"The Graves of the Pilgrims."
Upon a beautiful eminence which may be gained by an easy and gradual assent, a half a mile behind our pleasant town site, rests the last remains of twenty score of exiled Mormons. Expelled from comfortable homes in the mid-winter of '46, by lawless persecu-tion and mob violence, they gathered around them their scanty, half-furnished necessaries for a tedious and long journey across an un-known and uncivilized country—inhabited only by roving, lawless and savage bands of Indians, to seek a home among the valleys of wild and almost unknown mountains of rocks.
Like the pilgrims of old, wasted in strength and earthly gear, their sensitive minds chose a death of starvation or by the torch and knife of the savage, rather than dwell in turmoil and strife, or longer bear the tyrannous and lawless aggressions of their neighbors. Their beautiful home, the charming and much ad-mired city of Nauvoo, reared and built 'mid scenes of hunger and poverty, yes, their tem-ples and their idols, are deserted to their ene-mies, and through the winter snows, whose pure surface was often stained with crim-son life blood of the determined band, they passed through the untrodden wilds of west-ern Iowa, and in autumn reached the Mis-souri river, though many, worn out with fa-tigue and trouble, had fallen by the way, and were only known in the sorrowing hearts of their brethren, relatives and friends.
Too late, and destitute of provisions to proceed onward, they cast about to find a resting place for the winter, when this charm-ing spot attracted their attention, and here they rested. Seven thousand souls, tired and worn, here reared a town, yes, an extensive city, with streets, alleys, squares and public grounds, public buildings, school houses and churches, and here they vainly hope to pass the dreary winter in peace and domestic hap-piness, but alas, this even, the angry fates de-nied them. Being forced to live without vegetables and fruit, and even pinched for want of salt, and stale provisions, an awful and unmanageable disease was the conse-quence, which in a few months carried many hundreds of its victims to the grave. Away from the world and alone, here the father buried his partner or only child. The mother became childless, and perhaps a widow. The helpless child or germ of budding man—or womanhood, is left upon the cold world an orphan. How many tales of heart-rending grief and unavailing woe, could those green turfs on the hill side reveal, could they but speak, what anguish of soul have they ex-perienced! The very grass and herbage, and flowers have been moistened and bedewed with the tears from the heart-strings and life's fountains of the bereaved. There now they lie in silence, with the greensward grown smoothly over the forms of the lovely, the loved and the talented, victims to the ven-geance of their persecutors, and martyrs to their religious belief!
Early in the spring, these industrious peo-ple being too much worn out with toil, sick-ness, and destitution, to proceed on their tedious journey, opened farms and fenced large fields, from which they were soon re-warded with abundance of grains and pro-duce—whilst an hundred sturdy pioneers penetrated to the wild mountain vales, and near the great Salt Lake, in the country they named DESERET—(the Honey Bee or Bee Hive;) some returning, whilst others re-mained to prepare for the wants of the corning multitudes.
In the spring of 1848, the whole cavalcade of waggons and human life moved from this spot, the greatest portion young, forward to their new home, whilst others, unable for want of strength, returned across the river into Iowa, in the region of Council Bluffs, there to recruit their means for future emi-gration.
The luxuriant foliage soon overspread the fields, gardens and streets of the place so lately identified with busy life, and for the first year, a large amount of grain, vegetables and vines were produced, much of which was gathered by the Indians or the citizens on the Iowa side. But, alas for the deserted city! The prairie fire swept through and enveloped it in flames, and laid it low in ahses, and now only a few slight vestiges remain to mark the spot. The grooves in the earth, where their winter vegetables were snugly packed, may still be seen, and also the wells that furnished the city with sweet crystal water. The en-closures of vast fields may still be traced, where industrious hands had reared walls of earth to secure their stores of grain. Thous-ands still visit this spot to note the relics of the suffering pioneers who first opened the country to the notice of those who have fol-lowed and now own the lands. The sepul-chres of the fallen should be ornamented and preserved as a monument to the indomitable energy of the persecuted Mormons.
REMARKS.—The above, from the "Nebraska Rock Bottom" is only a sketch of what the Mormons suffered from lawless mobs.Then leaders were shot in prison by mobs, and many others fell by the hand of violence. They were driven from their homes without a trial or a hearing, forced to sacrifice their property for one-tenth of its value, and in many cases to flee in destitution, leaving be-hind them the accumulations of long years of toil, for which they received not a single far-thing! They received not the slightest pro-tection from government, but any and all who were disposed to despoil them of their prop-erty or insult or violate their persons, did it with perfect impunity.
Now I have no more fellowship with the Mormon religion, than with any other ism. Smith, the founder of the sect, was a bold and shameless impostor, and his book of Mor-mon an imposition—a piece of priestcraft. But among his dupes were thousands of sincere and honest souls, possessing many virtues, and in the Mormon creed, as in all others, there was much that was good, mixed up with errors; yet, had they possessed no virtues, they were entitled to the protection of gov-ernment from mob violence, and to the right of trial by jury, for their misdeeds.
Their history, if truly written, will ever stand forth a black and disgraceful blot on the pages of our national history.
Our fathers came to this country to enjoy religious liberty; but no sooner had they made themselves homes, than they began to perse-cute others with the same relentless violence from which they had escaped in the old world; and from that time down to the pres-ent moment, the old sects have persecuted all who have dissented from them, with the spirit of demons, all the while boasting of liberty, equality, and wise and just laws! Shame on the nation—shame on its religions! There is not much wisdom nor justice in the one, nor much vital godliness in the other. Mis-erable concerns!
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