UP AND DOWN THE LAKES.
Impressions of the Trip— Mormon Trials at Detroit— King Strang and his Followers-Railroad Conspirators— Buffalo, &c.
Correspondence of The Tribune.
BUFFALO, Saturday, July 12.
A run up and down the great Lakes by one before all ignorant of their extent and grandeur, save by hear-say, creates impressions which will be life-long ; and if such a trip can be made by any one without inspiring an additional regard and pride for our country, giving additional zest to the hacknied line of the poet, "This is my own, my native land," it is only because such are less impressible than your correspondent. But imagine not I intend to trouble you with any description of the route-that has been furnished the reader a thousand times, and a thousand times better than in my power to do it. I will only say that if any of your readers desire to escape from business for a week or more in order to enjoy the trip I have mentioned, their transit from New-York to Buffalo or Dunkirk will be a brief and agreeable one, and at either point they will find "floating palaces" in readiness, glad to receive them at reasonable rates of fare. Then, once upon the blue water, (and let them avoid rum, which I am sorry to say is used ex-travagantly on the boats, and so far as my observa-tion goes is so used throughout the whole West,) they will not fail of present enjoyments, but will re-turn with lungs in more healthy condition than when they left, and experience none of the enervating ef-fects which too frequently follow the rounds of dis-sipation and unhealthy excitements of the so-called "watering places."
The traveler will find it pleasant to tarry a few days at Detroit or Cleveland on his return. Stopping at the former place a short time, I dropped in to the U. S. District Court, Judge Wilkins, of Pennsylvania, presiding, where the Mormons, from Beaver Island, were on trial. They were on trial at this time for obstructing the U. S. Mail, but other indictments were pending against them, as I was told. On this indictment they were acquitted. "King Strang" assisted his counsel, Mr. McReynolds, in the defense, and rendered, I should judge, quite valuable aid. He is a man between 30 and 40 years of age, plain and unassuming in his apparel and manner, (as all "apostles" should be,) and pos-sessed of considerable talent and shrewdness. A sort of sing-song sanctimonious twang which he has procured to be attached to his voice renders his speech very unpleasant, however. But he can see a point as quick as any one, and can press it with con-siderable effect. He claims that the mantle of Jo Smith, the original Mormon Prophet, has fallen upon him, and professes to receive revelations from God for the guidance of his people on Beaver Island.— Some dozen or more of his followers on the stand testified they religiously believed that Strang did at times receive these revelations, and that in all spir-itual matters they regarded him as their guide and tender; but in reply to questions from the Court and from the Prosecuting Attorney, Mr. Bates, Strang denied that he assumed any authority whatever in temporal matters, and his followers also testified that they yielded him any in the least. Strang said their religion taught them, as did the Bible teach, obedience to civil magistrates and those in authority, and so far as all temporal matters were concerned their creed interfered with them as little as did the creed of the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc. In his summing up, he said his people had gathered on Beaver Island for the purpose of worshipping God in their own way, and enjoying unmolested the peculiar tenets of their religious faith. He denied utterly all offenses against the country's laws, but on the contrary looked to them for protection while his people yielded them their support. And he quoted Bible authority almost without limit to prove an analogy between the persecutions of the Mor-mons on Beaver Island and the persecutions which Christ and his Apostles suffered.
Strang is obviously an enthusiast, but I should hardly believe him a bad or a dangerous man.— Whether he be or not, certain it is his followers count among them very many intelligent men, who are no more deluded in religious matters than thousands and thousands of good men and women have been in all ages of the world. The charges against them, if true, should certainly subject them to punishment, but the Jury did not ad-judge those charges, from the evidence, to be to be sustained. No offense against the laws of the land should be tolerated, whether perpetrated by a religious sect or an individual; but it is important that the glorious and fundamental principle of reli-gious toleration should be held inviolate. If these Mormons choose to "burrough" on Beaver Island, and there live peaceably, they are as much entitled to do so as the Shakers, the Quakers, or other sects which are not considered "orthodox," and to main-tain their organizations and settlements. –One feature of the prosecution is worthy of mention: the two witnesses for the Government, whose testi-mony only proved anything, were less than a year since members of Strong's Church— one a "high priest" and the other an "apostle." Born had left the Church on account of difficulties of a personal nature, and not from any religious qualms; and be-tween them and Strang, and others, a bitter personal feud has existed. The testimony of both of these witnesses was impeached, and not allowed, to be taken into consideration by the Jury, in making up their verdict.
I do not write this as any defense of the Mormons but give it as my own impression, made from hearing not a little of the testimony, and from hearing the opinion of impartial personages who heard it all.
The trial of the Michigan Railroad Conspirators was in progress before the Circuit Court. I heard little of it. Gov. SEWARD was present, assisting in conducting the defense.
Back to Buffalo: The city looks as business-like as ever. It is New-York in miniature, and has a larger population than New- York had 50 years ago, at which time Buffalo had no existence even in name. The Hotels here vie with the best in the Union, and some of which will rank with the Astor or the Irving. The America, which burned down a year ago, has been reconstructed, and its fair propor-tions and elegant architecture challenge the observa-tion of all strangers. It is soon to be opened by its former proprietor, Mr. HODGES. The Phelps House is doubtless the best house west of New-York City, and is kept by Mr. ROGERS, formerly of the Delevan, Albany. It is kept on Temperance principles, and is patronized by all who enjoy the advantages of a first class public house, and care little for wines, bran-dies, and their too often witnessed concomitants. This house is undergoing important improvements. The Western Hotel is also a favorite house with many.
PARODI has created a great sensation here. She gives her second Concert to-night. Next week comes Madame BISHOP, and after her JENNY LIND. The only regret is that we have no Hall to accommodate all who desire to hear these great artists. But neith-er will have any occasion to regret their visit to the Buffalonians.
Yours, &c. x.
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