A DEFENSE OF THE MORMONS.
To the Editor of The N. Y. Tribune.
SIR: Io looking over a file of your valuable paper, I noticed extracts from a new book, published by the Harpers, entitled "Utah and the Mormons," by Ben-jamin G. Ferris, ex-Secretary of Utah Territory. Not having had an opportunity as yet of seeing the book, and from a personal knowledge of the author, and the absence of truth which marks the extracts, I am led to the conclusion that "truth, the whole truth, "and nothing but the truth," has not been his motto. He states that from the altitude, ratified atmosphere and purity of the water of the Great Salt Lake Val-ley, it would be natural to suppose that it would be very healthy, but it is exactly the reverse. The "mortality among the children," he says, "is very "great," and the women, from some cause, die with "premature old age."
In order that your readers may judge for them-selves what credence is to be placed in his statements, permit me to bear testimony concerning Utah and the Mormons, and the knowledge I have of the author.
I am what the world calls a Mormon, and have been so more than twenty-one years; and lest I should be deemed partial in my statements, I will refer to the following named gentlemen for my character for truth and veracity, as they have been acquainted with me from my youth up to the year 1833, at which time I embraced the truth of the everlasting Gospel and united with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly called "Mormons," and I trust my love of the truth has not diminished. I will take the liberty of referring to Gen. Wm. H. Adams of Lyons, Wayne Co., N. Y.; John Adams, merchant, of do.; Dr. Jeremiah B. Pierce of do.; James Saterlee, do., and E. W. Ivans, Tom's River, New-Jersey, Sheriff of Ocean County. In the summer of 1848 I removed with my family to Great Salt Lake City, arriving there Sept. 24. Then there was not a house in the city, with the exception of what is called the old fort—a cluster of shanties reared in 1847 by the pioneers. At the present time the city contains some 12 or 14,-000 souls, and some buildings which are as respect-able-looking as any in Ithaca, where Mr. Ferris re-sides. His description of the city is partly correct: the streets are eight rods wide, running north and south, east and west, and crossing each other at right angles; each block contains ten acres and is divided into eight lots. One of these squares was reserved for public buildings, on which a tabernacle has been erected, capable of accommodating 3,000 per-sons. This is mostly filled every Sabbath and, to use Mr. Ferris's own language to me of what he wit-nessed the day he attended meeting, (he attended but once during his sojourn,) "the preach-"ing was first-rate." He said he was very agree-ably surprised, and highly pleased with the order and decorum, while the Sacrament was ad-ministered to over 2,000 communicants, and that a more cheerful, attentive, well behaved, better-dressed congregation, including women and children, he never saw. The other public buildings in the city, that would not disgrace the City of New York, are the Social Hall, Tithing store, and Council House, beside many large, elegant private dwellings. They are mostly constructed of adobes or sun-dried bricks, which when properly made, are durable, and impart beauty to the edifices, giving them the appearance of stone. From a residence of five years, the most of that time in Great Salt Lake City, I can say, that a more healthy, a more virtuous, a more contented or better disposed community cannot be found on earth, the sayings of Mr. Ferris to the contrary, notwith-standing. As industrious, temperate, and intelligent a community is no where to be found as in Utah; as a proof of their union and industry, witness the appear-ance of that country.
At the present time, with settlements extending be-tween 300 and 400 miles north and south, with cities, flour and sawmills, fine cultivated fields, producing wheat from sixty to one hundred fold, and all the va-rieties of the vegetable kingdom belonging to the temperate zone growing to perfection, may she not re-joice. And who has been the means of producing this great change? The Mormons. A people that seven years ago were driven from Nauvoo, and suffered the toils of a wilderness-life among savages and wolves; their unheard-of sufferings and privations at winter quarters in the winters of 1847-'48 caused even the stoical Judge Brock to weep. This is the people that Ferris is endeavoring to hold up to the scorn and ridi-cule of the world. With due deference to Mr. Ferris as a man, I must say that he is incapable of judging of things pertaining to God's Kingdom.
Mr. B. G. Ferris arrived in the city of Great Salt Lake in October, 1853, hired a room of Mrs. Farnum in the Twelfth Ward, for which, he informed me, he paid ten dollars per week, exclusive of wood. Mrs. Farnum is a member of the Church, but not sound in the faith of the Gospel. She keeps boarders in the absence of her husband, who has gone on a mission to Australia, is president of that mission, and an editor of a newspaper. Her boarders consisted of mer-chants and their clerks, who followed the Mormon trail, in order to skin the Mormons. They were all outsiders, doubtless some of them blacklegs and gamblers that had served their apprenticeship in Mis-souri. Thus he obtained his materials for a book, from men who feared not God, nor regarded the laws of man. However, I have his word that he obtained valuable information from "Messrs. Wil-"lard Richards, Judge Snow, Professor Carrington, "H. C. Kimball, and a Mrs. Cobb," one of Brigham's wives. A short time after his arrival and settlement in the city, I gave him a call, as I understood, by the published account of arrivals, that our Secretary hailed from Ithaca, near the place of my nativity. After an introduction I discovered that he was ap-proachable but not very dignified in his appearance. He was sociable and appeared rejoiced to shake hands with a countryman of his in the Far West, be-yond the Rocky Mountains. He informed me that he was acquainted with my relations, who were his near neighbors, and that he did not claim affinity with the upper-ten, but was born in a log-cabin, raised among the hemlocks, &c. In the winter of 1853 he wrote a lengthy epistle to his friends concerning Utah and the Mormons. It was published in the Ithaca Chronicle, but contained not a word against the Mormons. Sub-sequent to his leaving he informed me that he was pleased with the country and the people, and that if Gen. Scott was elected, he should remain, but if Pierce was elected to the Presidential chair he would start immediately for the White House, in order to solicit a reappointment before the arrival of the Eastern mail. In the spring of 1853, news came via California that Pierce was elected. About the same time I received an appointment by the authorities of the Church in Salt Lake to go to Germany, and in-formed Mr. Ferris, in a jocular manner, that I was going to Europe, and should probably pass through Ithaca, and that he must be careful in spinning his "Mormon yarns," to keep truth on his side, and in "nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice." He remarked that he had nothing against the people or their religion, and regretted his inability to attend any religious and social meetings; but added, he had procured all of our publications excepting the Book of Mormon, which he wished to know where he could obtain. I let him have mine, and reminded him of one thing he had gained by coming to the val-ley; namely, a knowledge of the plan of salvation, and that if he did not embrace it now it might be too late, and he would be left without excuse for his neg-lect. On his arrival at Washington, he found he was too late; the Hon. A. W. Babbitt had got the appoint-ment, which may account for the following item of news published in many of the leading papers in Sep-tember last:
"We are informed by telegraph from Washington that G. B. Ferris, Secretary of Utah, had just arrived from Salt Lake, via California, stating that the half had never been told of the degradation of the men and women; that Brigham Young had forty five wives, and that sedition was rife in Utah."
I will leave it to your readers to judge how far politics or filthy lucre influenced his pen in getting up his book. I will merely add, that so far as my ob-servations extend, the health of the valleys and of the mountain is very good; no sickness at all except mountain fevers, contracted by hardships and ex-posures to which the emigrant is subject, unless he takes proper care to ward them off. There are some few oases of chronic diseases, which, if not too far advanced, soon disappear, under the healing influence of the pure, invigorating at-mosphere and mountain breezes. That much dreaded scourge, the Cholera, has not been permitted to scale the everlnsting hills, although it has found its way into almost every nook and corner of our globe. As for women dying with premature old age, I have not seen any thing in the appearance of the sex, other than that they are more likely to bloom on to a good old age than those of this lower region. As for children, Mr. Ferris is very much mistaken. He never has been blessed with any of the little prattlers, and it was probably jealousy that caused him to pen the article relative to babies. When will the world learn wisdom? when will the people be as willing to believe the truth as to give no heed to lies? Yours, with respect,
New-York, Aug 20, 1854. THOS. COLBURN.
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