LETTER FROM SALT LAKE.
[CORRESPONDENCE OF THE UNION.]
SALT LAKE CITY, April 8, 1870.
The Mormon Conference.
In view of the situation of matters with re-gard to Utah and the Mormons, the present Conference has been looked forward to as one of more than ordinary interest. From the time of Brigham Young's return from his trip south until the opening of Conference, he had not ex-pressed himself publicly with regard to the anti-polygamy movement, and all parties—saints and sinners, Jews and Gentiles—expected that some announcement would be made during Confer-ence by some of the speakers of the policy that was intended to be pursued in the event of the passage and enforcement of the Cullom bill. All the leaders, with one exception, were pres-ent, Apostle Carrington being absent in Europe; and expectation looked with some degree of certainty to a plain statement for the guidance of the faithful, who had gathered from all parts of the Territory. But no such announcement was made.
The new Tabernacle, in which the Conference convened, is two hundred and fifty feet in length, by a hundred and fifty in width, and has a gallery newly constructed, with a front-age of four hundred feet, and extending out thirty feet. The building is considered capable of seating between eleven and twelve thousand people; and the least number at any of the meetings must have been fully ten thousand; while there were over twelve thousand present at times, on some occasions from twelve to fif-teen hundred persons being compelled to stand. Thousands had arrived from different parts of the Territory in wagons, while special arrange-ments made by the Utah Central Railroad Com-pany with the Central Pacific, enabled a great many to come from the northern counties, a long train of cars arriving every morning dur-ing the continuance of the meetings. The Con-ference opened on Thursday morning, the 5th, at ten o'clock, and continued until this after-noon. Ten meetings were held in all, two on Thursday, three on Friday, three yesterday, and two to-day.
The Character of the Speeches.
The discourses delivered were mild-mannered and gentle, treating principally on doctrinal points, manufactures, agriculture, education, temperance and kindred subjects. The speakers were Brigham Young, George A. Smith, Daniel H. Wells, Joseph Young, brother to Brigham, and the eleven Apostles present. On Friday af-ternoon Brigham Young directed a discourse on fashions, in which the “sisters" received some presidential admonition on the vanity and folly of aping the "silly and absurd fashions of the the wicked world." Bonnets of "three straws attached to a piece of ribbon;" dresses with long trains, and ditto short enough to nearly show the garter, were the objects of reproba-tion; and the ladies were invited to make their own head-dresses—bonnets and hats, and other articles of feminine attire, with less of the ap-pearance of Parisian styles than at present. The "brethren" had various and sundry items of counsel on the same subject, and the idea was strongly advanced that "the peculiar peo-ple should make their own fashions." In an-other discourse by George A. Smith, First Coun-selor and Church Historian, the superiority of agriculture and horticulture over mining, as a permanently paying occupation, was elaborated on, the historian holding that, as a rule, the men who stuck to their farms and orchards would come out ahead of those who engaged in prospecting and milling.
A Polygamy Argument.
Everybody was expecting something on po-lygamy, and in this they were not disappointed. Dr. Newman, of the Metropolitan Methodist Church in Washington, preached a sermon against polygamy some little time ago, Presi-dent Grant, Vice President Colfax, Chief Jus-tice Chase and a large number of distinguished personages being present. The discoursetreated the subject on biblical grounds, and was an ar-gument to prove that polygamy never was sanc-tioned, and that the Bible gives no support or countenance for the practice. To this Orson Pratt had written a reply, which was read on Saturday before some eleven or twelve thou-sand persons. As the document occupied an hour and ten minutes in the reading, you may excuse a want of further reference to it than the simple statement that it is an elaborate effort to prove the opposite of Dr. Newman's position. Orson Pratt is a controversialist of considerable experience; has been a missionary of Mormonism almost since the system was or-ganized; has been editor, preacher, pam-phleteer and debater in both hemispheres, and is almost entirely a self-educated man, who can sport "A.M." to his name when he chooses, having graduated. He is the chief mathemati-cian of the Mormon Church, and is generally a close and logical reasoner. His reply will be published in the East, and will likely be freely circulated among the Cabinet and members of Congress.
With the exception of a couple of references to polygamy, one of which was by Brigham Young this afternoon, in which it was held to be commanded by revelation, this was all that was said on the subject of the "twin relic." So far as sensations went, the Conference was barren of them, and the only great point of the occasion was the unusually large number of people present and their apparent unanimity of feelling.
A number of missionaries were called, their destinations being principally different countries in Europe. It is customary at these Conferences to select men and families to go and open up new country, form settlements, or strengthen those already formed. In this way the pioneer-ing and increasing of settlements in Utah has been carried on since the Mormons first came here. It was expected that a large number would be so selected this time to settle in Southern Utah, but nothing of the kind was done.
The "new movement" and Josephites saw a good chance to spread their views when the crowded streets told how the distant counties had sent their thousands to the annual gather-ing of the Mormon Church. Both wings imme-diately got out placards announcing lectures each evening during Conference—the new move-ment in the Thirteenth Ward Assembly Rooms and afterwards in the Music Hall, and the Josepites in Independence Hall. But few went to hear the latter. The former had crowded meetings, E. S. T. Harrison, W. S. Godbe and E. W. Tullidge being the principal speakers. There was some show of a discussion on Thurs-day night, as Orson Hyde, the first of the ortho-dox Apostles, attended and asked permission to speak. After a little objection it was granted, Bishop Woolley, of the ward, stating the hall would be at his service after the new move-ment meeting closed, if they declined to allow him to speak. He spoke, but as his remarks and their discourses were almost entirely on their doctrinal differences of opinion, nothing of special interest transpired.
The Coming Man Come.
The Godbeites have received the most im-portant accession to their numbers that has yet taken side with them, in the person of Amasa M. Lyman, a former Apostle of the Mormon Church and a man at one time of great prominence in the Mormon com-munity. He was disfellowshiped from the church about two years ago for holding and preaching what were called heretical doc-trines, such as Harrison and Godbe have since enunciated. He has considerable oratori-cal powers, and is by far the most influential man of the movement. It is expected that he will be the long expected "head" or President of the organization, which may become known as "Lymanites" instead of "G-odbeites." This is an important addition to the party.
Leaving religious matters: A week ago to-day, Captain W. R. Storey, United States Deputy Marshal, accompanied Joseph F. Carri-gan, a Deputy Sheriff from Nevada, to Grants-ville, forty miles west of here, to arrest A.H. Hawes, a desperado, who had murdered one Thomas Dunn, last August, in Nevada. [The particulars of this case have been given.—EDS. UNION.]
Lieutenant General Phil. Sheridan arrived at noon to-day, accompanied by Brigadier Gen-eral James W. Forsyth and Dr. M. I. Asch, U. S. A. The gallant "Phil" will visit the post at Camp Douglas to-morrow and on Tuesday start for Montana, making a very brief stay in the Capital of Utah at this time.
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