Around the World.
GOING TO SALT LAKE.
A very different sojourn from the one at Laramie City, of which I have spoken in the previous letter, we have just made in the territory and the city of the Mormons. It is such a visit, as having made, we could never wish to repeat. In coming out of Salt Lake City, we felt very much as I im-agine Lot should have felt in coming out of Sodom; it was but a natural impulse to shake off the dust from our feet, and to brush the dust from our very clothes. Every one of our party, and the strangers with whom we met in travelling, had the same emotions; all felt relieved, as on get-ting out of a dark, miasmatic region.
CROSSING THE MOUNTAINS.
Leaving Laramie City at noon on Mon-day, we soon after commenced the ascent of the Rocky Mountains, which we crossed without ever reaching them. They had been in our sight for two days, and we fan-cied that when we came up to them, and especially when passing over the mighty chain, we should certainly know it; but we kept on one smooth ascending plane—apparently an endless plateau—until we were told that we had passed the highest point of the Rocky Mountains reached by the railroad, which, in reality, is not so high as a station on the Black Hills, which we had passed on Saturday. We came upon no lofty peaks—no rugged defiles, until long after we had crossed the chain. It was simply a scene of wild desolation—utter barrenness—as if the soil had been created and then cursed, that it should bring forth nothing but an occasional bunch of wild sage, almost as dreary look-ing as the barren soil. No one who has not seen this portion of the Pacific Railroad, and other portions of the great American Desert, for nearly a thousand miles in ex-tent, can form an idea of the dreary waste that stretches on, and on, until the eye longs to rest on something fresh and green, or even upon a rock. The hills and moun-tains are usually smooth and well rounded but they are utterly destitute of wholesome vegetation, and as utterly without attrac-tions.
A large portion of this desolate region—through the admirably arranged time-table—we passed in the night. As the morning came, I hung my thermometer out of the window of the car, and it presently fell to 42, although the day before and the day following it was at 85.
THE GREAT BASIN.
It is not until we are far down the de-scent that we come to anything like grand-eur in scenery; but as we approach the great Salt Lake Basin, and enter the Echo and the Weber canons, a scene of wonder-ful magnificence opens upon us. On one side, (the left in passing westward) all is smooth, not a rock to be seen, although the mountains rise to a sublime height from the bed of the Weber River, but the opposite side of the narrow defile is composed of towering rocks, assuming all forms of mag-nificent proportions, sometimes towering up in vast precipices toward the skies, and at others stretching out over the road, or as-suming grotesque shapes. It was in the Echo Canon that Brigham Young threat-ened to destroy the army of General Sidney Johnson, by rolling rocks down upon them as they marched through the narrow cause-way, when the army was sent to look after the Mormons. The passage of the river and the railroad out of this wierd region into the Salt Lake Valley is called the Devil's Gate; and while the name was given to it on account of the wild scene out of which it leads, it is equally appropriate to the moral scene into which it introduces the traveller.
At Echo City, which lies between the two canons, we enter the inhabited part of Utah Territory and come upon the community of the Mormons. They have almost entire possession of this little town, and have oc-cupied the narrow valley lying along the railroad and the Weber River, leading to the great basin into which we suddenly emerge through the Devil's Gate. This gorge was formerly one of the grand passes for the emigrants who traversed these west-ern wilds, and who, after enduring untold and unconceivable hardships, have settled the Pacific coast.
THE STAGE RIDE.
Within a mile of the gate we reach Uin-tah station, on the extreme north of the Salt Lake Basin, and at this point take the stage for Salt Lake City, 35 miles distant. The road is rough—a few miles of it very stony, but the greatest inconvenience to the passenger arises from the innumerable little streams which cross it, and which are the means of irrigating the whole eastern sec-tion of the valley. Many of these water-courses are natural, but others have been made by divisions and subdivisions, in or-der to carry the water to parts which could not otherwise be irrigated. The streams are seldom bridged, and the gullies made in the loose soil are a great source of dis-comfort to the stage traveller, to whom they prove too decidedly anti-dyspeptic for a pleasure excursion. But the stages and horses are good, and the ride, which is ac-complished within about five hours, is not excessively fatiguing.
The vast mountain barrier stretching along the eastern portion of the valley is an immense fountain, streams of the purest water issuing from its sides at every point, and furnishing the means by which this once arid desert has been converted into one of the most fertile plains to be found on the face of the continent. When the Mormons entered this valley, it was like the desolate mountains over which we had passed for hundreds of miles—a perfect waste of sand and sage bush. Where they got their idea of making it a garden, sim-ply by turning the water upon it, I do not know; but within a little more than twenty years from their first emigration, they have extended a line of farms along the eastern shore of the lake, at least 60 miles in ex-tent—farms that equal in fertility the finest prairies of the East. We traversed some 35 miles of these cultivated fields, and every mile only increased our admiration of the results of this system of utilizing pure mountain water. The most beautiful crops of wheat formed the staple produc-tion—beautiful not alone because they were abundant, but because ripened and har-vested, so far as they had been gathered, without a drop of rain, the straw and the ear so bright that they shone like silver in the sun. There was nothing that struck me more forcibly in connection with the standing wheat and the stacks which had been harvested, and the straw as it had been cleaned, than this peculiar brightness. The fields of corn and sorghum were stand-ing up more luxuriant and taller than any-thing we had seen east of the Mississippi, and equal to anything we had seen in Iowa. The orchards were on every farm, and al-though not extensive, were loaded with fruit, some of it ripening, but the most in about the same stage as at the East in the same latitude. The road-side, for the greater part of the way from Uintah to Salt Lake City, was a succession of apple and peach orchards; the fruit, especially the apples, of large size, and the trees literally bending to the ground with their burdens.
At Salt Lake City, I inquired of Mr. Hooper, the delegate to Congress from Utah, in regard to the actual results of this system of farming, and he stated that there had been produced from a single acre 93 bushels of wheat, and I learned from an-other source that 900 bushels had been raised from ten acres. These, of course, were exceptional cases, and were the result of manuring, as well as irrigation, and the most careful cultivation. The seed was planted, rather than sown, and every possi-ble care taken in the cultivation. By the same system of irrigation, Salt Lake City, which had not a tree or shrub when it was first settled by the Mormons, is now one great park of locust and cottonwood trees, the former raised entirely from the seed, and the latter transplanted from the canons in the mountains. Every street has its stream of water, and every garden in its town is regularly watered under the direc-tion of commissioners.
This is certainly a wonderful change for a score of years. One cannot but admire the enterprise which has created a garden out of a vast desert, and in entering the valley at this season of fruits, we could not fail to be struck with surprise at the won-derful results which have been reached; but the amount of labor expended in pre-paring the soil for cultivation has been small compared with the toil of the early pioneers at the East, who had dreary forests to clear away before they could go to work upon the soil itself. Here the settlers had only to turn the water upon the soil and the work was almost done.
This is the outside—the surface of Mor-mondom. The plague-spot of Mormonism, the corrupt system of delusion, imposition and iniquity, I shall speak of in my next.
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