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court-martial. But I did not mean to begin political discussion so early in my acquaintance with Salt Lake. The traveller, coming into the Saints' City, either from the mountain or the desert side, finds much to expand his mind and rest his eyes. The breadth of the streets is delightful to him after squeezing his way through the narrow defiles of the Wahsatch,—for wo judge of all things relatively, — and the Mormon Boulevards are as broad for a street, as the canons are narrow for a mountain pass. By survey, all the streets of Salt Lake City are one hundred and thirtytwo feet wide between fence lines. Twenty feet of this width, on each side, belong to the sidewalk. The blocks, in the thickly settled part of the city, contain eight lots apiece; each of these lots measuring one and a quarter acres — a most generous apportionment for any city proprietor. The blocks front alternately upon the streets running north and south, and those running east and west. For instance, suppose us entering the city by the "Emigration road," — our faces directed due westward,—the lots belonging to the first block on our right front our street; those on our left offer us their sides; we cross the first transverse street, and the lots of the block on the left front us, while we flank the lots of the block on our right. An inconsiderable portion of the city, some distance to the northward of the Emigration road, contains blocks of four lots measuring two and ene-half acres, and five-acre lots exist in some other blocks to the southward. The dwelling-houses, like* the stores, are principally of adobe, with here and there a brick or wooden one, and an occasional building, belonging to some more opulent Saint, of the gray sandstone or granite from the canons. By a municipal regulation the builder is obliged to set his house at least twenty feet back from the front fence of his lot, and to plant shade-trees along his street line. The effect of this arrangement, and the lateral isolation of all dwelling-houses which seems as strictly enjoined, is to give the streets a dignity and generosity of appearance quite independent of architecture. It is but twenty-threel years since the advance guard of the first Mormon expedition camped down in the brush upon the site of the present nourishing and growing city, yet the wonderful industry and undaunted faith of this remarkable people have seemed to infuse their spirit into the very trees, for the sidewalks along the front of their court-yards are densely roofed avenues of living green; the maple, the cottonwood, the poplar, a species of acacia like our honeylocust, seeming to have thriven apace wherever the settler's hand has planted them, and at a more rapid rate than is anywhere witnessed in the East.
Along the principal streets of the city exist some such pleasant exceptions to the dejected unhomelikeness which I have heretofore mentioned, as characterizing the grounds around Mormon houses, that I hasten with delight to give them their due. Even these exceptions are the mere external symbolizations of that higher grade of wealth and luxury distinguishing all cities; the gardener's paid work, not the wife's and daughter's sweet pastime, save in one or two cases (those the best) where a true marital love had kept a household, though Mormon, still monogamic.
The space between the house and the front fence is managed according to the" means and taste of the proprietor. In some instances, the utilitarian element, being in the ascendant, has boldly brought the vegetable garden forward into public notice. I like the sturdy self-assertion of those potatoes, cabbages, and string-beans. Why should they, the preservers and sustainers of mankind, slink away into back lots, behind a high board fence, and leave the land-holder to be represented by a set of lazy bouncing-bets and stiff-mannered hollyhocks, who do nothing biit prink and dawdle for their living, — the deportment Turveydrops of the vegetable kingdom? Other front yards are variegated in pretty patterns with naturalized flowers—children of seed brought from many countries: here a Riga pink, which minds the Scandinavianwife of that far off door-way around which its ancestors blossomed in the short Northern summer of the Baltic; here a haw or a holly, which speaks to the English wife of yule and spring-time, when she got kissed under the one or followed her father clipping hedgerows of the other; shamrock and daisies for the Irish wife; fennel — the real old "meetin'-seed" fennel — for the American wife; and in some places where tact. ingenuity, originality, and love of science have blessed a house, curious little alpine flowers of flaming scarlet or royal purple, brought down from the green dells and lofty terraces of the snow-range, to be adopted and improved.by culture. Of all I liked best a third class of front courts, given up to moist, homelooking turf-grass, of that deep green which rests the soul as it cools the eyes—grass, that febrifuge of the imagination, which, coming after the woolly gramma and the measureless stretches of ashen-gray sage brush through which the traveller reaches Salt Lake City, almost makes him go to sleep singing; grass, that silent ballad of Nature, whereof the dying bab
1 Counting from July, 1847.
ble dimly caught snatches, because of all created things it best blends in with the Eden meadows dawning on their inner eyes as the outer glaze slowly on this world.
Brigham Young, Heber Kimball, and Porter Rockwell, beside many other Mormons of less celebrity, have told me that when they first came to the present site of Salt Lake City, it was as arid a sand and sage barren as can be found anywhere in the plateaus of the Rocky Mountain chain. Their assertion is corroborated to the traveller reaching Salt Lake City from any point of the compass, by the sharply drawn boundary between fields fairly packed with harvest, smiling gardens, and orchards where the branches crack under their wealth on the one hand; and on the other, tracts where no living thing breaks the monotony of sand and alkali but the ashen artemisia, the cactus, grease wood, or salicorn.
I asked the Mormon leaders how, under the circumstances, they could ever have decided to found a nation here. Twenty years ago, the theory of soils, physical geography, organic chemistry, and the entire tribe of sciences embracing these, were made quately understood, even by technical people, professors and the like, whose business they were. As to our best practical farmers, in comparison with many boys at this day in the higher classes of our scientific schools, they were so ignorant that they would have turned in dismay from the project of bringing the Salt Lake Basin under profitable culture. Among the Mormon leaders were none who possessed the advantages which we express by the comprehensive term of "a liberal education." Most of them were the plainest of plain farmers. Yet, without hesitation, they undertook to reclaim, for" the support of man, a tract whose latent possibilities of cultivation, even at this day, would fail to present themselves by any external indication to ninety-nine hundredths of the bestread and keenest-minded men of their class. This soil- is tractable. Indeed, its fertility is wonderful. But how could they know it? Or was it possible that the chiefs of the enterprise felt contented with the mere fact of putting between their people and their persecutors twelve hundred miles of unsettled wilderness, half of it a succession of giant mountain walls, with a coping of eternal snow? What a frightful responsibility must theirs have been who founded the future of all those women, children, and old men (not to mention the able-bodied men) upon a guess!
But Brigham Young solemnly assured me that it was no guess. His contemporaries among the leaders indorse that statement. Their answer is that God bade them stop here. To the north of the city, along the Wahsatch range, they point out for the curious stranger a peak where Brigham Young, like Jacob, passed the night in wrestling with an angel. Going up alone into this mountain to pray at the close of the day when the people with him reached the first ridge whence an outlook could be obtained across the valley now cradling the Saints' metropolis, he fell into a trance of revelation. A certain shining one came to him direct from God and the martyred prophet, and telling him that the base of the range was his nation's goal, finished by a command to lead the people down into the plain, and there to found the city whereof the Lord had promised aforetime, "All men shall flow unto it, and be saved." By obedience to those heavenly instructions, the Mormons have made