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Nauvoo and the Mormons

From the (Columbus) Adrocate.

Mr. Editor,—Having recently had occasion to visit the city of Nauvoo, I cannot permit the opportunity to pass, without expressing the agreeable disappointment that awaited me there. I had supposed from what I had previously heard, that I should witness an impoverished, ignorant, and bigoted population, completely priest-ridden and tyranised over by Joseph Smith, 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 country guarantees to them the right of worshiping God according to the dictates of their own conscience, and if they can be so easily satisfied, why should we, who differ with them, complain. But I protest against the slandersand 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 country is to permit them to live under the protection of the laws, and to be made amenable for their violations. They may have among them men of bad and desperate characters, 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 Nauvoo, I had a fine opportunity of seeing the people in a body.—There was a masonic celebration, and the grand master of the state 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 five to ten thousand, 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-in-formed, 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 thirty-six years of age, and has an interesting family.

The incorporated limits of Nauvoo contains, it is said, about seven thousand persons; the buildings are generally small and much scattered. The Temple and Nauvoo House now building, will probably, in beauty and design, extent and durability, excel any public buildings in the State, and both will be enclosed before winter. From all I saw and heard, I am led to believe that, before many years, the city of Nauvoo 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 Illinois have no disposition to disturb unoffending people who have no disposition but to live peaceably under the laws of the country, and to worship God under their own vine and fig tree.AN OBSERVER.

Adams Co. March 22, 1842.

Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star, vol. 3 May 1842—April 1843