GREAT SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH TER., April 26, 1865.
DEAR SIR: Aware of the arduous duties you have to perform, still I trust a few lines from me will not prove an intrusion. As I intend starting for the Eastern States on the 1st of May, I could not in justice to my own feelings leave Utah without expressing my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to you for the protection you have afforded not only to myself, but our church in general, together with the many acts of kindness you have rendered us, and in the behalf of a grateful people permit me to say our prayers shall ever be offered for your welfare before the throne of grace, and we shall ever hail with delight the announcement of your advancement the honor and trust, which we believe you so justly merit. As a people we have our religious peculiarities of belief, differing, however, in reality, not to any greater extent than the various religious sects differ from each other. But our religion teaches us loyalty to our Government, not mere lip service, but to render every assistance for its support that may be required; and we trust that the dark stigma which has been attached to the name of the Latter-Day Saints by the actions of men who, fired with ambitious views of political power, lustful and covetous desires, have basely striven to cloak their iniquitous proceedings under a mask of religion, will are long pass away, and the Latter-Day Saints be acknowledged in the ranks of the moral, virtuous, and loyal. To this end we are laboring, and I am thankful to God that I have been instrumental in his hands of bringing many in Utah to a acknowledge of the duties they owe to God, their country, and their fellow-men. I deeply deplore your absence from Utah, as affairs now present a very different aspect than during your administration in person. Our church is prosperous. I leave behind me a good organization with a competent president, and am expecting missionaries from the East this spring to persecute the work with renewed vigor; but the fear that was gradually leaving the people has since your departure returned, and they are afraid of being placed in greater bondage than ever. Heavy threats are made by Brigham and his colleagues against those who dare to differ from him in sentiment. Dark deeds are contemplated and enacted. At the last conference Brigham instituted a military law of his own, and commanded the bishops to put it in force, viz, none of his people to be allowed in the street after 10 p. m. ; also organized a strong police force in every ward, subject to his instructions, to patrol night and day, and the people are under greater surveillance than ever. I would mention the attempt that has been made to assassinate Mr. Maloney, but I understand he has written you on the subject. I cannot, however, help indulging the hope that Utah will be favored by your presence again at some period not far distant. You will pardon me, but I cannot help entertaining the impression that you are destined to shape the destiny of this Utah, mold and fashion it from its present loathsome and repulsive appearance into something more favorable and delight some. The material is here, I am satisfied, to make a virtuous and loyal people, of their slavish chains were struck off and their corrupt leaders dealt with as they justly merit, and nothing would afford myself and friends greater satisfaction, now that peace is about to be restored to our glorious country, than to see Utah, freed her corruption, enrolled as a State.
Once more thanking you for your kindness, allow me to remain, very respectfully,
R. H. ATWOOD.