New York, Nov. 28, 1888President George Teasdale:
Dear Brother,-With pleasure do I seat myself at this desk this morning to inform you that, through the mercies and goodness of God, we arrived safe at New York on the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 27th, at about eleven o'clock. It has been an exceedingly stormy passage, and some of the officers who have been for years connected with the noble steamer, Arizona, declare it to have been one of the most stormy witnessed by them since their connection with it.
In consequence of ebb tide, we did not leave Liverpool harbor until about seven o'clock, Saturday evening, Nov. the 17th. With the exception of a little head wind, the weather was mild that night, and also the following Sabbath, in consequence of which all enjoyed their meals and to all appearances felt happy. At Queenstown we received a few additional passengers, mailed our letters, and headed for the deep in earnest. As we appeared on deck on the morning of the 19th, we found that our steady wind had gained strength during the night, and that a fierce north- western was disputing our passage. Gradually the waves rose in response to the whistling wind, and soon the whole ocean was a seething, boiling pot. The result was the wind had blown our appetites overboard, in consequence of which, when meals were announced, but a meager, sickly crowd faced each other at the tables to enjoy the richness of nature's choicest bounties. Most of the passengers had gone off into corners and were gnawing away at a bone with sheepish, downcast eyes, as though they had stolen it; among this number, I am sorry to say, your humble servant was found. Tuesday brought no change for the better, and Wednesday was about the same. Thursday, the weather commenced to moderate a little, and on Friday the ladies, like the first birds of summer, commenced to make their appearance. It made us all feel happy to see them again; but their pale countenances and languid eyes told, however, how terrible was the ordeal through which they had just passed. The tables gradually began to fill up, and the cook and waiters found plenty to do. A couple of steamers appeared on the horizon, which imparted additional life to our company, as all were anxious to get a view of the strange sight-strange because here on the ocean one feels all alone in the world, and even a strange bird or a fish is an object of interest. How dreary would the world be, if we were alone in it; yet how imperfectly can we realize this while we are in the happy association of God's creatures. It is good to be upon the ocean, if for no other purpose than to learn to appreciate the goodness of God in providing all his creatures to minister as they do in various ways to our comfort and happiness, as well as everything else that contributes to the welfare and pleasure of man. Saturday was still more pleasant, and we commenced to amuse ourselves in various kinds of innocent games. All were on deck, all were happy, and when night appeared, it was with reluctant feelings that we retraced our steps to our lonely, sultry rooms. Sunday morning appeared less bright and pleasant. Small clouds commenced to make their appearance, and with them a stiff breeze commenced to [p.828] blow. This gradually increased, and was accompanied with a fine, drizzling rain. Towards noon the atmosphere grew foggy, the wind more fierce, and, as a consequence, the waves more riotous. Shortly afterwards the foghorn was sounded. Fiercer, and more fierce still, the wind grew, causing the waves to become more angry until finally they tossed us about with great fury. Many were the troubled looks upon the countenances of the passengers as night approached, when no change for the better came. During the whole night the terrible agitation continued, causing many, as I was told in the morning, either not to go to bed at all, or else to lie down with their clothes on. A long spar floating by us told how the storm had affected some unfortunate vessel. I myself felt confident that the Lord would bring us safely to port. After offering up my prayer, therefore, and dedicating the ship, captain and crew to the Lord, and asking him to temper and modify the winds and the waves, I retired as usual, feeling confident that nothing seious would happen so long as His Saints were on board. He had gathered His Saints for over forty years without loss of life through wreckage, and I had, therefore, no doubt but He would bring us safely through. Monday was not much better, excepting that it was not so foggy and that about five o'clock in the evening glimpses of land appeared. This was a joyous sight, and Columbus could scarcely feel more happy when the forests of San Salvador loomed up into view than we did. In consequence of the continuation of the unpleasant weather no pilot ventured out, and we had to cast anchor outside of the harbor and wait till the day dawned. At about seven o'clock a pilot climbed up the side of our vessel, and soon, to the joy of all, we were under full steam and steering for our place of destination. At about eleven o'clock we were permitted, through the blessings and mercies of God, to put our feet upon land again. We felt especially thankful that our lives had been preserved, when we were informed how many vessels had been wrecked, and lives lost, during this dreadful storm. We also felt thankful to the company for their kind treatment, and especially to Mr. Hammill, the purser, for special favors shown. The captain, Mr. Brooks, also performed his duty nobly and we all felt that we had a reliable man in command of our ship. Mr. Gibson, with his usual smiling countenance, met us at the dock, and did all to facilitate the re-embarkation of the Saints at the Old Dominion docks; however, in consequence of this storm, and the non-arrival of incoming vessels from Norfolk, the steamer upon which they were embarked did not leave until the following day at three o'clock; that is, today. I have just bid them goodbye, and they are now steaming towards Norfolk, all feeling well and able to do justice to their meals. The luggage, also, all turned up, including that of Brother Sandbrigde, which I gave in charge of Brother Spencer to be left at Ogden with Brother Reeve until I arrive there.
In addition, I take pleasure in saying that, notwithstanding the roughness of the voyage, I never felt so well on any previous voyage as on this occasion. This I attribute partly to the faith and prayers of my dear brethren and sisters, who were well aware how seriously the sea always affects me, how I dreaded this voyage; and partly to the fact that I devoted the first day to fasting and prayer to the Lord. He blessed me and heard my prayer, while the act itself disposed, as a natural consequence, of all surplus matter in my system, leaving but little for nature to reject. The next day again I limited myself to small quantities of food, the result was that on the third day my appetite returned, and from that on I had no difficulty with my food; indeed my appetite was more than average. I believe it would be good if the Saints would devote the first day to the Lord in fasting and silent prayer when they commence their perilous journey upon the waters; and this for two reasons: The Lord has said the days would come when none but the righteous should be able to travel upon these seas. This day is rapidly approaching, it can be readily seen from the loss of life and property which is con- [p.829] tinually taking place and perceptibly increasing. The papers tell us that, in this last storm alone, millions of dollars worth of property have been destroyed, and no one knows yet how many hundreds or thousands of lives have been lost. I believe the Lord would hear the Saints, and bless them by tempering the elements, if they would devote one day to him in fasting and prayer. Secondly it would be, as a natural consequence, a benefit to their health. They would feel better, healthier, and stronger, and have better appetites when they arrive on shore again.
I trust you will excuse me for wearying you with this long letter. A thankfulness to God for His mercies, and a desire to give praise unto him for delivering us from all danger, while many a family to-day is mourning the loss of a husband or some other dear one sacrificed during this storm, is the only apology I can offer for writing as I have.
May God bless you for you kindness shown to me on so many occasions, and may He bless the European Mission over which you preside, and my dear brethren who labor under you, and also, all the Saints, is the earnest and sincere prayer of my heart.
With kindest regards, I remain your brother in the gospel of the Son of God,
L. F. Monch.[p.830]
BIB: Monch, L. F., [Letter], Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star 50:52 (December 24, 1888) pp. 828-30 (CHL)