Biography and family record of Lorenzo Snow/Chapter XXIX
Editor's Remarks. Lorenzo writes from Malta. Naples. Across the Med- iterranean Detention. Disappointed. Makes virtue of necessity. Sarnnel succeeds his brother. Lorenzo explains cause of detention.
Revised edition of the "Voice of Joseph." Prospects in Malta. Michael and Lucifer represented. ID Gibraltar. Good news from India. Extracts. Elder Willis writes. One hundred and eighty-nine members. Ordained two Elders. More Baptisms.
'HERE are tidal waves in the undulating stream of human events, which, although they may not be obsta-
- cles to anticipated results, frequently prove barriers to
the fulfilment of human expectations. One of these swept suddenly over my brother's pathway.
Having set his face in the direction and while vigorously urging his steps toward the far east, suddenly his course was changed ; and, although his interest in the East was not dimin- ished, duty pointed in the opposite direction, and the vista to the far West, the home of the Saints, the gathering place of Israel, opened brightly before him, and he moved forward.
MALTA, MARCH lOra, 1852. Dear Franklin:
On mature consideration, while at Genoa, it seemed wis- dom that Elder Woodard should accompany me to Malta, for which place we took passage, on the twentieth of February, on board the French steamer Telemaque. The following day we arrived at Leghorn, and proceeding thence passed the island of Elba, where Napoleon resided before his last return to France.
On reaching Civitta Vecchia in the Papal States, in conse- quence of a severe storm, we were detained twenty-four hours. Our next port was Naples, one of the largest cities of Italy,
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and the seat of the Neapolitan government, containing about three hundred and sixty thousand inhabitants. Its celebrity may be judged from the old proverb, "See Naples and die." Upon entering the bay, the ever smoking brow of Mount Vesuvius is seen on the right like a demon watching for the destined hour when again he can pour forth desolation upon the surrounding country.
Leaving Naples on the morning of the twenty-fourth, we made our way, amid roaring winds and dashing waves, towards Sicily; but the following morning, as we approached the harbor of Messina, a beautiful calm had succeeded the air was that of genial Spring, and the gently sloping hills around the city were mantled with richest verdure. Passing these straits, we steered across the Mediterranean, and on the twenty-sixth reached the island of Malta.
On arriving here, and calling on Mr. Holton, the agent for the Oriental Steam Company, I found myself obliged to remain some weeks longer than I had expected, in consequence of one of their steamers, on the Red Sea, breaking down, three days out from Suez, and being compelled to return all her pas- sengers, who were remaining at -port waiting the next month's l>oat, which would be so much crowded, having to take in those arriving from Southampton, that no more could be received under any consideration whatever.
Though at present disappointed in being able to move forward, I feel that much good will result from the manner in which the Lord may direct the employment of the time now at my command, as I am surrounded by an interesting people, and in a most important field of labor, where a great work may be accomplished, extending to adjacent nations.
What will be precisely our mode of operation, as yet, we scarcely have had time to determine, but shall endeavor to do as prudence and wisdom may dictate, on becoming more acquainted with the characteristic features of our position.
This is decidedly a Catholic country, to which belong all
the peculiar prejudices that anywhere appertain to that denom- ination, heightened by the presence of the religious disunion which always shows Protestantism to much disadvantage whenever and wherever it makes its appearance.
Malta and two adjacent islands rise up amid the blue waters of the Mediterranean farther distant from the main land than any other upon the bosom of this inland sea. The British forces took them from the French in 1800, and great additions have since been made to their fortifications. The population amounts to about one hundred and twenty-four thousand, embracing English, French, Italians, Greeks, Ger- mans, Turks, Moors, Spaniards, etc. The lion and unicorn wave the banner of freedom over this little realm of Catholi- cism, proposing liberty of speech and of press, in consideration of which we are seeking a place for public services, and mak- ing arrangements with a respectable printing establishment for publishing such works as we shall judge most suitable.
I have sent for Elder Obray to come immediately, and bring a good supply of books and pamphlets. The organiza- tion of a branch of our Church here would loosen the spiritual fetters of many nations, as the Maltese, in their commercial relations, are spread along the shores of Europe, Asia and Africa. Nearly all speak the Italian, and at the same time, by the peculiarities of their native dialect, they make themselves easily understood by those using the Arabic and S} r riac, which are exceedingly difficult for most other Europeans. Five newspapers are published in Italian, two. in English, and two others both in English and Italian.
Malta furnishes many objects of interest to the antiqua- rian and the lovers of the curious. Among the number may be noticed a small bay, where St. Paul was shipwrecked when on his way to Rome, as related in the Acts of the Apostles. There is also an extensive building, formerly occupied by the Inquisition, and rings and hooks still remain in the walls underground, where the unhappy victims were confined who
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fell into the power of that fearful tribunal. In the Church of the Inquisition is a magnificent picture, in which Martin Luther is represented in hell, surrounded with flames, agoniz- ing in fiery torments. Whether the artist, when taking the picture, w r as on the spot, we are not informed.
At one corner of a street, in stone figures, may be seen Lucifer, writhing under a severe flagellation by Michael, who, with his feet placed triumphantly upon the neck, seems highly pleased with the effects going on through the powerful blow r s administered with his Herculean club. Many other striking- spectacles could be mentioned, but doubtless they would par- take more of the ludicrous than the instructive.
I am now awaiting intelligence from Switzerland, Bom- bay and Calcutta, upon the receipt of which, if I find any- thing of particular interest or importance, I will notice here- after.
Samuel Richards succeeded his brother Franklin D. in the Presidency of the British Isles, hence Brother Snow's next letter is addressed as follows :
MALTA, MAY 1, 1852. Dear Brother Samuel:
Supposing that your brother Franklin has taken his fare- well of Albion's shores, and is now upon the briny deep, returning home to the Saints, allow me to do myself the pleas- ure of addressing to you my communication, and that through ,the Star the Saints generally of the British conferences may have some knowledge of our circumstances and prospects.
My hindrances in London with the translation and publi- cation of the Book of Mormon, and several weeks of unavoid- able detention in this place, allowed me so little time to spend in India, and reach home in time to meet the wishes of the
First Presidency, as expressed in their last epistle; in view also of the various duties and labors that surrounding circum- stances have unexpectedly pressed upon my attention, I have judged it wisdom, for the present, to limit the sphere of my ministerial labors, and employ the brief time at my disposal in that way which, through the-blessing of the Lord, I trust will tend to the interests of my eastern mission, and much more to the advantage of other fields of labor, and more to the advance- ment of the cause generally among these nations. I am sorry to disappoint the brethren in India, but trust I shall be able to visit them at some period not long distant, when more time at my command will enable me to compensate them for their dis- appointment and doubly benefit the interests of the work in those lands. In view of carrying forward with efficiency those missions that have come under my direction, and to open the road to the introduction of the Gospel into these Catholic countries bordering upon the Mediterranean, we are arranging all our publications, in respect to kind, matter, quality and language. Our printer, who expresses much interest in the prosperity of our cause, has just made arrangements to order from England an apparatus for stereotyping, and we hope by this means and other opportunities, ere long to supply economically from this point, as a central book depot, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Bombay and Calcutta.
We have published another edition of "The Voice of Joseph," which is revised from the Italian, and commenced to send it abroad among the people, hoping much good may result from its instrumentality. Also an edition of the "Ancient Gospel Restored "(originally entitled "The Only Way to be Saved"), in French, and another in Italian. This little work is now published, and in a few days will be circulating here in four different languages. The Elders in Bombay and Calcutta will be supplied with publications from here, imme- diately upon learning their address; also a little more acquaintance with the ins and outs between this and Italy,
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and we can supply Elders Malan and the Saints in Piedmont, also the Saints in Switzerland.
People. are now constantly making calls to inquire con- cerning this "strange religion." A few evenings since we had at one time, at our private lodgings, gentlemen from eight dif- ferent nations, having 'come from various parts of
the city to
hold conversation concerning our doctrines; among the num- ber were those from Poland and Greece, who are now reading our works with peculiar interest. Two intelligent and enter- prising young men, the first fruits of our ministry upon this island, will ably assist in moving forward the cause in which we are engaged; one of them we have ordained an Elder he speaks several languages fluently.
Since our arrival, the slanderous reports of the United States "Judges," from Great Salt Lake City, through the medium of the French and English newspapers, obtain lively circulation, losing nothing by importation ; Yet they serve us some good purpose by awakening curiosity, and sending many visitors, whereby we have increased opportunities of announ- cing our principles.
Elder Woodard, as soon as his services can be- dispensed with here, will return to the assistance of Elder Malan, in Italy, leaving the work in this place in charge of Elder Obray. My European mission, on my departure, from these countries, will be under the superintendence of Elders Stenhouse, Wood- ard and Obray; the Indian mission will be left with Elders Findlay, Willis and Joseph Richards. These brethren will keep up correspondence with the Presidency in Liverpool, from whom they will receive, from time to time, that instruction and counsel as shall tend to promote our Master's cause under their directions.
The English and Italian languages are much spoken in Gibraltar as well as the Spanish, and we are anxious to see the work of the Lord beginning to spread its truths, if possible, through the Spanish dominions; and feel to do all in our
power to effect so desirable an object. We cannot help but believe that the Lord has some good people in that place, that will hearken to His voice, and become instruments in carrying the Gospel to their countrymen. In a few days I shall have completed my arrangements here, and shall then take my departure for that country, and spend what little time I can spare, with a view of making an opening, as wisdom may direct.
If a wise, energetic, faithful and experienced Elder, being well approved by yourself, who wishes to engage in that which will redound to the honor and glory of God, and the salvation of souls, will come to Gibraltar, he shall be supplied with appropriate publications from here ; and while there I will do for him what lies in my power, and make such arrangements in laying a foundation for his advancement in the work, as my time and opportunities shall permit. If another Elder can be looked up for India, to aid Elder Findlay at Bombay, I believe I will then have done with my requests upon England, at least till my return from California.
It is not our expectation to convert all these Catholic nations, but we can hardly expect any better or more favorable time to furnish them an opportunity for life and salvation; and we feel that there are a few among them who will appre- ciate the sacrifices we make in their behalf; and, giving heed to the call, will come forth fulfilling the words of the holy Prophets, that a remnant shall come to Zion, gathered "from every nation, kindred, tongue and people."
We expect, also, on our part, in order to accomplish this work, much patience, faith, diligence, perseverance and long- suffering will necessarily be exercised. In the cities, both in America and in England, in which thousands ultimately received the Gospel, in several instances many months were spent in seemingly fruitless labors before a proper attention to those principles was produced; so, in reference to these Catho- lic countries, we may not only labor months, but perhaps even
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years. But we feel assured that through faith, prayer, works and the blessing of the Lord we shall ultimately overcome all difficulties, .and have the assurance that we have done our duty and cleared our garments of the blood of all men.
Brother Woodard joins me in love to yourself and to all the Saints, praying that you may be attended in all your exer- tions for the cause of Zion, with the choicest blessings our Heavenly Father bestows upon the faithful whose hearts and souls are devoted to His service.
Since I commenced writing I have received cheering intel- ligence from my Indian missions, which no doubt has reached the columns of the Star.
LORENZO SNOW. President S. 'W. Richards.
In connection with the above letter, we copy the following from an editorial in the Millennial Star, in relation .to the East India mission :
" By the politeness of Elder William Cook, of London, we are enabled to lay before our readers the following interesting items concerning the East India mission, being extracts from a letter from Elder William Willis, who, our readers will recol- lect, is on a mission to Calcutta: On Sunday, December 21, 1851, Elder Willis baptized nine natives, five Christian and four Pagan. He was expecting to baptize four natives and three Europeans on the 7th of January, 18.Y2. Four stations were open for preaching, and prospects were very encouraging for a good work being done. Elder Willis was also engaged busily in translating the "Ancient Gospel Restored," by Lorenzo Snow, into Bengalee and Hindostanee. Thus are the glad tidings of salvation wending their way into the dark regions of the earth. The energy of the Elders of Israel is rapidly causing Zion's glorious standard to be lifted among the nations, whilst the Holy Spirit of God inspires the scattered sons and daughters of Israel to the hope set before them."
To follow up the progress of the East India mission, we copy from the Star an extract of a letter from Elder Willis to Brother Snow, dated:
2| JAUN BAZAAR STREET, CALCUTTA,
May 15th, 1852. Beloved President Snow:
The Church in and within forty miles of Calcutta consists of one hundred and eighty-nine members, one hundred and seventy of whom are Ryots, or native husbandmen, who pre- viously were nearly all professing Christians, and whose seces- sion has caused a great stir among the Padre Sahib (mission- aries). The children of the native brethren are more numerous than themselves, and, as soon as we can visit them, there are many more desirous of being baptized. But they are scattered over an immense district of plowed fields, and very bad or no regular roads , but you know what " Mormon" perseverance will accomplish. We look upon these things as the droppings before the shower. There is a great work preparing among the Europeans here much of earnest and polite inquiry- meetings are well attended, many coming in their carriages and palkees, and at the end of the lectures the people are very unwilling to leave the room until they have had the frieiidty shake of the hand, and the long debate after the lecture is over, frequently prolonging it till past ten at night, etc.
I have just heard from Brother Findlay, at Bombay, who has commenced sowing the good seed. He has been attacked by a pious scribbler, and has had the privilege of replying, twice, in a masterly style, in the Bombay papers; which replies have been also inserted in the Calcutta and other papers. About seven or eight rabid articles, letters, etc., have been leveled at me and the truth, and they have inserted three of my replies, which have caused many to inquire, and visit me, and read the tracts I brought out,
The public library has been furnished with copies of all
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of our works, through the recommendation of Major Marshall, who attended my lectures and presented me his card. I have my eye on several new stations, when my boys here have learned their drill. I am so circumstanced as to be able to do something every day and night in rolling on the work of God. If we had many more Elders they would all get "curry and rice," and souls for their hire.
Your tract, "The Only Way to be Saved," has just been translated by Brother Brigham Prankisto, one of my children in the faith, a Priest; and I trust it will soon be printed in Bengalee and Hindostanee. He has commenced translating "Child's Ladder," and "Remarkable Visions."
I have just concluded a course of twelve lectures, which have been well and respectably attended. One night four missionaries w r ere present; two rose up in the meeting and violently opened their mouths, but as I promised to hear them at the conclusion of the lecture, they waited, and at the end of the lecture they questioned me and were silenced, being self- condemned out of the Scriptures; for neither of them had been baptized according to their requirements, and they sat down, saying, "they did not come to argue," to the great aston- ishment and amusement of the audieuce. The following day they were shown up in the newspapers by an anti-"Mormon" writer, who expressed his surprise at their demeaning them- selves by "interfering w T ith the delusions of Mormonism."
We have been blest with the gift of healing in cases of croup, fever, cholera, etc. ; the last was that of a Hindoo groom, who was in a dying state with Asiatic cholera. I anointed him with oil, and was assisted in the laying on of hands by Brothers McLachlan and Boynton, when the man soon recovered, although he was in great agony turning up his eyes, and was frightfully affected. To God the Eternal Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be all the glory.
The Saints here, with one heart; sustain the authorities of the Church, Presidents Young, Kimball and Richards, the
Twelve, the Seventies, the High Council, and all the organiza- tions of the Church in Deseret and elsewhere, and pray that heaven's blessings may continue to be poured out upon them.
I am preparing seeds for the Valley. The flowering shrubs here are very numerous and beautiful. I trust to be favored with a ship-letter when you reach the Valley, and to hear what the Presidency think about the success of this mission. I have ordained two Elders, J. P. Meik and McCune. I hope soon to have an Oriental Star, as literature here is at a low ebb and high price. I have faith to ask if you will sanction.
June 1st. Last night I baptized two males and one female in a household, and of the same family as a few days ago, and expect the mother very shortly. She is the owner of several large houses in Calcutta is of a noble spirit, and fully believes the Gospel. We now number one hundred and ninety-two. The Saints unite with your most affectionate brother and fellow servant in prayers and best wishes for your health, happiness and success in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.