! I publish a statement of facts in my Welsh Stars, with names, dates, &c., &c., that the public may be able to judge men by their works; and could you but read Welsh, you would shudder at the recital of the cruelties that the Saints have to endure in this "land of bibles," this "nursery of christianity," and by the scattered "followers of the Lamb of God. O, the day, the awful day, that will reveal the secrets of men's hearts!
My children have been very sick in my absence, and the youngest darling is but barely alive now. Dear brother, remember me and mine before our Father's throne.
I will be necessitated to remove from here again in search of fresh air in a few days, perhaps on a tour through the northern counties of Wales. I should be obliged for the earliest information, as to when the General Conference will be anticipated? Our General Conference will be held here about the middle of July, as usual. Can you pay us another visit with your good lady and baby?
The other day I saw a ship-load of Welsh families landing, having been driven by force from France; according to their tales, our prospects of performing our mission is gloomy, but I am not alarmed at it. I will act Paul-like, and be all things, or all sorts of nations, rather than be frustrated, if other things favour. That is, I will take with me my naturalization-papers, and call myself a true-hearted "Yankee." Brother Howell is as busy as a bee, and makes a mighty havoc in the sectarian churches, where he lives, having baptized 19 since Conference, and is preparing all he can to go, although his affairs just now oblige him to depend somewhat on others beyond his control, but he is hot for going.--I have lately found out that a regular line of packets sail from Cardiff to California with coal, and bring copper ore back from the coast. How would the project meet your mind, or do you see any inconsistency in moving the Welsh Saints that way, to land in the Gulf of California or San Francisco? Passage-money might be had much cheaper, I presume, if no offsets otherwise. Quite a number of Welsh Saints are getting ready to sail in the spring, but none more so than your obedient servant. You see, sir, I have of course taken you at your word, and will have "my colours flying" over the Welsh fleet, ere the "one year" has elpased; but should contrary orders come, I know no law but obey, if it breaks owners. Direct as heretofore.
Your obedient servant in the gospel,