Rock Island, Illinois.
[Correspondence of the Herald.]
ROCK ISLAND, ILLINOIS, May 29, 1844.
The Home of Black Hawk—Politics—Great Flare up among the Mormons—Attempt to Assassinate Joe Smith—The Prophet Indicted for Perjury and Adultery—Joe Smith's Egyptian Mummy—Joe Reads Hieroglyphics "like a book"—Wea-ther, Crops, &c , &c.
This place, beautifully situated near the mouth of Rock River, on the banks of the Mississippi, and about 300 miles above St. Louis, is the scene of Black Hawk's career, and that of his forefathers. Here they passed their summers and autumns, in tilling, fishing and hunting; and their winters were whiled away among the buffalo regions in a milder latitude. Their corn-hills and graves are still visi-ble on the banks and bluffs of Rock River, and some remains of their wig-wams and huts yet iden-tify their favorite haunts. They were, however, driven out of this lovely spot, and destroyed! Their dwellings were desolated and mostly devoured by the flames of their enemies; but the hills and val-lies—the rich bottoms and fertile plains—which, but a few years since, were only trod by the savage and the beast, and rung with the howling of the one and the war-whoop of the other, are now vocal with the voice of civilization arid dotted with handsome human dwellings. This is a healthy region, and possesses some local advantages that are unequalled in the valley of the Mississippi. Three miles from its mouth, Rock River, a stream larger than the Housatonic, passes over a rapid of sufficient height to admit of the whole volume of the river being used for hydraulic purposes; thereby affording an available water power nearly equal to that at Low-ell. Three miles again, up the Mississippi,—that river being there divided by Rock Island, on which stands Fort Armstrong, passes over a consi-derable rapid; so that the greater part of the left branch of the stream is rendered available for mill purposes. Both of these valuable mill privileges have, to some extent, been already improved; and though centrally situated in the finest agricultural region that I have ever seen, there is no water-power within sixty or seventy miles on either hand, that can be brought into competition with them; consequently, this is destined, at no distant day, to become a place of much importance.
Rock Island is now hustling with the multifa-rious members of a whig congressional convention, which meets here to-day for the purpose of nomi-nating a member for this district, which embraces sixteen counties, including also that of Hancock, the seat of the Mormons. Hancock has the larg-est population of any county in this congressional district, and is entitled to send to this convention twenty delegates; but, up to this time, not one has arrived from that county, nor are any expected. Hitherto, for several years last past, Joe Smith and his deluded victims, have controlled the elections in this district, and have generally gone with the democratic party. The whigs, however, are now holding up their heads a little more complacently, on account of a rupture among the Saints of Nau-voo, which is likely to result rather seriously to the interests of the prophet, in hopes, through the schism that exists in that hot-bed of lustual abomi-nations, to get at least a part of the votes of Joe's followers, and thereby be enabled to elect their candidate. How much ground they have on which to found their faith in this matter, I am unable to say; but the non-arrival of delegates from Hancock county cannot certainly be construed favorably to the whig cause. That the Mormons are just now in a "terrible stew," is quite apparent. Besides the secession of ten or twelve hundred of Joe's followers, who have actually withdrawn from the community, there is now an open rebellion against the authority of the prophet in the "Holy City," and Joe, a few days since, came near losing his life by the hands of an assassin. A part of the Mormons, guided chiefly by the council of General Law, an influential member of that notable sect of religionists, have taken up the cudgel of scandal against Joe, and unequivocally declare that the prophet has fallen from grace, and is no longer the favorite of the Lord, nor the faithful exponent of their religious and political views. They have proceeded so far in their persecution, as to have had Joe actually indicted for the crimes of perjury and adultery! For several days after the finding of these indictments, officers were in pursuit of the prophet for the purpose of arresting him. Joe, how-ever, eluded their vigilance successfully, and took time to prepare himself, as is supposed, with wit-nesses to swear down all the charges preferred against him, and then called the people together, and in a long speech, addressed them upon the sub-ject, declaring his ability and determination not only to clear himself effectually from the vile slanders of his enemies, but to convict them of the same crimes which are alleged against him with the additional peccadillos of theft, incest, and murder! With this declara-tion on his lips, Joe mounted his horse and set out, with an escort of twenty "faithful witnesses," all armed for Carthage, where the Court is now in session—before which he is, forthwith, to be ar-raigned. How this matter will turn out, is a sub-ject of no little speculation in "these here diggins;" though many are inclined to the belief that Joe will, as heretofore, find means to slip through the loose fingers of the law. When we touched at Nauvoo yesterday, on our way up the Mississippi, there was a "power of excitement" among the brethren, and business was generally suspended, for the purpose of discussing more conveniently the weighty matters touching the welfare of their spiritual leader. The building of the temple is, however, moderately progressing; and Joe is out in pamphlet form with his "views on the Consti-tution of the United States," of which he modestly purposes to become President! He lashes poor Matty Van Buren most unmercifully; and all the other prominent candidates for the Presidency come in for a "slight sprinkling" of abuse. The most funny bit of Joe's humbuggery is his pre-tended ability to read Egyptian hieroglyphics. He has somehow or other obtained an old mummy which he palms off upon the saints of Nauvoo for the embalmed body of one of the ancient kings of Egypt. On the breast of this mummy he found a manuscript in the symbolical language of that country, which he "reads like a book:" and avers unequivocally, that it was written by the patriarch Abraham, and has a very important reference to the book of Mormon, and especially relates to his, (Joe's) "revelations." This is almost as laugh-able as Glidden's lectures, and the inflated preten-sions of that genius to a profound knowledge of the same mysterious science. It is probable that Joe and Glidden stand about upon a par in refer-ence to their knowledge of hieroglyphics; though in all other respects Joe is certainly a good deal the cleverest humbug,
I have just returned from the Whig Convention, which has resulted in the unanimous nomination of M. D. Sweet, Esq., of Stephenson county, for the candidate of the Whig party in the Sixth Congres-sional District of this State. He is now addressing the convention in an impassioned strain of Western eloquence. He curses Martin Van Buren, praises Henry Clay, and eulogises log cabins "to kill" One might suppose from his account of those edifi-ces, that to live in a log cabin is the next thing to entering the Kingdom of Heaven. He says "he was bred in a log cabin, raised in a log cabin, educated in a log cabin, and always lived in a log cabin." The probability is that he will not be obliged to sacrifice the comfort of his log cabin for an unpleasant seat in Congress; though his friends will do all they can to elect him; and the Whigs in Illinois are, as everywhere else, very well united. Clay will receive a hearty support here next fall; and should Martin Van Buren unfortunately be-come the nominee of the Democratic party, Clay will carry the State. The same kind of machinery in political movements, obtains here, 2000 miles from the seaboard, as is brought into play for similar purposes in the Atlantic cities. Women, trumpets, fiddles, songs, and banners, embellish and enliven the scene, and add, in a striking manner, to the general effect.
The season has been rather wet, corn is conse-quently rather backward, though better this than last year this time. Wheat never looked better than now. The country is, hereabouts, going on prosperously, and Illinois will yet come out all right. C.
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