History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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<​March 22​> the great prophet of these people. On the contrary to my surprise, I saw a people apparently happy, prosperous and intelligent. Every man appeared to be employed in some business or occupation. I saw no idleness, no intemperance, no noise, no riot, all appeared to be contented; with no desire to trouble themselves, with any thing except their own affairs. With the religion of these people I have nothing to do, if they can be satisfied with the doctrines of their new Revelation, they have a right to be so. The Constitution of the guarantees to them the right of worshipping God according to the dictates of their own conscience, and if that can be so easily satisfied, why should we, who differ with them complain. But I protest against the slanders and persecutions that are continually heaped on these people. I could see no disposition on their part to be otherwise than a peaceable and law abiding people, and all they ask of the is to permit them to live under the protection of the [HC 4:565] laws, and to be made amenable for their violations, they may have among them men of bad and desperate character, and what community has not? but I am satisfied as a body the Mormon people will never be the aggressors or violators of the law. While at , I had a fine opportunity of seeing the people in a body— There was a Masonic celebration and the Grand Master of the was present for the purpose of publicly installing the Officers of a new Lodge. An immense number of persons assembled on the occasion, variously estimated from 5 to 10000 persons and never in my life did I witness a better dressed or a more orderly and well behaved assemblage; not a drunken or disorderly person to be seen, and the display of taste and beauty among the females, could not well be surpassed any where. During my stay of three days, I became well acquainted with their principal Men, and more particularly with their Prophet, the celebrated “Old Jo Smith.” I found them hospitable, polite, well informed and liberal. With Joseph Smith, the hospitality of whose house I kindly received, I was well pleased; of course on the subject of religion, we widely differed, but he appeared to be quite as willing to permit me to enjoy my right of opinion, as I think we all ought to be to let the Mormons enjoy theirs; but instead of the ignorant and tyrannical upstart, judge my surprise at finding him a sensible, intelligent, companionable and gentlemanly man. In frequent conversations with him, he gave me every information that I desired, and appeared to be only pleased at being able to do so. He appears to be much respected by all the people about him and has their entire confidence. He is a fine looking man, about 36 years of age and has an interesting family. The incorporated limits of , contains, it is said, about 7000 persons; the buildings are generally small and much scattered. The and now building will probably, in beauty of design, extent and durability, excel any public buildings in the , and will both be enclosed before winter. From all I saw and heard, I am led to believe that before many years the City of will be the largest and most beautiful city of the west, provided the Mormons are unmolested in the peaceable enjoyment of their rights and privileges, and why they should be troubled while acting as good citizens, I cannot imagine; and I hope and trust that the people of have no disposition to disturb unoffending people who have no disposition but to live peaceably under the laws of the and to worship God under their own vine and fig tree.” “An Observer” . [p. 1301]
March 22 the great prophet of these people. On the contrary to my surprise, I saw a people apparently happy, prosperous and intelligent. Every man appeared to be employed in some business or occupation. I saw no idleness, no intemperance, no noise, no riot, all appeared to be contented; with no desire to trouble themselves, with any thing except their own affairs. With the religion of these people I have nothing to do, if they can be satisfied with the doctrines of their new Revelation, they have a right to be so. The Constitution of the guarantees to them the right of worshipping God according to the dictates of their own conscience, and if that can be so easily satisfied, why should we, who differ with them complain. But I protest against the slanders and persecutions that are continually heaped on these people. I could see no disposition on their part to be otherwise than a peaceable and law abiding people, and all they ask of the is to permit them to live under the protection of the [HC 4:565] laws, and to be made amenable for their violations, they may have among them men of bad and desperate character, and what community has not? but I am satisfied as a body the Mormon people will never be the aggressors or violators of the law. While at , I had a fine opportunity of seeing the people in a body— There was a Masonic celebration and the Grand Master of the was present for the purpose of publicly installing the Officers of a new Lodge. An immense number of persons assembled on the occasion, variously estimated from 5 to 10000 persons and never in my life did I witness a better dressed or a more orderly and well behaved assemblage; not a drunken or disorderly person to be seen, and the display of taste and beauty among the females, could not well be surpassed any where. During my stay of three days, I became well acquainted with their principal Men, and more particularly with their Prophet, the celebrated “Old Jo Smith.” I found them hospitable, polite, well informed and liberal. With Joseph Smith, the hospitality of whose house I kindly received, I was well pleased; of course on the subject of religion, we widely differed, but he appeared to be quite as willing to permit me to enjoy my right of opinion, as I think we all ought to be to let the Mormons enjoy theirs; but instead of the ignorant and tyrannical upstart, judge my surprise at finding him a sensible, intelligent, companionable and gentlemanly man. In frequent conversations with him, he gave me every information that I desired, and appeared to be only pleased at being able to do so. He appears to be much respected by all the people about him and has their entire confidence. He is a fine looking man, about 36 years of age and has an interesting family. The incorporated limits of , contains, it is said, about 7000 persons; the buildings are generally small and much scattered. The and now building will probably, in beauty of design, extent and durability, excel any public buildings in the , and will both be enclosed before winter. From all I saw and heard, I am led to believe that before many years the City of will be the largest and most beautiful city of the west, provided the Mormons are unmolested in the peaceable enjoyment of their rights and privileges, and why they should be troubled while acting as good citizens, I cannot imagine; and I hope and trust that the people of have no disposition to disturb unoffending people who have no disposition but to live peaceably under the laws of the and to worship God under their own vine and fig tree.” “An Observer” . [p. 1301]
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