Correspondence of The N. Y. Tribune.
NAUVOO, Friday, June 10,1853.
Beautiful for situation is Nauvoo—ci-devant City of Mormon, but now the Icaria of the New-World, the land of plenty and of equality ! Situated on a commanding eminence, overlooking the wide-spread Mississippi, with rich prairie and bottom land, extending beyond as far as the eye can see, covered with a beautiful verdure, and affording support to thousands of cattle—nothing can be more interesting to the New-England traveler! The blackened walls of the Great Temple looming up like some old Egyptian ruin, above the river, alone remain to indicate the site of the once far-famed City of the Latter Day Saints! Of the five thousand followers of Joe Smith whom I found here in 1846, not one now is here. They have all either died out or followed the tide of emigration to the Great Salt Lake.
"Finding it impossible," says M. Cabet in his pamphlet entitled The Colony or Republic of Icaria, "to re "sist the Government, the aristocracy and the clergy, "all of whom had leagued themselves together for the "purpose of calumniating and persecuting the Icarians," they decided "courageously to emigrate in a body to "America, and found an Icara in the desert, 200 or 200 "leagues distant from France." This Icaria is to be founded for the purpose, first to clear, cultivate and civil-ize a portion of the desert; second, to create a new State or series of townships based on community of interests; third, to offer an asylum to all the proscribed republi-cans of Europe. Their motto is, "Liberty, Equality and "Fraternity—All for Each and Each for All;" and the ends they seek, "The reign of Love, Justice and Com “mon Happiness." Very good words certainly.
To an ordinary observer, Icaria, as it is now, will seem dull and stupid enough, and he will be likely to agree with the ferryman's wife, who said to me, "Catch me to" live as them folks do up there, all in a heap, and nothing "to eat but bread soup! I had rather live on fish bones "and dig for pebbles!" They have, evidently from sheer necessity, obeyed literally the Scripture injunction, “to provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in their "purses, nor scrip for their journey, neither two coats, neither shoes !"
I find here some 300 Frenchmen, women and children, of all ages, characters and habits. There are about 75 women and between 40 and 50 children I believe. In general, their appearance is very much like the ouvriers that one will see every day in Paris, with an occasional retired soldier and artist. Most of them seem very hap-py and contented. The women and children struck me as being much more comfortable and happy than the men. The land and some of the buildings which they occupy have been rented, but most of them reside in a long two-story barrack-shaped building which they have erected, and where they lodge and feed. The salle a manger is furnished in the simplest possible manner, and I thought their dinner (the only meal at which I was present) indicated pretty well their actual condition. The dinner was served in tin platters and mugs on two long pine tables, sans a table-cloth, and consisted of “potage " au pain" and "pain a discretion," washed down with “de l’eau et whiskey." This I was told was their ordinary repast twice a day! Neither coffee, tea, nor vegetables as yet! At the sound of a trumpet, they all crowd around these tables, and some seated, others standing; most of the men with their hats on as though they ex-pected to be called out to work or to fight the next mo-ment! I presume, however, all this is temporary. As soon as they get means they will live better. And be-sides, I was informed that they consider this place as only provisional, having purchased a large tract of land (5,000 acres) in Iowa, where they will eventually es-tablish a permanent community.
M. Cabet, their leader and President, impresses me as a very sincere, benevolent man, with a moderate intel-lect, but with good common sense, shrewd, and as having considerable executive ability. He is evidently much beloved and respected by his followers, and as far as I could learn they are united and firm in the faith which they profess. They have already erected and furnished a large stone building for a school-house, (made out of the ruins of the old Temple,) and appear to pay great at-tention to the education of the young. They have also several branches of industry under way, and carry on a saw-mill, a large flouring mill, a brewery, and a distil-lery, and improve some twenty acres of land as a vege-table garden and orchard. They have a press, from which two weekly journals are published, one in Ger-man and one in English; but singular enough, not any in French! "The colony has also a good library, a cabinet "of physic and chemistry, and a small arsenal for arms, “for the chase." They support a theatre and indulge in concerts, lectures, &c., &c. "Boats have been built and "nets made for fishing, while the hunters furnish plenty "of game for the infirmary!" "All the members, men "and women alike, labor in the workshops and on the "farm." "In the summer, work is suspended during the "hottest part of the day." "The meals are all eaten “in common. Equality reigns in the repasts as in other : "things." "After supper there are recreations, music, "readings &c. "The members of the Gerance (Direc- "tors) are the servants of their brethren."
In this declaration of principles, they express their belief and trust in God as the Common Father, and Happiness as the sure destiny of all. "All religious opinions are tolera- "ted in Icaria, but the Icarians adopt the practice of "brotherly love, and justice, as the one thing needful and "the test of Christianity." They assert that the only remedy for existing evils and disorders in society, is "the “introduction of an order, based on Fraternity, Equality "and Liberty, which will result in the suppression of in- "dividual property, in the perfection of education, the "purification of marriage and the organization of labor; "and that all this will prove to be nothing less than a "restoration of primitive Christianity." The Icarian "life," they declare "is a mixture of individualism - "and communism." "The lodgings, for example, are in-"dividulval, each one having a lodging for himself, his wife "and family, but the property is social, undivided and "common, or public and national." "All the associates "are fed, lodged and furnished from the social capital, "all equally according to sex, age, &c. It furnishes "equal education for all, as it gives equal nourishment. "It takes especial pains to promote Marriage among all "its members, and holds the Marriage institution in-violable." "Every precaution is taken that Marriage "shall insure happiness. If, however, this common life " should become insupportable to one or the other a divorce is granted." "In the Icarian Republic women "have the same social right as the men, and the Icari-"ans consider it their first duty and interest to insure "happiness to the women." "In the General Assesably "the women may assist in the deliberations, without the "privilege of voting," [Not quite up to the Women's Rights notion yet.] "The Community exercises a provi- “dential care over all the children, the infirm and the “old ; no one is ever neglected in Icaria." [Can our Christians of New-York or Boston say as much?] "Hy-"giene is employed in preference to medicine, and the "entire social organization is calculated to suppress the "causes of sickness and disease and to fortify health;" and, hear this, oh, ye doctors!" the Physician in Icaria "is a public functionary, devoted to and responsible for "the health of the Community."
Admission to Icaria is obtained on application and after examination, and the candidate passes a novitiate of four months; final admission is granted by a vote of two-thirds of the General Assembly; on entering the society "he gives up all his property to the general fund, and "must contribute at least 400 francs (or $80.") “He "can withdraw at any time, and if provisionally admitted he has returned to him four-fifths of his portion, his "wardrobe, bed and utensils." If he is admitted defin-itely, and withdrawn afterwards, "there is returned to "him half of his portion, his wardrobe, bed and utensils." Any one who violates the laws and regulations may be ex-pelled by a vote of the General Assembly. Among the conditions of final admission I notice the following excel-lent one. "He or she must be temperate, without hav-ing any necessity FOR USING TOBACCO, or strong drinks, "decent in words and acts, careful and economical, "must adopt true Christianity as his religion, and engage "to get married .'"
To the superficial observer, to the mere man of busi-ness, politics and "religion," this Icarian project must seem Uutopian enough; but the man with to whose soul Christinaity has become a momentous reality, and not a con-venient appendage to the workshop, the store and the farm, the existence of this and other communities like it, poor and imperfect as they all are, is a blessed sign of encouragement like the "vows of promise," after a flood of desolation. It assures him that there is yet hope for the race; that the light enkindled on the hills of Palestine eighteen hundred years ago is not com-pletely eclipsed. And to the mass who look at these phenomena in the light of social science, there appears a most profound significance. He sees that "Com- "munism" is the first natural step of the race as it emerges from infancy and marches on to its high destiny; for it springs from the earliest and most primitive of all the human passions, that of "Friendship," the passion, or spring of action which leads us spontaneously to ignore rank or fortune and to meet on the common ground of equality or brotherhood; the condition that always oc-curs when men or women are thrown together suddenly, after a great calamity, or in the outburst of a noble en-thusiasm.
It is not, however, as the Icarians and Communists generally suppose, a final condition, but merely the first natural expression of the childhood of the race. It can continue alone but for a short time, far its indulgence will most certainly give rise to the next succeeding pas-sion. The "tendency to simple friendship" must be succeeded by the "tendency to ambition and honor," the sentiment which impels us to classify individuals ac-cording to their natural gifts and aptitudes, and recog-nizes a law of order and harmony in their arrangement; and this tendency will be followed or accompanied by the passions of "Love," and to "family sentiment," leading to a more complete and integral union of all the 'functions of life. But this is the work of an older and more experienced time ; yet it is no less demanded by the very nature and constitution of man than that of friendship, and will as certainly be realized when the race shall have outgrown its childhood and put forth the strength of its sinews like a man.
In a word, all these movements of Cabet, Owen, War-ren and the other social reformers of our time are to be regarded as the first rude outcries of the race apparent-ly wild and destructive, yet in reality peaceful and joyful clamoring for Fraternity and Justice: Only give them room enough and time enough, and they will as certainly aspire and grow to a more complete form of Society, as the child after exhausting the games and plays of the school-yard, finally throws them all away, and rushes for-ward to the varied and exciting employment of manhood. With my whole heart then I bid these Icarians God-speed, and only pray that the Lord will send more labor-ers into the vineyard, and hasten the time when the wealthy and influential shall emulate one another in erecting and perpetuating, not merely costly Churches for singing His praises on Sunday, but in building a House and preparing a Garden for the every-day occu-pation of doing His will.
J. T. F.
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