LETTER FROM UTAH.
Correspondence Cincinnati Commercial.
The Last Railroad Line—How the Saints are Gulled—Gambling Houses and Their Cappers—Brigham City—Feeling of the Mormons for the Gen-tiles—How a (Gentile Can Dispose of Himself—The Mormon Church—Track Laying, &c.
CORINNE STATION, May l, 1869.
The land around this town is very fertile, al-though perfectly wild and unbroken; save here and there a log house, with dirt roof, and plas-tering and "pointing" indicates habitation, there is but one or two small farms in the vicinity. The town is built of tents, has a quasi-corpora-tion, a floating population of fifteen hundred or two thousand souls, and claims to be the place for business, as it is the most accessible point on the road for Mon tana and Idaho, which is all very true. It was laid out on the western side of Bear River, by the railroad company, and lots sold amounting to $35,000. There appears to have been some misunderstanding on the part of the officers of the road, as the town is on one side of the river and the side tracks on the oth-er, and at least two miles apart. Persons taking freight to Corinne have to haul it, at a cost of six dollars for a two-horse team per load, from the side tracks over to the town. A great many are growing very indignant toward the com- pany, having paid a high price for lots, a high price for freight ($1,180 a car from Omaha,) have suffered delays, disappointments, &c., and now have to be at nearly $100 extra expense to get goods across the river.
The General Superintendent told the people they should have a side track at the town. " A small spur has been put in, and there the work stopped; for what reason I do not know, except that the Central Pacific has bought this road west of Ogden, and the officers of this company will get off with excuses for delay until the roads connect; then the transfer is to be con-summated, and this railroad will avoid the ex-pense of constructing a yard, building depot, or freight-houses, and leave the settlers to make such arrangements with the Central Pacific as they can; and as that company did not sell the lots or make any promises, it is very probable that Corinne will decline very suddenly.
Yet business is good here; there is quite a large travel through to White Pine and the Northern mines; graders, too, are coming in from work, are paid off and spending their hard-earned cash very liberally.
There are a good many large gambling-houses in town, and all appear to be doing a "driving trade."
Three-card monte and the ten-dice game is kept up day and night.
Each table has its "cappers" around, elbowing through crowds, or watching the street. If they run across a man that has "a few stamps," they approach, shake cordially, and call him by some name. If it happens to be the right name, Mr. Capper styles himself lucky to meet an old friend; if not the right name, a few cau-tious interrogations places the approacher on easier grounds, and by comparing notes, they conclude they have met before.
"Well, come up and have a drink." This will freshen the memory.
"What are you doing now?" queries the cap-per. "Nothing," is the response. They grow confidential, and in sauntering around espy a new game; new, especially to the capper. He must try his luck at it, it is a new game; and by a few successful throws he draws his unsuspect-ing victim into the game. Finally a big stake is necessary, and the capper has only about ten dollars, and can't help but win; number two must put up the balance, and they will divide the profits. Directly the money is put up. He stakes all he has with him, and the unlucky card at monte is sure to turn; or the wrong dice show themselves; and the poor dupe stands, counting them over and over, wondering how luck could change so suddenly;
The gamblers enjoy a great deal of sport when they draw a Mormon into their game, and they generally manage to gull the poor "saint" out of every thing he has.
There is no law here to protect a person against these gambling-houses, and very fre-quently when persuasive powers fail, they do not fear to resort to threats and even open vio-lence to rob their victim. They have a con-trolling power in the police force, and, if ar-rested, they do not fear justice being executed against them. Brigham City lies in full view some seven miles away. The town is built on a bench in the mouth of a canon, sheltered with mountains on three sides, but open to the south, and from its elevated position giving a splendid view of the lake and its numerous mountain islands.
The houses are not built compact, but a suffi-cient space is reserved for a garden and orchard around each house. The creek affords a supply of water which is carried along each side of every street, and really enhances the beauty of the town very much.
There are very few Gentiles living here. The Morman settlers number about two thous-and. They have a church, a school-house, and a theater where Morman actors play twice a week.
Nearly every settler has a little farm adjacent to the town, and a fence extending around the community, not fenced in separately, as we do in the States, but one fence protects the whole, and a furrow or ditch defines the limits of each one separately. Water is easily conveyed from the creek over the ground for irrigation. The Mormons are very jealous of the Gentiles; do not associate with them or deal with them when it can be avoided. And, above all, let me advise any Gentile coming to this country, not to form acquaintances with the softer sex, for this will excite all the ire that can be fomented in the protecting powers and, some very fine morning, Mr. Gentile will wake up and find him-self missing.
A great many Gentiles have disappeared very mysteriously around Salt Lake City, and, in sev-eral cases, open violence has been done in the streets in broad daylight. As a matter of course, all this is sanctioned by the heads of the Church, who exercise an absolute control over the peo-ple, both in matters of church and state.
The church has six Presidents, of which Brig-ham Young is the chief; the lesser Presidents have districts over which they preside, collect tithes, and occasionally preach. Their sermons generally consist of a series of bitter invectives against all who do not belong to the church. If any brother or sister is suspected of associating with Gentiles, they are reprimanded and for-bidden doing so any more.
A formal election is held yearly, for the officers of church, and no one durst nominate a new man save Brigham himself. And as no one but the officers convene for that purpose, they con-tinue in office until death causes a vacancy. Brigham generally concentrates all his elo-quence for these occasions, and the sermon (as he calls it) delivered at the last conference, held about a month since, is filled with the lowest, most obscene and abusive language ever deliv-ered to a congregation, swearing outright, call-ing loudly on the Almighty to damn the Gen-tiles, and assuring his good people that He would damn them; and as the mass of the Mor-mons are the poorest and most ignorant class of people from Europe, brought out at the expense of the church, from a country where the severest labor scarce afforded a miserable existence, to this country, where each and every head of a family can have at least one hundred and sixty acres, at no greater cost than cultivating a por-tion of the ground, (they are uneducated and have no records beyoud traditions,) over this class of people the Head Center exercises the most absolute control; no monarch in the world wields a more absolute sway.
Polygamy is one of the principal features of the church. Every member is entitled to three, four, or even a dozen wives. Brigham Young has twenty-eight to whom he is married in this world, and sealed to full double that number for the eternal world. They hold (or rather he tells them) that marriage is ordained in heaven—not only this, but polygamy is permitted. These marriages are made binding through the proph-et (Brigham); this is "sealing." The party that dies first must wait for the second party above. And what is very singular, a man's wife here may be sealed to another man for eternity! The marriage here does not control their sealing for above. They have very singular laws by which they are controlled in this church, and their main strength lies in ignorance. All laws have been given in the form of revelations.
The traok is laid twenty-two miles west of here. Nearly all the grading has been done, and the two roads will connect in about ten days; in fact, it could be done in two days if the grading was completed.
The Union Pacific lacks about eight miles while the Central Pacific lacks but about two miles. Three days ago the Central Pacific laid ten miles of track in one day, working about one hundred and fifty wagons distributing ties, twenty-eight iron c ars and forty horses to sup-ply the track-layers with iron (the iron being run ahead as far as possible with the engines, then unloaded and taken to the front on horse-cars,) and a force of nearly four hundred whites and at least six hundred Chinamen. The Messrs. Casements have laid seven miles on this road with less than half that force, and in less time. They regret very much that the roads are so near together that they can not beat the big day's work on the Central Pacific, but say they will lay two miles of track in less time than ever done before, and I predict they will do it.
There is a tank at the end of the track sup-plied with good, fresh water, and this is the last good water found along the road west for two hundred miles. The supply in that distance is hauled on the cars. Even the little creeks are very strong with salt. There are no habitations in that distance.
I visited the Central Pacific two or three days ago, with the intention of going through to Cali-fornia, I had letters to carry me over the road, but when I got to the first siding on the Central Pacific, I found no one that knew when the cars left for the west, and in fact could hear nothing but the noisy Chinamen. There was an Ameri-can acting as agent, who treated me in such an unsocial manner, scarcely answering at all when questions were asked, and could tell nothing, save that I would have to ride to Elcho (two hun-dred miles) on flat cars, that I abandoned my visit, got on one of Wells, Fargo & Co.'s coaches, and returned to Corinne. But I think I was amply repaid for my trouble by having such a splendid view of the lake.
I could see just as far as the eye could reach, over the blue water, into the smoky distance. The lake contains a great many islands, some very large—mountains on some of them covered with snow, which looked doubly pure, looming up out of the dark water. One island stands very prominent. This, I was told, is Church Island, and is near Salt Lake City. Here the stock collected in the way of tithes is kept; also an erring Saint is once in a while sent to this island, and left for a season to enjoy a little self-communion, and after reasoning with himself a while, is taken to the bosom of the Church again.
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