Rock Island, Illinois, U.S.A., May 11, 1856.
Dear Brother Franklin -- I have not had five minutes, since we dropped anchor at Quarantine, that I could call corresponding time, and my Utah communication, as yet, remain partly unread.
The history of our voyage you have at considerable length, I think sufficiently so, from Boston.
I cannot think of our voyage, but my heart overflows with gratitude to my Heavenly Father for his multiplied mercies. Before, behind, and on every side, destruction reveled, and we passed in safety. The two deaths, already reported, were the results of long protracted sickness. Both were cases of consumption. That of Sister Devereux, of many years standing; and Brother Clotworthy's child had been dying from its mother's womb.[p.413]
The voyage was unexpectedly agreeable to me. Though my position was one of those I had most dreaded, everyday increased my thankfulness, for the Unction of the Holy One was more than doubled, to the cares that accumulated upon me.
I was able during the whole voyage, to be around among the Saints, administering as the Lord administered to me. The unity, cleanliness, and devotion of the whole company, from Liverpool to Boston, would not present a single spot for criticism. Elders Ellsworth, McArthur, and McAllister, in their willing cooperation with me, in everything, seemed to should every burden or care ere I felt its pressure. I was peculiarly blessed with a choice company of Saints, and the elders, American, English, and Scotch, seemed, as they passed around between decks, like ministering angels sent to whisper peace and comfort to all hearts. There was not a jar, but all delighted to bless and do each other good.
The caption was more than you pronounced him, in kindness and accommodation. He became very much attached to me, and delighted to extend kindnesses to all hands. Nor did his kindness forsake him when he got ashore. He brought the owners on board, introduced me to them, and took pains to speak good things of us to everybody. . .
The house of Train and Company were particularly obliging in every way, and by their attentions gave us a high position in the estimation of the people of Boston. I was particularly anxious to make a good first impression upon the people of Massachusetts, in view, not only of our emigration interests, but of our approaching struggle for admission into the Confederacy. I am thankful to say that I am more than satisfied. When the quarantine doctor and government agent came on board, you might have licked the "between decks" without soiling your tongue. They both pronounced, it to the visiting strangers, as far ahead of anything they had ever seen. They were followed by a number of members of the Massachusetts Legislature, who were all astonished at our cleanly, healthy appearance, and though know nothings, declared their delight at seeing such a class of people come to settle in their country. It was a rainy day on which we left Boston.
By private subscription, we hired nine omnibuses, which, in three trips, took us through the city to the station. On the drivers seat of the front 'bus, I hoisted a large American flag, which I procured from Captain Rich. Our visit to Boston seemed like a happy dream.
Your favors of March 28, and April 1, were brought on board to me by Mr. Armstrong, from the house of Train and Co., including Utah letters, therein referred to... I had no trouble about head money in Boston. Only one young man , Thomas Hicks, stayed in Boston, and for him I paid nothing, though I offered to do so. Those that were only booked to Boston, I counseled to use their head money to go to New York, and with two exceptions, they paid me in advance the difference of one dollar a head, for their passage thither.
I received the balance of our provisions from Caption Rich, without the least trouble or even asking for them, and free storage from Train and Company. The unexpected, and most providential appearance, in New York, of Brother Spencer, relieved my mind of all anxiety in regard to the provisions, of which he has already disposed, and concerning which, when we meet in Iowa, we will further write you. Our call at New York, so unexpected to me, drew my attention entirely to the care of the company. Oh, how glad I was to see Brother Spencer there the next morning after our arrival.
The Custom House Officers of Boston acted with great courtesy and propriety in passing our luggage.
Besides those only booked to Boston, I left in New York Brother Nathan T. Porter, who was delirious. I was first aware of his sickness on the steamer, between Boston and New York. He had the mumps, and I was informed, in the most severe manner. I also left there Brother Thomas Lyon and family, and Brother George Spiers and family of the P. [Perpetual] E. [Emigration] Fund emigrants. Sisters Lyon and Spiers were both pronounced unable to proceed at present. It required the most unceasing attention to keep them alive during the voyage. I had the receipts for the voyage signed by the fund passengers, previous to landing at Boston, and, today, I have completed my receipts for the passage to Iowa City, agreeably to Brother Spencer's instructions. All the fund passengers [p.414] are with me yet, with the exceptions already named.
So far all goes on well. The officers of the various railway companies are generally very obliging. We are here since the night of the 9th. Tomorrow we leave for Iowa.
The editors of a leading paper here have just called, and I have requested brother Ellsworth to show them around We are occupying a large store, furnished us by the superintendent of this station.
Brothers Ellsworth, McArthur, McAllister, and all the brethren join in love to yourself, brother Cyrus H. Wheelock, and all with you. All your instructions will be promptly attended to. God bless you. [p.415]Faithfully and obediently in Christ,
BIB: Ferguson, J[ames], [Letter], Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star 18:26 (June 28, 1856) pp. 413-15. (CHL)