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NauVOO! Its rise and its fall, is to be the subject of our discourse. The word Nauvoo comes from the Hebrew, and signifies beautiful situation. “Carrying with it also,” says the Prophet Joseph, "the idea of rest." And, indeed, the location of the city is beautiful. No sooner does one come in view of it than he exclaims, “It is rightly named!” The city, or at least the marred remains of it, stands on a bold point around which sweeps the placid, yet majestic “Father of waters"—the Mississippi. The city is at least half encircled by that noble stream. From the banks of the river the ground rises gradually for at least a mile, when it reaches the common level of the prairie, which stretches out to the eastward, farther than the eye can reach, in a beautifully undulating surface, once covered by a luxuriant growth of natural grasses and wild flowers, relieved here and there by patches of timber; but now chequered with meadows, and, at the time of my visit, with fields of waving corn. Opposite Nauvoo, on the west bank of the river, the bluffs rise rather abruptly, almost from the water's edge, and are covered, for the most part, with a fine growth of timber. Nestling at the foot of one of the highest of these bluffs, and immediately on the bank of the river is the little village of Montrose, to which we shall have occasion to refer in these pages.
Back of these bluffs, before mentioned, rolls off the alternate prairie and woodlands of Iowa. Between Montrose and Nauvoo, and perhaps twothirds of the ance across the river
from the Illinois side, is an island, from three-fourths of a mile to a mile in length, and from fifty to one or two hundred yards in width, having its greatest extent north and south.
Nauvoo is just at the head of what are usually called the Des Moines Rapids, about one hundred and ninety miles above St. Louis. The Rapids were a serious obstacle to the navigation of the Mississippi at this point, as in the season of low water they could not be passed by the steamboats plying the river. This difficulty of late, however, has been obviated by the general government building a fine canal running parallel with the west bank of the river, from Keokuk to Montrose, a distance of twelve or fifteen miles. I was unable to learn the cost of the construc·tion, but judge it must have required at least several millions of dollars.
Such is the location of Nauvoo and its immediate surroundings. It is now for us to relate the events which led to the establishment of a thriving city on the site we have briefly described; how it was converted from a sickly wilderness to the most desirable section of the great State of Illinois; and then how, through acts of injustice and treachery, some of its principle founders were murdered, and the rest cruelly driven from the city into the wilderness; and how the city sank from its prosperous condition, to become the semi-desolate place it is to-day.
We take it for granted that it is a wellknown historical fact, that the people of Missouri, in the fall and winter of 1838,
drove from the State, under a threat of Quincy. That a numerous committee extermination issued by Governor Boggs, composed of individuals from every part the entire Mormon people, after robbing of the town be appointed to allay the them of nearly all their earthly sub prejudices of the misguided citizens of stance. As the Saints thus stripped and Quincy, and explain that it is not the bleeding and broken hearted, were flee design of the Mormons to lower the ing from the cruel wrath of the Missou wages of the laboring classes, but to rians, they crossed the Mississippi into secure something to save them from the State of Illinois, at the point where starvation. That a standing committee the city of Quincy is located. Here their be appointed to relieve, so far as in their destitute condition excited the sympathy power, the wants of the destitute and of the people of this city and vicinity. homeless; and use their utmost A kind reception
endeavers to procure employment for homeless outcasts, very similar to the those who were able and willing to one given to many of the same people labor. The report closed by saying: by the inhabitants of Clay County, when "We recommend to all the citizens of Quincy a cruel persecution had driven some that in all their intercourse with the strangers, twelve hundred of them from their homes they use and observe a becoming decorum and in Jackson County, five years before. delicacy, and be particularly careful
Especially active was the Democrat indulge in any conversation or expression calAssociation of Quincy. In the month of
culated to wound their feelings, or in any way February a meeting was called by this
to reflect upon those, who by every law of association to enquire into the situation
humanity, are entitled to our sympathy and
commiseration." of the Mormon exiles. At this first
Noble sentiments, indeed, are these. meeting about all that was done was to
And how like a healing balm to the sick pass a resolution, to the effect that the
hearts of the exiled Saints must these people called Latter-day Saints were in
kindly expressions have seemed! Why a situation requiring the aid of the
is it that mankind do not always act people of Quincy. A committee of
towards each other upon this glorious eight was appointed to call a general
principle of expanded benevolence? How meeting of both citizens and Mormons,
many wounds would be healed-nay, and to receive a statement from the
rather, how few wounds would be Mormons of their condition, with a view
The to relieving their necessities.
inflicted, and what heartaches would be
avoided! committee was instructed to get the
This good work begun by the DemoCongregational church in which to hold
cratic Association was continued by the next meeting, but the directors having in charge that building would not
them, and substantial assistance allow it to be used for that purpose. We
given to the suffering Saints, through
their exertion in behalf of the afflicted. speak of this to show the kind of charity
At a subsequent meeting of the associaexisting in the breasts of some pretended followers of Him who taught that charity
tion the following resolutions
adopted: was the crowning virtue. Failing to secure the church, the second meeting
"That we regard the right of conscience as
natural and inalienable, and the most sacredly was held in the court house.
guaranteed by the Constitution of our free At this meeting the special committee
government, appointed at the first meeting reported
"That we regard the acts of all mobs in violabors. They had received statements
lation of law; and those who compose them, from Sidney Rigdon and others in
individually responsible, both to the laws of God relation to the expulsion of the Mor
and man, for every depredation committed upon mons from Missouri, and suggested a
the property, rights or life of any citizen. series of resolutions setting forth that "That the inhabitants upon the western fronthe exiled strangers were entitled to the tier of the State of Missouri, in their late persesympathy and aid of the people of cution of the people denominated Mormons,"
have violated the sacred rights of conscience fifty families could be accommodated at and every law of justice and humanity.
Commerce. In addition to this offer "That the Governor of Missouri, in refusing
of lands made to the Church, another protection to this class of people, when pressed
and a previous one had been made of upon by a heartless mob, and turning upon
twenty thousand acres, between the them a band of unprincipled militia, with orders
Des Moines and the Mississippi rivers. encouraging their extermination, has brought a
This tract could have been purchased at lasting disgrace upon the State over which he
two dollars per acre, to be paid in twenty presides."
annual payments without interest. A Thus with expressions of sympathy conference was convened at Quincy in and material aid did the people of February, and the advisability of makQuincy assist the Saints, and bid them ing the purchase, and settling the Saints hope for better days.
Nor was this
in a body came up for consideration. kindly feeling confined to the people of But it was decided at that time that it Quincy and vicinity alone, but it extended was not advisable to locate lands at throughout the State. And especially present. among the leading men thereof, includ Subsequently, however, on the ninth ing Governor Carlin, Stephen A. Doug day of March, the Saints having received lass, Dr. Galland and others.
further offers of land in Illinois and In the fall of 1836 a brother by the Iowa, called another public meeting and name of Israel Barlow left the State of appointed a committee to go and examMissouri under the exterminating order ine the lands offered. In Iowa, the of Governor Boggs.
By missing his people and officers of the Territory way, or, what is more likely, directed expressed a kindly feeling toward the by the hand of a kind providence, he exiled Saints. The Governor of Iowadid not leave the State by the same Lucas-had known the Saints in Ohio, route as the great body of the people, and testified to Dr. Galland that the but taking a northeasterly course, struck Mormon people, when they were in the Des Moines river a short distance Ohio, were good and virtuous citizens, above the mouth, in the Territory of and he respected them as such now, and Iowa. He was without food, destitute would treat them accordingly, should of clothing, and in a sad condition. they, or any part of them, decide to Making his wants known to the people settle in his Territory. In conversation living in that locality, they kindly sup with Dr. Galland, Isaac Van Allen, Esq., plied him with food and raiment. To Attorney-General for the same Territory, them he related the story of the perse gave him to understand that he would, cution of the Saints in Missouri, and how so far as within his power, protect the his people, poor and destitute as himself, Mormon people from insult and injury. were fleeing from the State en masse. It was these assurances of sympathy and His relation of the sufferings of the protection which led to a reconsideration Saints, and the cruelties heaped upon of the conclusion of the former conferthem by their heartless persecutors en ence, and the appcintment of a comlisted their sympathies, and they gave
mittee to examine the lands offered. Elder Barlow letters of introduction to But little or nothing was ever done by several gentlemen; among which was this committee. one to Dr. Galland, a gentleman of some On the twenty-third of April, 1839, influence living at Commerce, a small Joseph joined the Church at Quincy, settlement on the bank of the Missis after a cruel imprisonment of over five sippi in Illinois, and which afterward | months. We need not stop to underbecame Nauvoo. Dr. Galland owned take a description of the scenes of this considerable land in Commerce, and he exiled people welcoming their youthful wrote the Saints located in Quincy that Prophet into their midst, after such trials several farms could doubtless be rented as they had passed through, in which the in that locality, and that perhaps some strength of each man's soul, and love
for his brethren had been tested. They sand dollars. The committee desired had seen him and his fellow prisoners that these farms should be deeded to betrayed into the hands of a merciless Alanson Ripley, but Sidney Rigdon, enemy, and knew that a court martial of manifesting a rather sour disposition, said the Missouri State militia had condemned that no committee should control any him and his companions to be shot in property that he had anything to do with. the public square at Far West. They So the purchase made of Dr. Galland had seen him and his fellow prisoners was deeded to Rigdon's son-in-law, torn away from their parents and families, G. W. Robinson, with the understanding and their people, under circumstances that he should deed it to the Church as the most distressing. They had been soon as they had paid for it according to told by the haughty commander-in-chief the contract. This was the first purof the mob militia forces, which infested chase of lands made in Commerce, and Far West—that the doom of their leaders the place is thus described by Joseph: was sealed, and they need not expect, "When I made the purchase of White and nor even let it enter into their hearts
Galland, there was one stone house, three frame that they would be permitted to see them houses, and two block houses, which constituted again. Many of them had seen him the whole city of Commerce." chained like a felon, standing before unjust This small collection of houses was judges, whose hearts were filled to over immediately on the banks of the river, flowing with hatred toward him. Con and scattered between them and what trary to every principle of justice, he was afterwards became the south part of the sent to languish in prison in the midst of city of Nauvoo, were one stone and three his enemies; while they themselves, with log houses. It was one of these humble bursting hearts and blinding tears, were dwellings that Joseph moved to on the compelled to sign away their lands and tenth of May, 1839. Back some distance homes at the point of the musket and from the river, however, were other free from the Christian State of Missouri, dwellings scattered over the country, under the exterminating order issued by one of which was the home of Daniel H. Governor Boggs. Yet in all these trials Wells, a justice of the peace for the —from the dangers of the murderous district of Commerce, and since a prommilitia camps, from the malice of cor inent leader in the Church. A photorupt courts, and the injustice of drunken engraving of his house will be found as juries, and at last, from the prison's the frontispiece to this number of the gloom, a kind Providence had delivered magazine. The house is still standing, him, and he was again in their midst. though time, as will be seen by a glance Again with them to still their fears, and at the engraving, will soon have predirect their movements!
vailed against it, and in a few more His presence was the signal for action. months or years, this only remaining He arrived in Quincy on the twenty relic of Commerce will have fallen into third, and the day following, he called ruins. The matter of fact person, with and presided over a conference, at which, but little regard for it as a relic of the in connection with Bishop Knight and past, will be inclined to say, “It wont Alanson Ripley, he was appointed to go be much of a loss." But as I was turnto lowa to select a place for the gather ing to leave it, after getting a photograph ing of the exiled Saints. The conference view of it, and cast a long, lingering also advised the brethren, who could do look behind at it, an involuntary prayer so, to go to Commerce and locate in Dr. sprang from the heart to the lips, that Galland's neighborhood.
the old, half tumbled down log house, On the first of May the committee pur whose roof had sheltered one of God's chased a farm of one hundred and thirty noble men, who had opened his heart in five acres, for which they agreed to pay common with men of like character, to five thousand dollars; also another and a receive and assist an exiled and destitute . larger farm of Dr. Galland for nine thou people-might remain standing until the
Saints should return to rebuild the waste he exchanged lands with the Saints in places. And grant, O thou Great God, the vicinity of Commerce for lands in that the lives of those men who began in Missouri, to the value of eighty thousand this place and did build a city and a dollars. And he gave them a good title temple to Thy name, may be preserved to the same. He is described as a man of to return, and witness the rebuilding of literary attainments and extensive inforthe city their enemies have wrecked! mation and influence. All of which he But to return to Joseph's further descrip used for the good of the exiled Saints tion of Commerce:
in giving them a character among his “The place was literally a wilderness. The
friends. Finally he joined the Church, land was mostly covered with trees and bushes,
thus casting his lot with the exiled people and much of it was so wet that it was with the
he had assisted, and from that time until utmost difficulty a footman could get through,
his death partook of their joys and their and totally impossible for teams. Commerce sorrows; shared their fortunes and rewas unhealthy, very few could live there; but believing that it might become a healthy place In addition to these land purchases by the blessing of heaven to the Saints, and no the Church made others. Some of them more eligible place presenting itself, I considerd
even more extensive than those already it wisdom to make an attempt to build up a mentioned. The village of Nashville, in city."
Lee County, Iowa, and twenty thousand Having spoken of the first purchase of acres of land adjoining was bought, land at Commerce it may not be amiss though upon what terms the purchase here to say that subsequently more was made, cannot be learned. Another extensive purchases were made of Dr. purchase also in Iowa was made by Galland, Hubbard, Wells, Hotchkiss, and Bishop Knight, and a settlement was
Considerable difficulty and started there,called Zarahemla, which was embarrassment to Joseph personally opposite Nauvoo. This place was organand to the Church arose over misunder ized into a Stake of Zion, but in January, standings about the Hotchkiss land 1842, the Stake organization was disconpurchase. Hotchkiss sold to Joseph tinued; though Zarahemla continued as for the Church upwards of five hundred an organized branch of the Church. acres of land in Commerce, for which he Stakes of Zion in the following year was to receive fifty-three thousand five were organized at Lima, in Illinois; also hundred dollars, half to be paid in ten at Quincy, Adams County, for the years, and the remainder in twenty years. benefit of the Saints who continued This amount was secured to Hotchkiss there. Another Stake was organized at & Company by two notes, one payable Columbus, in Adams County, Illinois, in ten years and the other in twenty, known as Mount Hope Stake; besides signed by Joseph Smith, Hyrum, and these Stakes, branches of the Church Sidney Rigdon. The difficulty connected were organized in various parts of Lee with this extensive land purchase arose County, Iowa, and Adams and Hanfrom some exchanges that were made of cock Counties, Illinois. But as Nauvoo property in the east, by some of the rose from the swamps and underbrush Saints, for its equivalent in value in land of the settlement of Commerce and out of the Hotchkiss purchase in Com vicinity, and under the industry and merce; but this matter was finally ami enterprise of the Saints, and the blesscably settled.
ings of a kindly disposed Providence, The terms on which Dr. Galland let into a healthy, beautiful, and prosperous the Church have lands were extremly commercial and manufacturing city, these advantageous to the Saints. He sold at Stake organizations in the surrounding a reasonable rate, and on long credit country were discontinued; and Nauvoo that the people might not be distressed became the one great gathering place of in paying for the inheritance they pur
the Saints. chased. In addition to the first purchase,
B. H. Roberts.