Mr. Frederick Loba and the Mormons-High-ly Interesting Details.
ST. LOUIS, Thursday, May 13, 1858.
To the Editor of the Missouri Democrat:
There having been of late certain accounts of the Mormons in the public prints, and I, knowing that the statements purporting to be from Mr. LOBA are not strictly correct, think a few items that have come under my personal observation would not be out of place.
In the first place, Mr. LOBA is not (as has been rep-resented by some eastern papers) an emissary from BRIGHAM YOUNG, but a very "disgusted," satisfied, and genuine apostate from BRIGHAM'S fraternity. His po-sition, from my own knowledge, when in Europe, was about the same as he has represented; but now, he is in a crusade against the sect, of which he but a short time since was a zealous advocate, pursues it at the expense of all honor, and in short, has painted facts until no one can believe his story, and all have justly set it down as a bug bear.
The first and most interesting item is, that "two hundred persons were all that survived their trip across the plains, out of our entire emigration of twenty five hundred." The facts are bad enough. There were six hand-cart companies left Florence, N. T., for Salt Lake in the Summer and Fall of 1856. The first two arrived at their destination in pretty good con-dition, much fatigued and worn down by their long […?...] the usual average of emigrant wagon trains. The third and fourth companies arrived on the 9th of No-vember. I was in the city of Salt Lake and saw the trains arrive. Deaths had been numerous, and the survivors were in a wretched state—sick, helpless, destitute of clothing, and in some cases frozen. The fifth and sixth companies did not get in till Dec. 1, only from one third to a half of which lived through, and on their arrival were in such suffering that many died soon after they arrived. I believe if they had had one hundred miles further to travel, they would all have died. The last four companies had assistance sent them from the city, which met them two or three hundred miles on the road, and so saved many, if not all the survivors The summary is as follows: Out of an emigration of from 1,700 to 2,000, about 500 in all died on the plains, or immediately after their arrival in the settlements.
Mr. LOBA'S account of his leaving the city of the Saints, on April 1, 1857, is correct, although it looks very improbable. It was a sure way of escaping the "Danites," certainly, but I nevertheless believe, if he had had sufficient courage to have left in one of the wagon companies, all would have been right with him. I am personally acquainted with several who had gone as far into Mormonism as Mr. and Mrs. LOBA, and yet left with as little or less trouble than the part of Mr. LOBA'S family that remained in the city. If he had staid with his folks, their cattle would not have been stolen. The bishop of LOBA'S ward, ALEXANDER MCRAE, ordered them to be taken just before LOBA ran away, without consulting him. BRIGHAM YOUNG publicly declared that LOBA was wel-come to leave whenever he wanted, and said further that he knew when and how LOBA left, and forbade any one molesting him. This was on April 7. Al-though this communication may have the air of sym-pathy with the Mormons, I particularly wish my read-ers to understand that I write neither for nor against them—my only object being to correct a few errors that I thought might have been imbibed by the un-wary reader of Mr. LOBA'S statements, as well as give a few instances that have come under my own ob-servation.
That the leaders of the Mormons are very corrupt and tyrannical, I have no doubt; although BRIGHAM and a few others, are noted by some official visitors as acting like perfect gentlemen. For instance, the reception of Capt. VAN VLIET, United States Army, was just such as any official character at that time would have received.
It is also reported that the Mormons have no effect-ive means of resistance. This is an important point, and requires investigation. From personal observa-tion, I think the following is a pretty good estimate of their strength: Great Salt Lake City contains from 12,000 to 15,000 inhabitants; Provo, 6,000 to 7,000; Ogden 3,500; Manti, Nephi, Cedar, Farring-ton, Grantsville, and Fillmore, will average about 2,000 inhabitants each; besides which, there are some twenty minor settlements, and numbers of iso-lated farms. I think that the total population of the Territory, including the Carson Valley and San Bernardino Mormons, all of which are now ordered to Salt Lake, would reach near 75,000 to 80,000. Out of this population, I believe it possible to raise twelve or fifteen thousand tolera-ble militia, who, though not so well equipped as the United States army, are nevertheless, as a rule, pretty good shots, and generally at home and expert in mountaineering. For firearms the Salt Lakers are more generally supplied than any other people I know of, not by any means that they have a supply to carry on a war, but gunsmiths are numerous in the different settlements, some of them being first-class Birmingham mechanics, and I reckon them quite ca-pable of making a screw for Mr. LOBA'S pistol, if not of making a passable revolver. Pistols something like COLT'S, but with an inferior appearance, were being made at the public works, at Salt Lake City, last Summer, and I understand the manufacture of them has been pushed briskly. The militia of Salt Lake City is about 3,000, one-third of which is mount-ed and well armed, and the remainder but poorly armed, with the exception of one or two rifle com-panies. Of the population of the Territory, about 30 per cent, are Americans, 50 per cent, British, and 20 per cent. Continental Europeans.
It must be remembered that the Mormons have a thorough knowledge of the mountain passes and roads, throughout the whole Wahsatch Range. Ac-cording to my own observation, the easiest and safest way to get at the Mormon settlements is by Sublett's Cut-Off and Malad and Bear River valleys, entering Salt Lake valley at the northern extremity. On this road there are no Cañons; and Bear River, except at very high water, has good fording places. The dis-tance is about one hundred and fifty miles further to Salt Lake City, but the improved roads reduce this to fifty miles, or about one day's drive with mules. BRIGHAM never tells one of the "angels" to commlt a depredation straight forward; but a wink, a nod, or a "you know, Porter," or whoever it may be, will settle the matter as easily as a sermon on the sub-ject. LORENZO D. Young, BRIGHAM'S brother, is a fin-ished scamp. He scarcely ever pays his hired men. To collect a debt from him is about impossible. One of his noble actions is too rich to omit. A man in his employ, and to whom he owed money for labor, had a chance to buy a spade, that was worth three dol-lars, for one dollar in cash. He went to LORENZO to get a dollar, who, of course, wanted to know what he wanted with it. The poor fellow told, and brother LORENZO then said he could not get it unless he would pay three dollars for it in labor. Such trans-actions are of daily occurrence in all the Young fam-ilies. In short, the initiated avoid trading with them. DANIEL WELLS, BRIGHAM'S Second Councilor, and Superintendent of the Public Works, very often keeps the wives and children of the operatives, (who get nothing for their labor but a bare subsistence,) wait-ing for their hard-earned, miserable daily pittance, from 9 o'clock in the morning until the tithing-office closes, and then tells them they should have been there earlier. HEBER C. KIMBALL, as Mr. HIDE in his excellent work on Mormonism has said, is the gross-ed, most ignorant, most tyrannical, and most licen-tions of all the Mormon leaders. His discourses in the Tabernacle are not fit for decently inclined men to hear, much less females. He curses, swears, and is generally quite forward in such Mormon customs as are more honored in the breach than in the obser-vance." He is in an eternal war with his nineteen or twenty wives, and on Sundays publicly denounces them from the stand. EZRA T. BENSON and LORENZO SNOW are of the LORENZO YOUNG stamp, shrewd tra-ders and consummate rogues. LOREWZO SNOW con-ceived the magnificent idea of establishing a “Sci-entific Institute and Library." A fine building was put up on credit; the library was furnished in the same manner. As soon as all was in running order, Brother SNOW moved into the house, and has since claimed it, and all that was contributed to wards the glorious project.
The principal object these leaders seem to have is the entire estrangement of the Mormon from the Uni-ted States Government. They are continually paint-ing their elder Missouri and Illinois grievances in fresh and vivid colors, and telling the people that the pres-ent expedition is sent out to circumvent their liber-ties, and uproot their religion by force of arms. With this view of matters the Mormons will, no doubt, be rather obstinate. As a general thing the European Mormons have little or no know knowledge of the Uni-ted Status Government and people. There are some tolerably well-informed men amongst them, but the majority are but indifferently educated, and numbers can neither read nor write, which is the case with HEBER C. KIMBALL.
The existing government of Utah is a theocracy, and is conducted as follows : Salt Lake City is di-vided into twenty wards, each ward has a bishop and two counciors, who report to the presiding bishop of the church. A ward consists of some twelve to twenty blocks, and over each block are two teachers or spies, whose business it is to report everything they can pry out, at a weekly council meeting. In one of these meetings it was reported that a family of Gentiles were living in the Eleventh ward. The next morning their house was pulled down by the bishop's instructions, and the poor Gentiles had to camp in snow three feet deep, or risk a repetition of this treatment. This is a fact. I heard the case brought up in the meeting. The judgment was passed by Bishop L. W. HARDY'S first councilor. The next morning I saw the house pulled down. This is only one case out of some dozen familiar cases that oc-curred in the Winter of 1856, and 1857. Each ward in every city has its school-house, or rather meeting-house—for the authorities, who, with the exception of ill-conducted Sunday-schools, never allow schools to be held, but when the snow is too deep for the children to get there; anyhow it was managed so in 1856 and 1857.
In every settlement of any size there is a theatre. The one in Salt Lake City is the best. The stock company, who are all amateurs, are generally better up in their parts than in many places of greater pre-tensions. The great defect is their want of stars. Theatres in Utah are conducted on an improved and entirely novel principle. The actors find their own dresses, &c., and get nothing whatever in the shape of pay. The best actor, the one that "does" Vir-ginius, Othello, &c.. a star of questionable brilliancy, gets one benefit during the season. With this ex-ception, the gross receipts of the house go to the church (BRIGHAM'S) coffers, and the actors take it as a high privilege to be allowed to play.
The population is generally supported by agricul-ture. There being no rains of consequence, the land has to be irrigated by the mountain streams, which, in the Spring, afford a copious supply of water. There are many good mechanics, but, as a general rule, they do not find any suitable employment, or, if they do, find it extremely difficult to get the pay. There is no specie in circulation, and the only money is the Territorial and city scrip. The former goes at par, and the latter at a depreciation of 40 per cent. There are some factories for the manufacture of woolen cloth, a similar article to Kentucky jeans.
A large sugar factory is at Canon Creek, Ward, four miles from Salt Lake City. Its total cost has amounted to nearly a half a million of dollars. The machinery was made in England, after the pattern of the French machinery for making sugar from beets. It was bought up with moneys raised out of the "saints" in different places, as well as large sums from persons designated stockholders. A cer-tain Mr. J. W. COWARD, a Liverpool merchant be-came a victim of this swindle to the extent of $30,000. After the machinery had arrived at Salt Lake, Elder JOHN TATLOR, Mr. COWARD and others were notified that it belonged to the church.—Since then, several men, a French sugar maker, and Mr. LOBA amongst the rest, have tried to make sugar, but the saleratus in the beets would not allow it to crystallize, so that up to this time they have been able to make nothing but a miserable article of molasses. Mr. LOBA, in 1856, introduced the raising of hemp and French rope oil-plants. They both thrived very well, the oil-plants yielding more than the average of those growing in France, but no at-tempt to cultivate them has since been made. There are several small distilleries in Utah. The article produced is generally from all bad vegetables, and it [ ? ] at six and eight dollars per gallon [?] is the only thing besides [?] cattle and butter unit will purchase groceries and dry goods.
The mountain benches are well adapted to grazing stock, consequently cattle are plenty, but the prices rule high, except for cash, in which case they are as cheap as in Missouri. But few hogs are raised, and sheep are only raised for wool. The wild moun-tain sheep are coarser than the common. The flesh is a medium between beef and mutton. In the Winter the country abounds in hares and rabbits, which, with an occasional grizzly bear, help out the poorer families. Fish are plentiful in the Weber and Jordan Rivers and Utah Lake, as well as in several of the smaller rivers and streams.
Groceries are out of the reach of all the classes; tea, $2 per pound; coffee, 40 cents; candles, 50 cents; dried fruit, 50 cents, and so on with every arttcle, and only cash, or cattle, will buy them. The grist-mills are driven by water-power, and owned by the authorities, who grind for one-tenth. The church also takes one-tenth of what, a man makes, or one-tenth of his time. Add to the heavy prop-erty-tax, even if the person's property be not worth fifty dollars—a watch, a gun, a stove, a cow, a hog—all taxed separately; and, when all these demands are paid, as well as the free-offerings they are obliged to make, there is but a small margin for a man to support one wife and a family.
As for polygamy, Mr, LOBA has given you a picture of ORSON PRATT'S family. This description holds pretty good with plenty of others. So rife is vice and degradation among them, that young girls of twelve or thirteen years of age are frequently solicited for wives, and marry.
BRIGHAM has the best conducted harem in the place. His wives have all their separate duties assigned them. One is a teacher of all the children, others do the homework, others work at weaving in his factory, while the original Mrs. BRIGHAM superintends the destinies of the mansion. BRIGHAM has wives and fe-male appendages of his family, in other parts of the city, all of whom get an occasional visit from their lord and master. Fuel is very scarce at the present time, and every year getting worse. The canons or mountain gorges are last getting cleared out. Quite poor wood sells readily at $10 per cord. There is a plentiful supply of wrought iron on the hundreds of wagons in the va-cant squares of the City. The larger class would average 300 pounds of tire to each wagon, which would be sufficient for all present requirements. Of cast-iron there is none. I have seen some pigs of lead, said to be made in the southern part of the Ter-ritory. It is a poor article, and there is but little of it. Coal has been found in San Pete and Iron Coun-ties. It is a poor article, and scarce. Springs are numerous, at all temperatures, from ice cold to boil-ing hot. There is a very large boiling spring, one mile north of the city, which supplies a range of bath-houses.
The principal buildings of Salt Lake City are, first, and most magnificent, the Governor-President's man-sion and lion house, quite a grand idea for a large family; next, the "Tabernacle for the people," a long, low adobe building, quite neatly fixed inside, capable of seating 4,000 or 5,000 persons. This place is crowded every Sunday. In Summer, when the people turn out more generally, the meetings are held in the Bowery, an adjoining space, roofed over and supplied with seats This will accommodate an in-definite number The great temple is being built on the same block. At the northwest corner of the block stands the Endowment House, where the faithful receive, "their washings and anointings, and get endowed from on high," until the temple is finished. These buildings, with the public works at the northwest corner, fill the temple block, which, like all others in the city, is twice as large as a St. Louis block. In the west part of the city is a plebeian-looking Court-house. The Council-house, the oldest public building, is opposite the tem-ple. There are several large stores and importers in the place, but Messrs. LIVINGSTON, KINKEAD & Co, and GILBERT & GERRISH, do the lion's share of the trade, notwithstanding they are Gentiles, and the Saints are always cautioned against patronizing them. I have written the foregoing principally to give the public the opinion of one who has seen, lived amongst and traded with the. Mormons. As for the statistical items, of course they are only conjectures; but if they are not exactly correct, I know they are much nearer right than Mr. LOBA'S account.
ONE WHO HAS SEEN THE ELEPHANT.
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