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image of mountains in Great Salt Lake from Frederick Piercy, Route from Liverpool...,1855

An Excerpt from A New and Popular Pictorial Description of the United States

title-page with text surrounded by an engraved cartouche of various scenes depicting the signing of the Declaration of Independence at the bottom“Wheat, oats, and barley, yield abundantly in the great valley. Melons and all the vines grow in perfection, as also do vegetables; while hopeful efforts are making to raise the olive, orange, lemon, pineapple, tea, coffee, &c.”

A New and Popular Pictorial Description of the United States
New York: Published by Robert Sears, 1853

“About the period when that war broke out, the Mormons were driven from their city of Nauvoo, in Illinois, by mob violence: and shortly afterward a portion of them, under the leadership of Strang, removed to Beaver island in Lake Michigan, while the main body of the sect, directed by Brigham Young (who was regarded as their true “prophet” after the death of their founder, Joseph Smith, and in opposition to the “infidel” leader Strang), migrated to the borders of the Great Salt Lake. Their settlements became prosperous and populous, and within two years after the first pioneers had entered the country, their numbers increased to about 10,000…They organized a temporary government under the style of the ‘State of Deseret.’

portrait of Brigham Young from Frederick Piercy's Route from Liverpool, 1855

from Route From Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley by Frederick Piercy, 1855

“Utah is one of the most singular countries in the world. The great basin in which it is situated between the Sierra Nevada and the mountains of New Mexico…is…shut in all around by mountains, with its own system of lakes and rivers, and without any direct connexion with the ocean. Partly arid and thinly inhabited, its general character is that of a desert, but with great exceptions — there being many parts of it very fit for the residence of a civilized people; and of these the Mormons have established themselves in one of the largest and best.

"Great Salt Lake" from Frederick Piercy's Route to Liverpool..., 1855

from Route from Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley by Frederick Piercy, 1855

“The City of the Great Salt Lake, the capital of Utah, is beautifully laid out, within a short distance of the mountain forming the eastern end of the valley…the streets of the city intersect each other at right angles, and each block is half a mile square, with an alley from east to west and north to south. Each block is called a ward, and has a bishop to preside over its government, whose duties are to act as magistrates, tax-collectors, and preachers, as well as street commissioners. The city and all the farming land are irrigated by streams of pure water which flow from the adjacent mountains: the streams have been, with great labor and perseverance, led in every direction. In the city they flow on each side of the different streets, and their waters are let upon the inhabitants’ gardens at regular periods…

"Great Salt Lake City Looking South" from Frederick Piercy, Route to Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley, 1855

from Route to Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley by Frederick Piercy, 1855

“The Mormons are already about to set up and finish their machines, furnaces, &c., for smelting ore, casting rails, and finishing engines, for manufacturing purposes as well as for railways to connect themselves with the neighboring country. A southern railway, to tap the Pacific at some practicable point, is a favorite plan with them…and the railway from the head of navigation on the Missouri to the Salt-lake valley will one day be as much traveled as any of our main thoroughfares are at present.

undated chromolithograph of early Salt Lake City settlement from unidentified book in French

undated chromolithograph of Salt Lake City from unidentified French book

“The whole character of the territory of Utah is singular. While its geographical position and features are unlike those of any other portion of North America, its origin and the manner of its settlements are no less strange. It is doubtful if it would have been settled for many years to come, had not persecution driven the Mormons to seek refuge and a home in its distant limits. They established themselves her, at first, with the idea that they would be cut off from the world by the natural difficulties of the contiguous territory and the peculiarity of their situation. Here they expected to form, in secrecy and silence, a great, peculiar religious empire…

“And however much we may regret to see a community numbering a population of some 40,000 souls, so wedded to a religious faith which is little short of the wildest fanaticism, and among whose fruits gross licentiousness, we can not but admire the enterprise, the industry and perseverance, which have laid the foundation of a future state in the deep recesses of our vast wilderness territory, and which are destined to transform that desert region into smiling gardens and fruitful fields.”

p. 648 of chapter "Description of the Territory of Utah with two cartouches at the bottom of the page of the front and back of the Seal of the United States

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