From the Far West.
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, May 28.
DEAR TIMES.- I came here from Ogden this forenoon; it is a beautiful ride by rail of about two hours in length; the road runs between the Wahsatch mountains on the left, and the lake on the right. The scenery everywhere hereabouts is magnificent; great snow-capped mountains on all sides. The earliness of the season adds effect to them, as there is much more snow on them than there will be in a month or two, and this makes them look higher and grander. Really, they are not high, even for American mountains; scarcely one in the whole Wahsatch range is more than 10,000 feet above the sea, and they are timbered to the top.
The wonderful clearness of the air on these high tablelands destroys, at first much of the effect of the scenery. People from the East think five miles as one, and five thousand feet altitude as one thousand feet, and appreciate the scenery accordingly. It is only after travelling about among the mountains and learning how to estimate distances and heights, that they appreciate the full grandeur of these mountains. That was my experience; but before I had been among the mountains of Colorado a fortnight, I knew to what immense distances the eye can reach. I am stopping at the Great Western Hotel; my window faces the east and gives me a view of a range of hills rising probably from three to five thousand feet above me, the highest and most distant being perhaps ten miles off; but still, without a glass, I can make out the trees on the very top.
All the way out on the Union Pacific road. Beecher and I have been enjoying discussions, with the other members of the party, on the judgment of distance, they of course, always judging too low. Yester-day morning Bradley proposed that some of the crowd climb the mountain to the east of us, a great snowy mountain, but timbered to the top. "How high is it?" he was asked, "About nine hundred feet;" Having said, one thousand feet, Beecher laughed at them, and said twenty-two hundred feet, I said twenty five hundred, and that it would require all day to go up and down. Bradley ridiculed Beecher and me, and started with nearly all the party. They set out at nine o'clock, expecting, so Bradley said, to reach the top in an hour. About four in the afternoon two of the party ap peared; they had been travelling steadily for several hours, and didn't get half way up. At eight in the evening Beecher returned, pretty well used up, having reached an attitude of 8500 feet above the valley, which was about two thirds of the distance to the summit. At half past ten, Bradley and Coulter came in, terribly fatigued; they had succeeded in reaching the summit, five thousand feet above the valley, at half past six in the afternoon, having been nine hours and thirty minutes on the way. Such is the deception of this clear atmosphere.
Another curious thing, which I have heard of as occurring in Arizona, but have never seen before to-day, is a sort of mist, or it may be dust, which lies low on the plains, cutting off the range of vision, so that the details of the lower parts of distant mountains are much obscured, while the upper two thirds are very distinct. This is, in Arizona, very marked, so that it interferes with photographing distant objects. It is very apparent in this Salt Lake valley.
Now for the "City of the Saints" and its environs. The valley is very large. There are several villages in it. Ogden being one of them. The valley is, I think, shut in by mountains on the east and west an very high, about five thousand feet above the valley, which is, on an average four thousand feet above the sea. The lake is of an intensely deep blue color. The city is in the bottom of the valley, and reaches up on terraces on the east side. It is regularly laid, and contains plenty of shade trees. The houses are of wood, bricks, rubble, stone, and adobe. The streets are broad, with little streams running in gutters on each side. The Tabernacle, I can compare to nothing but a big turtle; that describes it better than anything else. Brigham's establishment (the "Beehive") is in the center of the city; it consists of a collection of stone and adobe buildings, enclosed by a stone wall, ten or twelve feet. Here, as far as my observation goes, are not only his harem, but his offices, telegraph and medical, and even his barber's shop etc., etc. The whole country is irrigated, and literally blossomed like the rose. If the site of the city originally resembled the uncultivated country around, he has wrought wonders, for a more desolate waste of sage brush and buffalo grass, was never made into arable land; I can see why Brigham was allowed success. Bad as the Mormon doctrine is, and bad as he is, he, has done much good to the world, and now that his mission is accomplished, his power is departing.
I came here to get Brigham Young's permission to use his Observatory for my lon-gitude work, to get permission of the Western Union Co., to use their wires, and to see what outfit we could get from Camp Douglass, which is about two miles east of the city. Mr. N. P. Langford of Montana, whom I met yesterday, has done the last errand I called at the "President's" house this morning, but he was out of town; I shall probably see him to-morrow.
To return to the city. It would amuse you to see the signs in these towns. Co-operative stores are very abundant; the correct signs for this genus is as follows:
HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
[The allseeing eye.]
"Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Estab-lsshment" or "Female Co-operative Establishment."
One man proudly calls himself, John Smith, the Apostate.
The women here are plain, homely, and some are even ugly; I have not seen one that would pass muster in the east; the men, Mormons, I mean, look animal, stolid, ignorant. Everyone dresses very plainly; it is wonderful what influence the "Prophet" has over the people; whatever he preaches they obey.
I shall have somewhat to say of Brigham Young, and my interview with him in some future letter. M. E.
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