Letter from Isaac Galland, 5 April 1841

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April 5th, 1841.
Dear Brother Joseph Smith:
Through the mercies of our Heavenly Father we have been prospered on our journey thus far—we have enjoyed reasonable health on the way, and have succeeded in accomplishing a part of our business.— has labored unremittingly in the word and doctrine on our whole route; he has been joyfully received by the bretheren every where. I trust his labours will be like bread cast upon the waters to be gathered many days hence. We have had the cheerful and valuable co-operation of the services of brothers and , who have aided us in the object of our mission. But amidst the cheering prospects of our present prosperity, it has pleased our Heavenly Father to remove from the scenes of political turmoil and party strife, our beloved [William Henry] Harrison. That the ways of the Almighty are inscrutible to the human mind, his wisdom surpassing our deepest researches, his councils exceeding our most exalted perceptions of pro [p. 399]priety, and his goodness excelling our most sanguine expectations, will not admit of a single doubt; we are however still left to trust to that inscrutible wisdom, and Almighty power, to turn this most melancholly and disastrous event to our good—whether we have not sinned as a nation by idolizing that worthy and long to be lamented patriot and father of the West. by looking to him as a source of relief in our present calamities, instead of relying upon that God in whose hands is the fate of all the kingdoms and empires of the earth, is worthy of our serious consideration. It would seem that the wickedness of the present generation is so superlatively great, that the Father of mercies has condescended in his infinite wisdom and benevolence to afford to the present nations of the earth, one of the most striking examples of the mutability of all earthly glory, honor and excellence. For it is asserted, and that too with great propriety, that the office of Chief Magistrate of the United States, filled as it is by the voice of the people (which is the voice of God) is surrounded with a halo of human glory, and earthly grandeur, unparallelled in excellence by all the hereditary Monarchies, Royalties, Aristocracies, or mixed Republics of the earth. Hence the individual whose sudden and unexpected death this nation is now called to mourn, has been called from the very pinicle of human aggrandizement, after filling, for the brief period of thirty days, the highest and most exalted station upon this earth, to the peaceful slumbers of the tomb, and joyful repose in the paradise of God. Though he is hereby taken from the “evil to come,” yet we are admonished thereby that “in the midst of life we are in death.’ O, what a lesson is this to a sinful world!— But I tremble for my country when I reflect that God has taken from us the individual who was so pre-eminently qualified to restore again the tranquility and prosperity of our nation. While we are surrounded with menaces from abroad, and threatened with ruptures and disunion from within, it has pleased the Almighty Father, for some wise purpose, known only to himself, to deprive us of the aid and influence of that amiable person to whom all eyes were turned. We are again loosed from our anchorage and cast forth upon a boisterous political sea, to toil and strive with adverse winds of political speculation, with the blustering gales of human passion and the mis-leading ignis fatuus of political demagogues. Vain, therefore it would seem, is the help of man; we can only rely with assurance of success upon the Lord for help. For the credit of human nature, I wish I could say that this national bereavement was duly appreciated by all our citizens, but alas! how mortifying the reflection to know that there are some who would even wish to be regarded as respectable citizens, who are so destitute of every redeeming virtue, and so puffed with the malignity of party rancor, that they cannot suppress their infernal and fiend-like howlings of exultations until the solemnities of the occasion are ended. O! what a comment on human depravity—it would seem as though this generation was labouring under a depravity which could only be the result of the fall of a second Adam.
But I cannot dwell on a subject which is a reproach to my species, and makes me blush that I am a man. May God protect our nation, and grant that this signal judgment of his providence may cause our people to learn wisdom and practice virtue.
I am most sincerely yours in the bonds of the everlasting gospel,
P. S. President Harrison breathed his last at 35 minutes past 12 o’clock on the morning of the 4th inst, (yesterday morning.)
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