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1849, Sep 27 - Howells, William - Letter to Dan Jones

St. Servan, Brittany, France, 27 September 1849

My Dear Father in the Eternal Gospel,

I hope these lines will find you and your family well and happy, having arrived at the end of your journey; and doubtless, the resting place is sweet unto you, for in my opinion it was a journey unparalleled in the history of the world.
If any man ever stood in need of the patience of Job, surely you stood in need of sevenfold as much because of the imperfections of some in the Company which you led and who had the privilege of being the first to sail from British Babylon to Zion. To obtain an inheritance there, I would consider a 1000,000-mile journey as naught.


Your son William has not yet attained to the faith of his Father, for I have feared much along with thousands besides me, while anxiously awaiting a letter from our former president. I sometimes thought that the unfaithfulness of those for whom you so greatly strived had caused their faithful servant at last to choose rest in the embraces of the grave, and his Spirit to soar beyond the veil to his old friends, Joseph and Hyrum, and to mingle with the Patriarchs, the Prophets, and Apostles of Jesus. But when nearly despairing, to our great joy, behold a letter for me at St. Malo from Martha reporting the joyful news that our beloved Brother is yet alive, and that we may yet hope to enjoy his sweet society e'er we die. Thanks be to Great God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the God of every goodness for that. Solemn thanks were also given that our dear Sister caught up with her husband and that the little one was safe! Great was her faith! Remarkable was her determination! I shall never forget them, neither will our God forget to bless her for them. Our fervent prayer is that He will bless you both abundant in your temporal and spiritual needs according to the riches of his grace in Christ Jesus. Amen.


You are aware that the Saints in Wales have had an abundance of proofs of your testimonies, that every word is fulfilled. And yet, which of us fully believed your last testimony before you left, which was that the victory which we had already achieved over the gates of Hell through your wisdom and perseverance, would be even more successful under the administration of the brave heroes whom you appointed to presdie under our worthy Bro. Phillips. The fact of this has established this testimony, as with the other, an unshakeable truth. From Cardiff to Holy head the Zion of our God is daily placing her beautiful sons to broaden a place for her tent and stretching the strings of her habitation; for she that was left is multiplying her sons and daughters more remarkably than at first. And the cry is, upon widening the tent, "Haste, for we have here no abiding place. That is yonder in the valley of the Mountains, in the sides of the north where we shall have rest." Great is the sound that is now thundering through Wales, the lovely land of our birth, a sound of Zion's hunters, Zion's fishermen, Zion's quarrymen, Zion's ploughmen, Zion's masons, Zion's runners, Zion's army, together with the wonderful success of Zion's cause everywehre in connection with everything we lay our hand to. Blessing is her work, and there is so much of the heavenly work to do that she has no time to notice the railing enemies. She has left that in the hand of the man who rides through Wales on the loose, pale horse whose arrow the people call "Cholera." It surrounds Zion and takes deadly aim on this enemy or that enemy who come out of their dark hiding places to snarl at Zion, some with scornful songs such as that woman in Aberdare and company; others with scurrilous writings, such as Davis, Dowlais, and his company, all objects of prey to the arrows of the destroyer today, their unclean tabernacles of flesh victuals for the worms of the dust today. In one month about one hundred of the persecutors in my village of Aberdare were hurried off to the prisons in the spirit world, over fifty of them in one hour in one of the coal pits (The Wainwyllt). And the only Saint who was in their midst was spared without losing a hair of his head, as far as we know.


It would be too tedious to particularize about the multitudes of new brothers and sisters who are in every village, in every town, in every area and on practically every hill in Wales, who long to see the day dawn when they will be able to shake hands in the society of one whom they have not seen but one whom they love in spite of the evil reports about him, i.e., dear Brother Jones.


Nearly three months have passed since I left my wife, children, shop, Wales, and lastly, though by no means least, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to sail in the same vessel from Swansea as Brother Jones sailed in, but not toward Zion. My mission -- the compass needle of my duty, directed me toward France. I need not enumerate the tenth part of the difficulties, the obstacles, the persecutions and the animosity which the devil set against me during the first month. And he has not given up yet. He was bad enough in Wales, but worse here, because the laws of the land favor the persecutors here. Nevertheless, the devil failed to discourage me. In the face of all the gnashing of teeth, the shaking of fists in my face, threatened imprisonment, and the shouts of "False Prophet," "Anti-Christ," "Beast," etc., all the heroes failed to discourage the spirit imparted to me by the laying on of your hands. And when near unto prison I rejoiced in the prospect of being in the same lodgings as Jesus and his Apostles, Joseph, Hyrum, Jones and others of the heroes before me. The Protestant clergy and the Catholic priests united to oppose the heavenly truth; yet I have had the privilege of sowing the truth rather successfully hitherto, and may Heavenly Father cause it to bring forth fruit. I have distributed several hundred tracts in the various towns and villages, both to the rich and the poor, in French and English. In the town of Havre alone I have distributed over one thousand free tracts to the inhabitants in less than one month. I baptized one man there who is converesant in the English, French, Italian, Spanish and Creole tongues. A lady by the name of "A. Browse" has given me her name to emigrate with the first company who will go towards Zion; she lives in St. Malo. Another lady, in whose mansion I have had the honor of drinking tea some dozen times, assured me that she would see "The City of Zion in the Valley of the Salt Lake."
I believe you will deem the following advertisement a "pierre précieux," a "fleur;" viz, "Gem in a diadem." "The copy of what I sent to the brotherhood at Wales." (Contents of the following letter are identical to Udgorn Seion 1 (November, 1849): 216-7.)


Dear Brother.--I have still a little spare paper, so I shall do the best of it to amuse you! Surely Taffy is more Amphibious than the French. I can no more induce the French to get into the water than a tom cat, although I am at it day and night with the French and English. In Wales you know I could manage to get a Welshman into the water whenever I thought proper, and as you also know I was blowed up, once for being to(o) quick with one, but here it's all wine. They will have nothing to do with water. These Catholics are ten thousand times worse than Felix, because when you reason with them "about righteousness, temperence and Judgment to come" they only laugh and say, "Sir, I am a Catholic." Then they kindly say "Adieu Monsieur," leaving you "en embarrus dans une enigme."
A Gentleman of the name of Huddlestone, he says that he lived by Joseph in America (assertions are numerous and his falsehoods, etc.) he came to my lodgins (sic) at the end of the first week after my arrival here, trembling with passion, grinding his teeth, and shaking his clenched fist in my face. He said, "You Villain, if you bring any more of these accursed tracts to my house," and a volley of threatenings which I do not remember. When he hurd that I was going to open a place for preaching not far from his house, he vowed that he should attend, and if I attempted to do so that he would break every bone in my body (He had never tryed I suppose the toughness of a Welshman's bones). At all events the day came, and I held my meetings according to circulated invitations, a bundle of Bro. O. Spencer's you gave me in Wales, very useful here. But I did not see Mr. Huddlestone. The reason why I suppose, is the information I have just hurd at St. Malo, that two of his children were dead; wether certinly true or not I cannot say. His friends sent my tracts back through the post, so that they may cost me 12 sous each, no honeyed joke for a poor Mormon.


Since writing the above, I have just Baptized (Sunday 2 o'clock PM Sept. 30/49) at St. Malo Mademoiselle Ann Browse, a Lady of Fortune and great learning, member with Mr. Penlees Church of English for the last 20 years, with great influence with all the great folks of the place, Protestants and Catholics. After she was confirmed a member in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, she rose and presented me with a small cassette containing a precious gold ring, curiously work'd, the hair in the said R. belonging to hur deseased Mother; really when I put it on my finger I looked like a Gentleman and no mistake, the lustre of the glass of the said relic shinging (sic) like a star. It is to be the covenant that henceforth she is to be one with us for ever.
As luck would have it here is a little more place to wright again.


Dr Brother --- If you knew all, you would certainly say that I am a wonderful Adjective in connection with degrees of comparison. On certain Mornings (while) "sweeping and washing the floor planks" of my little chapel, in a few hours after, before the door of a large house and the hoste in his gown giving it me in style, for my blasphemous tracts, and damnable heresy. In a few hours afterwards in the drawing room of a fine mantion, at the side board, enjoying lunch of Buns, Appricots, etc., etc., and the good lady serving me a drinking creamed tea, and enjoying a cake that Bro. B. Young (my beloved Father in God) would certainly approve of. At another time in a large bearge, or coal vessel preaching to the rowers. Another evening in a grand saloon, surrounded with cushions preaching to the Gents and Ladies, among the congregations once I had the French Protestant minister (I took him with me) and he considered it a great honour. Surely my Welsh (ah, the English cannot understand our secrets in Welsh), English and French letter will be as interesting as the Arabian tales. PS I Baptized Mr. R. Williams by brother in law a rich Gentleman likly to do great good. His father (my Father in law) died the first day I landed in France. Martha sends a thousand loves to you, and Dr. Sister Jones.


(Upside down on p. 1) Please to introduce me although absent to my Beloved Father B. Young and 12 and 70 and all the officers; as a poor Brother whome has been pleased to honour greatly. WH


All the Saints, Officers, etc., with myself unite in kind love to you, and all, all, all the Saints from Wales pray for your beloved son Wm. Howells. (Side of p. 1) Oh, let me name a few of my brothers and sisters. Edwards and sons, wife and daughter, Sister Benjamin Jones my (Pompren) children in the Lord, Sister Evans, Mill St. and Family, Bro and Sisters from Herwaen, Merthyr, Cardiff, etc., and Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. D. Jones. (Side of p. 3) Brother Phillips, Davies, all the counsel, Joseph Davies, his Counselers, Bro. Sims and Mrs. Simes, Wm Birch Rees and Sister Woods and Alfred the Priest and all send their kind love to you Mrs. Jones and all the Brothers and sisters--also high counsel of Zion, Quoroum of the 12 and 70s and all the Saints of Wales to the Saints of Zion Greetings.

 

Immigrants:

Howells, William

Jones, Dan

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