Page images

property, on condition that they should leave | The following sample of the consecration serNauvoo before the ensuing summer. A pion- vice will probably satisfy our readers:—

Ho, ho! for the Temple's completed,
The Lord hath a place for His head;
The priesthood in power now lightens
The way of the living and dead.
See, see! mid the world's dreadful splendors,
Christianity folly, and sword,

The Mormons, the diligent Mormons,
Have reared up this House to the Lord.
(Hymns, 333.)


eer party of sixteen hundred persons started before the conclusion of winter, in the hope of reaching their intended settlement in time to prepare a reception for the main body by the close of autumn. But the season was unusually cold, and their supply of food proved inadequate. Intense suffering brought on disease, which rapidly thinned their numbers. Yet the survivors pressed on undauntedly, and even provided for their friends who were to follow, by laying out farms in the wilderThis ceremony had a disastrous influence on ness, and planting them with grain. Thus the fortunes of the remaining citizens. they struggled onwards, from the Mississippi was construed," says Colonel Kane, "to indito the Missouri, on the banks of which they cate an insincerity on the part of the Morencamped, beyond the limits of the States, not mons as to their stipulated departure or at far from the point of its junction with its least a hope of return; and their foes set upon great tributary, the Platte. They had resolv- them with renewed bitterness. ed to settle in some part of the Californian A vindictive war was waged upon them, from territory, which then belonged to Mexico; which the weakest fled in scattered parties, and it happened that at this time the Mexican leaving the rest to make a reluctant and almost war having begun, the Government of the ludicrously unavailing defence till the 17th of Union wished to march a body of troops into September, when 1625 troops entered Nauvoo, California, and invited the Mormon emigrants and drove forth all who had not retreated to furnish a body of five hundred volunteers before that time." for the service. This requisition is now rep- Thus, once more, the lawless tyranny of a resented by the Mormons as a new piece of majority trampled down the rights of a minorpersecution. Yet they complied with it at ity. These instances of triumphant outrage, the time without hesitation, and five hundred which have recurred so often in our narrative, of their number were thus conveyed across are not only striking as pictures of American the continent at the expense of Government; life, but may also furnish an instructive warning and yet rejoined their brethren among the to some among ourselves. They force upon us Rocky Mountains in the following summer, the conclusion that laws are not more willingly atter having discovered the Californian gold obeyed because made by universal suffrage. diggings on their way. As no compulsion was They teach us that in those communities where exercised, it is evident that the Mormon lead- every man has an equal share in legislation, ers must have judged it expedient thus to the ordinances of the legislature are treated diminish their numbers, which were at that with a contemptuous disregard, for which the time too great for their means of support. But history of other nations can furnish no preceit is admitted by Captain Stansbury (the offi- dent. The mob, knowing that they can enact cer employed by the United States in the sur-laws when they please, infer that they may vey of Utah) that the drain of this Mexican dispense with that formality at discretion, and battalion prevented the remainder of the accomplish their will directly, without the inpioneers from reaching the mountains that termediate process of recording it in the statseason. They, therefore, formed an encamp-ute-book. They can make the law, therefore ment on the banks of the Missouri, where they they may break the law; as the barbarous were joined in the course of the summer and Romans claimed the right of killing the sons autumn by successive parties from Nauvoo. they had begotten.

Meanwhile, those who had remained in the We must refer to Colonel Kane for a piccity occupied themselves, during the precari-turesque account of the appearance of Nauvoo ous truce which they enjoyed, in finishing after its desertion, and of the sufferings of its their temple. This building, the completion helpless citizens who were driven across the of which had been invested with a mysterious Mississippi by their foes. It was with pain and importance by the revelations of their prophet, toil that these last unfortunate exiles reached was a huge and ugly pile of limestone, strong- the camp of their brethren. "Like the woundly resembling Bloomsbury Church. But as it ed birds of a flock fired into towards nightfall, was far superior in architectural pretensions they came straggling on with faltering steps, to any of the meeting-houses in the neighbor- many of them without bag or baggage, all asking States, it was looked upon in the West as ing shelter or burial, and forcing a fresh rea miracle of art. The Mormon High Priests partition of the already divided rations of their returned from their frontier camp to consecrate friends." At last, towards the close of auit on the day of its completion, in May, 1846. tumn, all these emigrants had rejoined the

watches were set at night to guard the camp.. Every ten of their wagons was under the care of a captain; this captain of ten obeyed a captain of fifty; who in turn obeyed a member of the High Council of the Church.

main body in the valley of the Missouri. And there they prepared to meet the severity of winter, in the depth of an Indian wilderness. The stronger members of the party had employed the summer in cutting and storing hay for the cattle, and in laying up such supplies By the aid of this admirable organization, of food as they could obtain. But these labors they triumphed over the perils of the wilderhad been interrupted by a destructive fever, bred by the pestilential vapors of the marshy sand miles, came at last within view of their ness; and after a weary pilgrimage of a thouplain, which decimated their numbers. When destined home. The last portion of their winter came upon them they were but ill-prepared to meet it. For want of other shelter, route, which led them into the defiles of the they were fain to dig caves in the ground, and mountains, was the most difficult :huddle together there for warmth. Many of the cattle died of starvation, and the same fate was hardly escaped by the emaciated



When the last mountain has been crossed, the road passes along the bottom of a deep ravine, whose scenery is almost of terrific gloom. At every turn the overhanging cliffs threaten to At length the spring came to relieve their break down upon the river at their base. At the wretchedness. Out of twenty thousand Mor-end of this defile, which is five miles in length, mons who had formed the population of Nau- the emigrants come abruptly out of the dark voo and its environs, little more than three pass into the lighted valley, on a terrace of its thousand were now assembled on the Missouri. upper table land. A ravishing panoramic landOf the rest, many had perished miserably, and and gold, and pearl; a great sea with hilly scape opens out below them, blue, and green, many had dispersed in search of employment, islands; a lake; and broad sheets of grassy to await a more convenient season for joining plain; all set as in a silver-chased cup, within friends. The hardiest of the saints who still mountains whose peaks of perpetual snow are adhered to the camp of Israel, were now or-burnished by a dazzling sun.

ganized into a company of pioneers: and they

set out, to the number of 143 men, up the The sympathy which we so freely give to valley of the Platte, to seek a home among the shout of the ten thousand Greeks, hailing the Rocky Mountains. They carried rations the distant waters of the Euxine, we cannot for six months, agricultural implements, and refuse to the rapture of these Mormon pilseed grain, and were accompanied by the grims, when at last they beheld the promised President and his chief counsellors. After a land from the top of their transatlantic Pisgah. three month's journey they reached the valley Nor is it wonderful that their superstition disof the Great Salt Lake, on the 21st of July. covered in the aspect of their new inheriAnd here they determined to bring their wan-tance an assurance of blessing; for the region derings to a close, and to establish a "Stake which they saw below them bears, in its geoof Zion."* But they had small time to rest graphical features, a resemblance singularly from their fatigues. Immediately on their striking to the Land of Canaan. The mounarrival a fort was erected to secure them against tain lake of Galilee, the Jordan issuing from the Indians, with log houses opening upon a its waves, and the salt waters of the Dead Sea, square, into which they drove their cattle at where the river is absorbed and lost, have all night. "In five days a field was consecrated, their exact parallels in the territory of Utah. fenced, ploughed, and planted." (G. 134.) Here surely was the portion of Jacob, where Before the autumn they were rejoined by their the wanderings of Israel might find rest! brethren whom they had left on the Missouri. The arrival of these wayworn exiles, togeThis large body, consisting of about three ther with that of the disbanded volunteers thousand persons, including many women and from California raised the number of the colchildren, journeyed across the unknown desert ony to nearly four thousand persons. The with the discipline of a veteran army. Colonel first thing needful was to provide that this Kane, who had been an eye-witness, describes multitude should not perish for lack of food. with admiration

The strict order of march, the unconfused closing up to meet attack, the skilful securing of cattle upon the halt, the system with which the

[ocr errors]

Ploughing and planting," says Captain Stansbury," continued throughout the whole winter, and until the July following; by which time a line of fence had been constructed enclosing upwards of six thousand acres, laid All the Mormon settlements are called "Stakes down in crops, besides a large tract of pasture of Zion" to distinguish them from Jackson Coun- land." But, notwithstanding all their industy, Missouri, which is "Zion." This is ultimately try, the colonists were on the brink of starvato be reconquered by the saints, and thus Joseph's tion during the first winter. There is very prophecy (which their expulsion seemed to falsify), little game in the country, and they were reis to be fulfilled. Meanwhile, when speaking pop-duced to the necessity of feeding on wild roots

ularly, they apply the term Zion to Utah.

[ocr errors]

and on carrion; and even tore off the hides graces by a "manufactory of small-tooth with which they had roofed their cabins, to combs !" (XV. 418. and 437.) Regular boil them down into soup. "When we clam- mails were established with San Francisco on bered the mountains," says one of them, the Pacific, and New York on the Atlantic; "with the Indians to get leeks, we were some- public baths were erected, and copiously sup times too feeble to pull them out of the plied by the boiling springs of the volcanic ground." (XV. 387.) This bitter season, region, affording to the citizens that wholehowever, saw the last of their sufferings; an some luxury so justly appreciated by the anabundant harvest relieved their wants; and cients and so barbarously neglected by the since that time their agriculture has been so moderns. They were even beginning to culsuccessful, that they have raised enough, not tivate the arts and sciences, more Americano. only for home consumption, but for the de- They had founded a University" in their mand of the numerous emigrants who are capital, where one of the apostles gives lecconstantly passing through their settlements to tures on astronomy, wherein he overthrows the gold diggings of California. The engineers the Newtonian theory. (G. 82.) They had of the Central Government who surveyed their sculptured a monument to the memory of territory, state, that although the soil capable Washington. They had laid the foundation of cultivation bears a very small proportion to of a temple which is to surpass the architecthat which (for want of water) is doomed to ste-tural splendors of Nauvoo. They had reared rility, yet the strip of arable land along the base a Mormon Sappho, who officiates as the lauof the mountains makes up, by its prodigious reate of King Brigham. Nay, they had even fertility, for its small extent (S. 141.); and that organized a dramatic association, which acts it would support, with ease, a million of inhabi- tragedies and comedies during the season. tants. (G. 18.) This question is of primary Meanwhile, their population had increased importance, because a country so distant from by immigration from 4,000 to 30,000, of whom the sea, and so far from all other civilized states, 7,000 were assembled in the city of Salt Lake, must depend entirely on its own resources. their capital. The rest were scattered over There must be a constant danger lest an un- the country to replenish the earth and to subfavorable season should be followed by a due it. This task they undertake, not with famine. Against such a calamity, however, the desultory independence of isolated squatsome provision is made by accumulating large ters, but with a centralized organization, the quantities of grain in public storehouses, where result of which, in giving efficiency to the the hierarchical government deposits the tithes work of energetic men, has astonished (says which it receives in kind. Captain Stansbury) even those by whom it has been effected." He adds:

Thus re

In physical prosperity, the new commonwealth, which is still (in 1854) only in the The mode which they adopt for the founding sixth year of its foundation, has advanced with of a new town is highly characteristic. An exa rapidity truly wonderful; especially when pedition is first sent out to explore the country, we consider the disadvantages under which it with a view to a selection of the best site. An is placed, by the fact that every imported article elder of the church is then appointed to preside has to be dragged by land carriage for a thou-over the band designated to make the first imsand miles over roadless prairies, bridgeless provement. This company is composed partly rivers, and snow-clad mountains. duced to self-dependence, we can imagine the straits to which the first emigrants were brought for want of those innumerable comforts of civilized life which cannot be extemporized, and need cumbersome machinery for But the effects of this system will be better their manufacture. We can understand why, understood by quoting the following letter of even after some years of settlement, the new an emigrant, who thus describes the foundacitizens complained that nineteen-twentieths tion of one of the most important of these new of the most common articles of clothing and settlements.

of volunteers, and partly of such as are selected by the Presidency, due regard being had to a render the expedition independent of all aid from proper intermixture of mechanical artisans to without. (S. 142.)

furniture were not to be procured among them In company of upward of an hundred wagat any price. (XV. 395.) But before their ons, I was sent on a mission with G. A. Smith, steady energy, such difficulties have gradually one of the Twelve, to Iron County, 270 miles vanished. When the colony had barely reach-south of Salt Lake, in the depth of winter, to ed its fifth birthday, besides their agricultural form a settlement in the valley of Little Salt triumphs already mentioned, they had com- Lake, (now Parowan), as a preparatory step to pleted an admirable system of irrigation, had the manufacturing of iron. After some difficulty built bridges over their principal rivers, and in getting through the snow, we arrived safe and possessed iron-works and coal-mines, a factory sound in the valley. After looking out a location, of beet-sugar, a nail-work, and innumerable we formed our wagons into two parallel lines, awing-mills; and had even sacrificed to the wheels and planted them about a couple of paces some seventy paces apart; we then took the


from each other, so securing ourselves that we Not long after, a convention of the inhabitcould not easily be taken advantage of by any ants petitioned Congress to admit them into unknown foe. This done, we next cut a road up the Confederation as a Sovereign State, under the canon, [ravine], opening it to a distance of the title of the State of Deseret, a name taken some eight miles, bridging the creek in some from the Book of Mormon. This the Confive or six places, making the timber and poles, of which there is an immense quantity, of easy gress declined; but passed an Act, in 1850, We next built a large meeting house, erecting the Mormon district into a Territory, two stories high, of large pine trees all neatly under the name of Utah. We should explain jointed together. We next built a square fort, that, according to the American Constitution, with a commodious cattle yard inside the enclo- the position of a Territory is very inferior to sure. The houses built were some of hewn logs, that of a state. The chief officers of a Terriand some of adobies (dried bricks) all neat and tory are appointed not by the inhabitants, but comfortable. We next enclosed a field, five by by the President of the Union. The acts of three miles square, with a good ditch and pole the local legislature are null and void unless fence. We dug canals and water ditches to the ratified by Congress. The property in the distance of thirty or forty miles. One canal to turn the water of another creek upon the field, for soil belongs to the Government of the United irrigating purposes, was seven miles long. We States. It will easily be understood how nabuilt a saw-mill and grist-mill the same season. tural is the anxiety of the citizens of a TerriI have not time to tell you half the labors we tory to emerge from this humiliating position, performed in one season. Suffice it to say that into that of a sovereign commonwealth, which when the Governor came along in the spring, he can elect its own magistrates, make its own pronounced it the greatest work done in the laws, and adopt the constitution which it premountains by the same amount of men. (XV. fers. But this anxiety is doubly felt by the 458.) Mormons, because, so long as they remain We must not be tempted to linger too long subject to the central Government of the on this part of our subject, or we might illus- Union, they naturally fear that the popular trate it by many similar examples. Suffice it hatred which expelled them from Illinois and to say, that by such judicious enterprise a Missouri, may manifest itself in renewed perchain of agricultural posts has been formed, secution. Nor are causes of collision wantwhich already extends beyond the territory of ing. In the first place, the inhabitants of Utah, and connects the Salt Lake with the Utah have as yet no legal title to their land, Pacific. The chief of these settlements, San for they have taken possession of it without Bernardino, bids fair to be one of the most purchase; and the ownership of the soil is in important cities in California. "The agricul- the United States. Yet the Mormons naturally protest against claims which would exact payment from them for that property which derives all its value from their successful enterprise. Again, the President of the Union has the right of appointing an "unbeliever" Governor of the Territory. Such an appointment would be considered a grave insult by the population; and they have announced very clearly their intention to oppose it (should

tural interest of the colonists of San Bernardino," says the New York Herald, "is much larger than that of the three adjoining counties united. Their manufacturing interest is rapidly increasing. They supply the southern country with timber, and for miles around they furnish flour from the fine mills which they have erected. They have purchased land for town sites in eligible situations on the sea coast." (XV. 61.) The object of the Mor- it ever take place) by passive resistance, mons in this extended colonization is to esta- which probably would soon pass into active blish a good line of communication with the violence. President Fillmore avoided this Pacific, by which they may bring up their im- difficulty by nominating the Head of the Mormigrants more easily than across the immense mon Church as Governor of the Territory. tract which separates them from the Missouri. But the appointment is only for four years, At first they hoped to include this line of coast in their own territory; but Congress refused their petition to that effect, and restricted them within limits which separate them from the sea; the above mentioned maritime colonies being offshoots beyond their own jurisdiction.

and may be cancelled at pleasure. Another cause of apprehended quarrel is the Mormon custom of polygamy. The Territorial Legislature has no power of legalizing this practice, and consequently the majority of the children of all the great officers of the Church are illegitimate in the eye of the law. Probably some But we are here assuming a knowledge of child of a first wife will seek on this ground the political relations between the Mormon to oust his half brothers from the paternal commonwealth and the United States, which inheritance. The Courts of the United States we have not yet described. Soon after the must necessarily give judgment in favor of his exiles had taken possession of their new home, claim. But it is certain that such a judgment it passed from the dominion of Mexico to that could not be enforced in Utah without miliof the United States by the treaty of 1848. tary force, which would be enthusiastically

resisted by the population. This particular every measure which is calculated to secure case, indeed, may not arise for some years. themselves against a repetition of the exterBut the indignation excited against the Mor- minating process to which they have been so mon polygamy is such, that a portion of the often subjected. They keep their militia in American press is already urging an armed

intervention on the Government.

Not only (says the Philadelphia Register), should Utah be refused admission into the Union so long as she maintains this abominable domestic institution; but Congress, under its power to make all needful regulations respecting the territory of the United States, should take measures to punish a crime which dishonors our nation. (XV. 358.)


mons might already defy any force which could be sent against them.

constant drill, and its discipline is said to be excellent. Every man capable of bearing arms is enrolled, and the apostles, bishops, and elders appear in military uniform as majors, colonels, or generals, at the head of their troops. They could already oppose a force of 8000 men to an invading enemy. And the standing army of the United States only amounts to 10,000, which must march for three months through a wilderness before they reach the defiles of the mountains, where Such are the clouds already visible on the they would find themselves opposed, under horizon of Utah, which portend a coming every disadvantage of ground, with all the fustorm. One collision has actually occurred, ry of fanaticism. Indeed, Lieutenant Gunnibut has passed off without serious effects. It son intimates that, in his opinion, the Morwas caused by the unpopularity of the two judges, appointed by the President of the United States. No doubt it was very difficult The causes above mentioned fully account to find among the Mormons any even mode- for the eagerness manifested by the heads of rately qualified for such an office. One the Church in pressing upon the saints throvincial practitioner was however found, who, out the world the duty of emigrating to Utah. though not a resident in Utah, was brother of Their power of resisting hostile interference an Apostle; and he was nominated to a seat must of course be proportionate to their nuupon the bench. But the two other judges merical strength. If they can double their were unbelievers;" and this circumstance of present population, they may defend their itself caused them to be received with cold-mountain fastnesses against the world. MoreOne of them, also, gave great offence over, they will have the right, according to by a speech at a public meeting, in which he the practice of the Union, to demand admis advised the Mormon ladies "to become vir- sion as a State into the Federation when their tuous. (XVI. 406.) The Governor, whose population amounts to 60,000. Hence the duown harem was present, resented this as a ty most emphatically urged upon all Mormon gross insult, and an open quarrel ensued. proselytes is immediate emigration. They Very free language was used as to the resolu- must shake from their feet the dust of " Babytion of the people of Utah to resist any inter-lon," and hasten to "Zion." "Every saint," ference on the part of the Central Govern- says a recent General Epistle, "who does not ment. This language was declared treason- come home, will be afflicted by the devil." able by the two unbelieving Judges, and by (XIV. 20.) And again, "Zion is our home, the Secretary of the Territory, who all return- the place which God has appointed for the ed to Washington, and in a report to Government denounced the disloyalty of the Territory which they had deserted. In the sublime language of the "Deseret News,—


The Judicial Ermine doffed its desecrated wand to the ladies of Utah, satanlike rebuking sin; blackened the sacred pages of its country's history with the records of a mock court; shook its shaggy mane in disappointed wrath, and rushed with rapid strides over the mountains to its orient den. XIV. 524.)

President Fillmore, however, wisely forbore to take up the quarrel of his nominees, and made new appointments, which appear to be more acceptable to the Mormon population. Thus the danger has passed over for the time; but such symptoms show the precarious character of the existing peace.

Meanwhile, the Mormon leaders are taking


refuge of his people. Every particle of our means which we use in Babylon is a loss to ourselves." (Ibid. 210.) And the elders are exhorted "to thunder the word of the Almighty to the saints, to arise and come to Zion." (Ibid. 201.) Nor are their efforts confined to words of exhortation. They raise annually a considerable sum, under the name of the Perpetual Emigration Fund, to pay the outfit and passage of those who are willing to emigrate but unable to pay their own expenses. This fund amounted last year to 34,000 dollars. (XV. 439.) Most of the emigrants, however, pay for themselves. In 1853, the number of saints who sailed from England was 2609. (Ibid. 264.); among whom 2312 were British subjects, and 297 Danes. Only 400 of these had their passage paid by the fund. The whole Mormon emigration from Europe has hitherto been considerably under 3000 annually. Even including the converts

« PreviousContinue »