ANNA AMONG THE MORMONS.
Visit of Miss Anna Dickinson to Salt
Lake City—Her impressions of Po-lygamy—Naughty Men and Slavish Women—She is Ashamed of Her Sex
and Wants to Die—Women Must
Ride Astride Hereafter.
[From the San Francisco Chronicle, September 7.]
The audience that attended Miss Dickinson's lec-ture at the Metropolitan Theatre, on Sunday evening, was in marked contrast to that of the evening before at Platt's Hall. With the exception of the upper gallery, the house was crowded with an intelligent and appreciative audience, whom, as Miss Dickin-son afterwards said, "it was a pleasure to lecture to." At 8:15 o'clock, accompanied by her brother, the Rev. J. Dickinson, the lecturer made her ap-pearance and commenced as follows: ''See Rome and die," is an old and well-known proverb. ''See Salt Lake City and live," is the new proverb of the day. Live to work and work earnestly. And I know full well that the matter of labor is not com-mended in this world as it ought to be, particularly where one tries to reform it. Take the world easily and let it move on its destined course. Think you that God will do all the work and let us lay idle here below? Out, here, on these California plains, are oases and patches of vegetation, manzanita wood and barren, profitless herbage. There are places, up and down all the Pacific coast, where God has made beautiful gardens and perfect paradises without the hand of man being used at all in them. But for that reason man must not be idle and wait. We must all work, more or less, each in his place.'' Stand still and see the salvation of God," may do very well for these who have worked, who have lived with profit. But ''stand by and see the salvation of God," is blasphemy for the man who lets his hands hang idle at his sides and does nothing. And why, my friends here to-night, should we think we must not work to help mankind and our fellow creatures generally? As I trod the streets of this new Sodom, the thoroughfares of this City of the Plains, this oasis in a desert, and as I saw the faces of the men and women of the city, and saw the brutality and debasement of their na-tures that was stamped on them, and as I saw little children growing up amid all the wickedness of this great city, I stood still and cried out, with my heart if not with my lips, "Oh, God! inspire us all, that we may work for the reform and good of our fellow creatures and the amelioration of such things as these!"
It was at the close of a lovely day in June—one of those grand evenings on the Plains—that I saw them stretching their golden expanse away as far as the eye could reach, and saw that sapphire sea reflecting the sapphire sky above, and, away off from the city, those grand mountains with the ever-gleaming, bril-liant snow shining above them all; while, amid all this glowing scene lay that plague spot. Salt Lake City—a foul blot on nature's face, a whitened sep-ulchre without; and within, what? A beautiful town, indeed, it is, with its broad, cool, clean streets; with its little streams of water in all their mountain freshness and icy coldness, so pare and clear that, paradoxical as it may seem to you, one can stoop down and get a most refreshing drink of the purest water from the gutter itself. With its picturesque scenery, its beautiful buildings, its little adobe huts and all, it is a beautiful city in the desert, a lovely and pleasant spot to come and feast one's eyes with after a journey across the arid wastes. "By their fruits ye shall know them," said the Master of old, and by its fruits ye shall know Mormonism, and whether what you see at Salt Lake City is any better or any worse than, what is to be seen any day in San Francisco or New York. True, in Salt Lake there is no noise, no drunkenness, no gambling, no riots, but order and quiet day and night. There are no churches save one, and what a one is that. The children you see playing in the streets are debased, wretched, unhealthy-looking, bearing in their countenances the impress of the most brutal passions of men.
A MORMON FAMILY—MR. SMITH AND THE MRS. SMITHS.
I called at a house there and I sat do in in the par-lor, and in came a man and woman.''Miss Dick-inson, my wife Mrs. Smith," and in came another woman, "my wife Mrs. Smith," and in came an-other, "my wife Mrs. Smith"—(laughter)—and so on through a whole lot of them, all "my wife Mrs. Smith;" and not one of these women came in as the happy wife or mother, or as the mistress of that home, but all slunk in with a debarred servile air, looking like tolerated slaves rather than any-thing else. One of them told me that she had six children, another that she had twelve, and another that she had fifteen—(laughter)—and half of all them were dead, and I looked at the other half, and when I saw the wretched unhealthy creatures, I cried, "My God, the hand of death is on them too."
I went to the theatre. I went expecting to be dis-gusted, but I was more than that. There were women all around me, and I would see one man here and another there, and each bending over ten or fifteen women, and I was told they were his wives; and as I looked around and saw these women and their degradation, such a sense and feeling of shame and despair came over me that I cried, "Oh! God, let me die where I stand;" and then the second thought came, and I said, "Oh no, let me not die, for that would be cowardly indeed, but give me strength to withstand and do battle against this."
NAUGHTY GENTILE VISITORS.
I came out to Salt Lake City with the best men in the country—men whom the country delights to honor and reverence—and, as we all knew we were coming to Salt Lake City, we naturally talked a great deal about it, and what do you think was the tenor of these men's conversation. Why, after I had listened for some time, I thought I should pray for deafness or cotton to put in my ears. They thought Mormonism a fine institution; it must be a jolly place where a man can have a dozen or two of wives and yet be respectable. It must be jolly to live in a place where divorces can be had for five dollars, and where, if you get tired of your wife, you can tack on a pretty little Mormon and no one can say a word to you. Nice conversation for respect-able men, and all of them married but two, and they were the best behaved of the lot. ''Oh, it was only a joke." Well, suppose it was a joke. Sup-posing a lot of respectable married women were to talk in the cars and say, "Oh! it's a fine institution, Mormonism. You can have a dozen husbands, and get divorced any time you want for $5. When you get tired of your husband you get rid of him, shove him to one side and get the best looking young Mor-mon you find." Now, what would people think who heard them speaking that way, even if "it all was a joke"? Why, they would think them women who were lost to all sense of dignity and honor.
When I got to Salt Lake City they were serenad-ing. It wasn't me they were doing it to—(laughter)—but they were serenading some of the big-wigs that had come along; and then those ''respectable" men got out and made speeches. Such speeches! They didn't know I was listening to them, but we women hear a great deal more, and are sharp enough to be awake a great deal oftener, when anything is going on, than we get credit for. I was at my window listening to them, and there I heard one honorable Congressman and well-known Representative stand up and pledge himself, and pledged his companions, to do their utmost to support and care for the inter-ests of these people.
AT BRIGHAM'S TABERNACLE—A WELL-KNOWN CLERGY-MAN AMONG THE MORMONS.
I went into the Tabernacle, and I expected to be disgusted there, too, and I was. There, seated in the midst of a lot of "elders," was a reverend gen-tleman, a well-known and much talked-of divine with a white necktie—the Rev. Thomas Todd—and while I was there this most reverend gentleman stood up and he made a speech, and he told a little story in which, if he didn't directly illustrate it, at any rate he gave the Inference that Mormons were just as eligible for heaven as any one else. And all this was just a type of how the world outside treat of Mormonism and gloss over its abuses.
SHAMEFUL INDIFFERENCE OF CONGRESS.
Congress has no time; its committees have no time. But they have time to scamper across the Continent, and spend public money in seeing sights and doing nothing. And there are the newspapers, they have no time; their columns are filled with any trash or stuff, but not a word on this. And in the pulpits, day after day, the clergymen who fill them speak on religion and reform, but not a word do they say on this. And the women of the land, they know it; they know how their sex are debased and de-graded in this second Sodom, and with all the influ-ence and power that women possess, if they only choose to use it, they do nothing; they sit in elegance and comfort, and they say not a word.
SLAVERY OF MORMON WOMEN.
I asked why, and simultaneously with the ques-tion came the answer and I saw why. In this second Sodom—this Salt Lake City—is sanctioned openly what is tolerated in San Francisco and New York. The idea is nothing more than this: that wo-man is man's property ail over the world, his to hold and to keep, sue to be humble and to serve and he to be indisputable lord and master. I stand here to say to you to-night, to you men who listen to me, that a woman is just as individ-ual and responsible and capable of action for herself as a man. I stand here to enter my protest as a woman against such a blasphemy as this: "that a woman is made for a man," "that she is his property, goods, and chattels," "that beside him she is nothing—a myth." That is what is being thundered from every pulpit in every city, what every newspaper in the land says and every man. Woman is to object herself and debase her-self and humble herself and lose all her individual-ity, and if she rebels society will only increase her misery. Men want to control in everything, they want to be the masters of all. They have always had the muscle and the force, and now they want to revive the old brutality, the old serfdom and slavery that characterizes barbarous and uncivilized people.
INSIDE OF A HAREM.
In Salt Lake City I went to the house of a Mormon elder. I was told beforehand he had two wives, and that they had both lived together some fifteen years, and were perfectly happy and contented—they lived together in their house and were perfectly contented with their lot, and would not change it if they could. I was not a man. I did not believe a word of it, and so I went to see for myself. I went into their house, and it was a magnificent one. Here in San Francisco it would be a fine house, and there in Salt Lake it was a splendid one. Mag-nificent furniture, fine rooms, fine gardens, and numerous servants, I and my friends sat down in the parlor and in came one of this man's wives. She was a fine, good-looking, healthy Englishwoman, who could not speak ten words of grammatical English to save her life. I talked freely to her; there was no hindrance to that. I asked her how long she had been married. "Seventeen years." "Married here?" "No." "Married in England?" "No." "Where were you married, then?" "In St. Joseph." Her hus-band began to fidget, and sent her out to get a piece of gold, or quartz, or something of that kind. I understood it all. She came back, and couldn't find it, of course. I knew that. I tried to commence where we had broken off, and her husband immediately wanted something on the top of the house. When she got back again, I tried to commence again where we had left off, and he broke is, "Miss Dickinson came to eat strawberries and cream; now, Maria, go off and see they are ready." I understood it all. Yes, every word of it. By and by in came another sad-looking but handsome woman. I looked at her; said I at once, "Madam, you are the second wife," and so it turned out. She, also, was an English woman, and the two of them were the hand-somest women I saw at Salt Lake. But she ap-peared sad and worn. There was no "joyous happiness of married life" about her. There was a piano in the room, and in came the little girl of the house, and at once the father said something about music, and was evidently very proud of his daughter's capabilities in that line. So I asked her to play, and she did, and made a horrid din, and, under cover of the noise and din, I had my conversation with the wife. She had not understood their doctrines. I asked her: ''Did you know when you married your husband that he could, if he would, marry another woman?" "No." "Did he not tell you so at the time?" "No, he did not. Our missionaries and preachers when they go out never preach that." "So you knew nothing of it?" "Nothing at all." "But when you came here and saw it was so, were you not greatly disappointed and chagrined!" "No, I was not; I was sure my hus-band would never marry again." "But he did," said I. "Yes," she answered, and a sad, harrowed look came over her countenance. "Yes, only a year after he married again." "And do you like that? do you like him to have more wives than one?" "Oh, yes, I do! I wish he had six or seven." I saw through it all in a minute. I understood the state of that woman's mind at once. Bat I was not surprised, I looked blank and I went back on the old tack. I commenced and questioned her about her English life, and I painted the picture of the little cottage at home and the courtship, and at last the marriage to one whole-souled, honest hus-band; and how they would live together, and how she would wait at the door of their home and watch for his coming in the evening; and I asked her if she could not be happy there. And she put her hand-some hand to her face and bowed her head and cried, "Oh, my God! couldn't I!" And then it was plain, it was easy to see, now that woman really thought and felt.
Miss Dickinson's lecture was a very long one. She spoke for almost two hours, and the resume we have given above is not one-tenth of what she said. She gave a Description of her tour to the Yosemite val-ley, and commented very severely you the "ridic-ulous side saddle mode of riding" that society had imposed on her sex, and said she knew what she was talking about. She had tried both ways and she could ride with ease in the masculine style. The side-saddle style was very typical of the mode in which women go through the world; it is a one-sifted style all through; one side worn out and one side cramped and dulled from want of use. She concluded her lecture at 10:10 o'clock, amid load applause.
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