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A Visit to Nauvoo.
On Friday last we paid a visit to the fa-mous city of Nauvoo, and having spent the greater portion of Friday and Saturday there, propose jotting down a few notes in relation to what we saw. But first it may be proper for us to present a few his-torical facts in relation to the
EARLY HISTORY OF MORMONISM.
We are mainly indebted to a work entiti tled "Illinois as it is," for the historical incidents which we propose presenting to our readers. In the year 1840 the sect started and headed by Joe Smith, styling themselves “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," first began to figure in the history of the West, and Illinois and Missouri in particular. In Palmyra, New York, Joe Smith became acquainted with one Sidney Rigdon. Smith and Rigdon con-certed a story that golden plates had been dug up near Palmyra, with inscriptions in miraculous characters, which none but those inspired by God could read, giving an account of the destinies of the ten lost tribes of Israel, their wanderings through Asia, and their settlement in America, where Christ came to preach to them the doctrine of salvation, and was crucified as he had been in Jerusalem. The plates then con-tinued the history of these early American christians, until the time when God, pro-voked by their great wickedness, determin-ed to exterminate them by causing the Lamanites, the heathen of America, and the Nephites, the christians, to make war upon each other. A battle was fought be-tween the two parties, in which millions were killed on either side. The Nephites were annihilated with the exception of Mormon and Moroni and a few others, all of them righteous men, who were permitted by the Lord to make good their escape, and afterward directed by him to inscribe the history of these miraculons events on plates of gold, and bury them in the earth, where they were to remain until they should be brought to the knowledge of mankind four-teen centuries afterward.
At the time he formed an acquaintance with Sidney Rigdon, the prophet, according to his own statements, had profoundly me-ditated on religious matters, and had espe-cially been very anxious about the salvation of his soul. He had seen innumerable sects and doctrines, all professing to teach the knowledge of the true way to heaven; and this truth had taken hold of his mind with irresistible force, that God could only be the author of one doctrine, and that all the sects he had seen, were very far from follow-ing the same. He searched and examined the Scriptures, devoutly believing what he read; and he became aware, that one ought to apply to God himself, who would be wil-ling to diffuse light through the darkness, by revealing unto the true believer his own divine will. He therefore retired from the noise and confusion of the world to a soli tary place, near his father's house, where he addressed fervent prayers to the "Most High." Whilst he was praying, suddenly a light began to descend towards him, which by the time it had reached the tops of the trees, illuminated the whole country around. It then descended towards the earth till it enveloped him, when two brilliant persona-ges stood at once before him, and informed him that his sins were forgiven, that none of the Churches existing on earth followed the doctrine of God, but that he himself, at some future time, would be instructed in the full knowledge of it.
On the 23d of September, 1823, the prophet had another vision. Whilst he was devoutly praying to God, a light purer and more brilliant than the light of day itself, burst into his room, apparently consuming the whole house with fire, and shaking his body as by an ague, causing him to be trans-ported with bliss, and to sink into an un-speakable rapture. On a sudden, a glori-ous personage appeared before him, in a snow white garment without a seam, diffu-sing a light around him surpassing in its splendor even that of the first. This super-natural being announced himself as an an-gel, bringing the glorious tidings unto him, that his prayers had been agreeable to the Lord, that his sins were forgiven, that God's covenant with Israel was about to be fulfilled, and that the millenium of the true Gospel and of universal bliss and happiness had arrived. The angel then told him the history of the Indians, who were the des-cendants of those ten tribes of Israel settled in America, which had been almost exter-minated on account of their awful wickedness; that the holy records of these events had been safely deposited beyond the reach of the wicked, and that he was the chosen servant of God to bring them to light and to disclose their miraculous contents unto all mankind.
The angel then disappeared, but returned several times afterwards, instructing him, where the holy records were to be found, telling him no take them away and com-mence the work of God on earth. The pro-phet went to the place indicated, and dis-covered them on a hill, with hieroglyphical characters, the plates being very thin, and fastened together by three rings, composing altogether a volume of six inches in thick-ness. He also found in the same box two stones of surpassing transparency, the Urim and Thummim, used by ancient seers to discern things past or future.
As the admiring prophet, filled by the Holy Ghost, was about to remove these treasures, the angel appeared again to him, and said, “Look!" and he saw the devil, surrounded by an immense train of his as-sociates.
After receiving further instructions from the angel, he started home, but was attack-ed by two scoundrels, and barely escaped with his life. He then moved to Pennsyl vania, where, with the aid of inspiration and of the Urim and Thummim, he com-menced translating the plates, finishing a part of the book of Mormon, which con-tained the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as he had preached it in America, and was des-tined to restore pristine Christianity, and convert the Gentiles, and even the Jews themselves, to the faith. The disciples, who flocked to the prophet, pretended to have the gift of prophecy, and that of tongues, and, as during the times of the early Christian Church, so now were mira-cles wrought, as, for example, the cure of diseases. Many of the followers of the prophet solemnly certified before the pub-lic, to the effect that they had seen the plates, and the engravings thereon, which were of a curious workmanship; and that these plates had been brought before their eyes by an angel from heaven, as also God had revealed to them, that they were trans-lated by his own divine power.
Within a short time, Joe Smith and his apostles had made many converts, who, on the 6th day of April, 1830, formed them-selves into a Church, in Manchester, in the State of New York, whence they removed to Jackson county, Missouri; here they built the town of "Independence." They claimed, that not only the country, but the whole world belonged to them, as the saints of the Lord. Such arrogance could not be endured. The Missourians ducked some of these vain pretenders in the river, tarred and feathered several, killed others, and for-ced the residue to remove to the county of Clay, on the opposite side of the Missouri. The prophet, however, established himself at Kirtland, in Ohio, where, in 1836, a very large assembly of the “Saints" was held, at which it was announced "that the Work of God had greatly increased in America, and in England, Scotland, Wales, and the islands of the sea." A bank was started by the prophet, called “The Kirtland Safety Bank," of which he himself was the president. This bank soon failed for a large a-mount; its failure, the Cause of which could be clearly traced to a want of integrity on the part of the prophet, inflamed the people of the town and its vicinity with such a de-gree of resentment against him, that the prophet, afraid to get himself into trouble, removed, with his apostles, elders, and the saints, to the remotest north-west corner of Missouri. Were their arrogance and presumption speedily made them many enemies. Their leaders refused to acknowledge the authority of the government of Missouri. Sidney Rigdon, in a fourth of July speech, delivered before the Mormons, openly pro-claimed, that the prophet had resolved no longer to submit to the Missourian Govern-ment. Rupture having now become inevi-table, both parties determined to settle their differences by the edge of the sword. A battle was fought between the Mormons and a body of Missourians, under Major Bo-gart, in which the former were totally de-feated; this, however, did not prevent them from plundering the towns of their enemies. At last, Gov. Boggs called out the militia, with strict orders to expel the Mormons from the State at the point of bayonet, if necessary. The Mormons were speedily surrounded, and forced to surren-der; all were dismissed, upon giving pro-mise to leave the State, with the exception of their leaders, who were arrested and committed to prison, but managed to es-cape beyond the boundaries of the State, before they could be brought to trial.
The whole body of the Mormons removed to Illinois in the years 1839 and 1840, being kindly received as sufferers in the cause of their religion, and permitted to settle at a place on the banks of the Mississippi, in the upper part of the county of Hancock, where they soon built a city. To this they gave the name of Nauvoo; it was scattered over some six square miles, part of it being built upon the flat skirting the river side, but the greater part upon the bluffs east of the ri-ver, on the brow of which, commanding a view of the country for 20 miles around, in Illinois and Iowa, towered the great temple pie to the Mormons.
MORMON REIGN IN NAUVOO.
The Democratic party, anticipating that the Mormons—there being some fifteen thousand of them in Nauvoo—would control a very strong united vote, catered to secure it, just as they will with the negroes, if the right of suffrage is ever bequeathed to them —and secured from the Legislature of Illi nois, charters incorporating Nauvoo under the government of a Mayor, 4 Aldermen, and 9 Councillors, with power to pass ordi-nances; and also incorporating the Militia of Nauvoo into a military legion, called the “Nauvoo Legion," which was to be inde pendent of the State Militia—also incorpo-rating a great hotel, to be called the “Nau-voo House," in which the Prophet and his heirs were to possess a suite of rooms forev-er. Under these charters, a City Govern-ment was formed, with Joe Smith as Mayor, —the Legion was created, with Joe as Com-mander-in-Chief—and the mammoth hotel was commenced, under Joe Smith's auspi-ces.
A great deal of trouble ensued between the authorities of Mo. and Illinois, Smith being demanded several times by the Gov-ernor of the former State as a fugitive from justice. He was once arrested on a requi sition, and brought before Judge Douglass, and by him discharged, for which judicial act the Mormons always held the Judge in high esteem. In '42, the Mormons in Han-cock Co., numbered about 20,000. In the Spring of '44, Joe Smith was announced as a candidate for the Presicency, and 3000 missionaries were dispatched in every di-rection to electioneer for him. About this time Joe attempted to make the wife of Law —one of his apostles—his spiritual mistress. Law failed to see the spiritual ne-cesity of this movement, and in revolting, created a division among the saints. The disaffected established a Press, and waged a war of argument against Joe and his ad-herents. But they were soon driven from Nauvoo, and took refuge in Carthage. The Press of the seceding Mormons having been destroyed by order of Joe, the aggrieved called upon the Governor of Illinois to ar-rest and punish the offender for destroying the palladium of their liberties. Gov. Ford acted upon the petition, and called out the militia, when Joe, deeming ''discretion as the better part of valor," surrendered, and with his brother, and two or three others, was put in the Carthage jail. While a vol-untary prisoner, awaiting a legal examina-tion, his cell-room was broken into by a mob, his brother instantly killed, and Joe, after shooting down three of his assailants, jumped from a window to the ground. The fall stunned him, and before he could rise, the conspirators below dispatched him by firing four musket balls through his body.
The death of their prophet stupefied the Mormons for a time. Rigdon, assumed the successorship, but as he advocated evacua-ting Nauvoo before the people were prepared to listen to such suggestion, Brigham Young, taking advantage of the unpopular-ity of Rigdon, defeated him, ingratiated himself into their confidence, and to this day has been recognized as the head and front of the church.
By this time the anti-Mormon feeling in Illinois was intense, and the authorities felt bound to take action in order to keep down a civil war. The Mormons realizing their weakness to cope with their enemies, then promised to leave the State, and according-ly made their arrangements for removal in the spring of 1846.
NAUVOO AS IT NOW APPEARS.
Of the temple which the Mormons com-pleted, but very little now remains. Orig-inally it was a splendid, piece of architec-ture. In the basement hall was a large baptismal font, embellished with life-sized oxen of pure marble—a large and spacious reception room—magnificent audience room altar, pews, &c. Situated as Nauvoo is, with the Mississippi river half encircling it, the temple must have presented a very im-posing appearance. In '44 the population of Nauvoo was some 20,000—now it is but 2,200. But a portion of one of the columns of the temple now remains, and that will be tern down ere long. The Icarians pur-chased the temple from the Mormans, but it was soon afterward burned down by some vandal, and a Mr. Dornsiff purchased the remains and the beautiful ground upon which it was situated for $600, and has al-ready sold some $3,000 worth of marble, and designs transforming the ground into a vineyard. Almost all the houses in Nau-voo are of Mormon construction. Near the river bank is the first story of the hotel which Smith commenced. The basement is 100 feet long by 50 feet deep. The story above the basement is built of fine pressed brick, with marble steps and caps.
MORMONISM NOW IN NAUVOO.
Until of late Mormonism in Nauvoo, since its collapse in '46, has been consid-ered extinct. But recently Joseph Smith, Jr. has assumed the leadership of the church, and is likely to interfere with the success of Brigham Young. Joe S., Jr. re-sides in a cottage near the riv-er bank, di-agonally opposite the hotel, of which his mother is the hostess. He is unlike his father in many respects, being a very unas-suming man, but is possessed of a good in-tellect and sound sense. He studied law with Hon. Wm. Kellogg, of Canton, Ill., but does not practice. He is a Justice of the Peace in Nauvoo, and is said to be a very impartial one. He is recognized by many thousands of the Mormons as the regular and legitimate apostolic successor of his father. While we were at Nauvoo he re-turned from a conference of Mormons. We were introduced to him by his step-father, Maj. Bidamon, and were very favorably im-pressed by him. Had he the pluck and au-dacity of his father, Brigham Young would soon be left alone with his 68 wives. As it is, Missionaries are in Utah, and ere long Salt Lake City will be as Nauvoo now is, the historical fountain head of Mormonism. We learn that young Joe Smith's belief is diametrically opposed to that of Brigham Young, inasmuch as he entirely ignores the theory of a plurality of wives, and in-sists that his father never contemplated that it would be engrafted into the Mormon creed. Our readers may rest assured that young Joe will yet create quite a sensation in the religious (?) world.
MRS. JOE SMITH.
This lady is now the wife of Maj. L. C. Bidamon, and notwithstanding her eventful career, is yet quite hale and hearty looking. She has probably passed through more try-ing vicissitudes than any lady living. Time appears to have dealt kindly with her, and has left but few traces upon her counten-ance. Her husband is the proprietor of the "Mansion House," and the traveller cannot but feel at home under its roof.
GRAPE CULTURE AND VINEYARDS.
We were surprised at the great amount of ground laid out in vineyards at Nauvoo, and the number of wine-cellars there. The quality and position of the soil there are peculiarly adapted to the culture of the grape. Land in the neighborhood of Nau-voo, adapted to the growth of grapes, has been sold at public auction at from $75 to $100 per acre. About 200 acres are now bearing grapes, and about 400 more have been set. It is said that the grape growers of Nauvoo realized from last season's crop of wine, $75,000. One of the wine manu-facturers informed us that the cost of set-ting, trenching, &c, an acre of grape land would be about $125, and that from an acre of grapes 400 gallons of wine could be real-ized. Wine finds a ready market at $2 per gallon, hence it will be seen that a very large profit can be made from the business.
We visited in company with Mr. Morrill, of Nauvoo, the wine cellars of Messrs. Au-gust Beger, and John Bauer, and tasted the wines of both. The cellar of the latter is about 50x25 feet, and is filled with cask holding some 800 gallons each of pure wine and catawba brandy. His yield is from 700 to 1300 gallons of wine per year, ac-cording to the season. Mr. Berger's yield last year was 900 gallons of wine. He also manufactures brandy, which we pronounced good. There are other cellars in Nauvoo, but time would not permit our visiting them. Strangers from all quarters are set-tling in Nauvoo quite freely, and ere long the reputaiion of that city for grapes and wine will be as extended as it formerly was for Mormons.
On Friday evening, hearing that there was to be a Union meeting, we attended, and to our surprise was called upon for a speech. We gave the good people of the city the best we had on hand, and was fol-lowed by Col. E. P. Wood, of this city, in a masterly effort, which aroused the audi-ence and refreshed it. We hope ere long to attend another meeting of the same sort, as per invitation. Ever since the days of Mor-monism, the natives have clung to the name "Democracy," and as a consequence Cop-perheadism is rank there. But the Union element is growing, and we hope ere long to hear of its entire redemption.
We will refer in our next to Icarianism, a species of socialism which followed Mor-monism in Nauvoo, the leaders of which sect purchased the temple from the Mor-mons, and finally "petered out," but space forbids in this issue. We have now but time to tender our thanks to Mr. Morrill, Maj. Bidamon, Messrs. Bauer, and Beger, and others, for their polite attentions to us on our late visit to Nauvoo, and trust that we may all live to renew our acquaintance.
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