Biography and family record of Lorenzo Snow/Chapter XXVII
Editor's reflections. Lorenzo writes to President Richards. Completed Translation of the Book
of Mormon. Visits Paris, Pleasure of meeting
Saints. Condition of the people. Goes to Geneva. Degradation of woman. Meets Elder Stenhouse. Interesting meetings. At Lausanne Professor Reta Benefit of Elder Taylor's French publications.
'HERE are many passages in human life, wherein, by close and careful observation and reflection silently watching the results of the course and doings of others, we may learn by their experience. There are many others which can only be learned by individual, per sonal acquaintance. When contemplating the life of my brother
as a missionary abroad in stranger lands, unacquainted with the manners and customs of the people, and ignorant of their languages arid dialects, with the responsibility of the salva- tion of souls to whom he is sent resting upon him, in connec- tion with the fulness of the Gospel of the Son of God. com- mitted unto him, it seems that he has to do with some of the realities of life, of which no one can form a just conception except in the school of experience.
It would seem that the most indifferent reader must feel an interest in these gigantic movements of my brother this broad platform for missionary work a parallel of which is not to be found on record, either ancient or modern. An all- absorbing devotion to the cause he was seeking to promote must have possessed the soul and inspired the mind of Lorenzo in generating this broad missionary platform, and a corresponding self-abnegation must have reigned supremely over all selfish, personal considerations. Let it be remem- bered that at this time he had a home with all its endear- ments, in the midst of the Saints of God gathered in the Great American Desert, in the midst of the Rocky Mountains of the West; and in that home a loving family, where he knew that the little one ones were lisping his name, and daily missing their loving father's knee; but with him all was laid on the altar for the interests of the Kingdom of God and the salvation of the souls of men.
. PARIS, JANUARY 6, 1852. Dear President Richards:
After a very boisterous and stormy passage over the Channel, with its usual unpleasant accompaniments, I am quietly and agreeably cloistered with Elder Bolton, together with a number of interesting and intelligent Saints, and begin to think that my homeward journey of some twenty-five or thirty thousand miles is now commenced.
Before leaving London, I had completed the translation
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of the Book of Mormon, and got the printing -forward to the last hundred pages. Elder Joseph Richards, whom I appointed to a mission to Calcutta, to assist Elder Willis, left London a few days before my departure. I repose much con- fidence in this brother, as one who will magnify his calling and do much towards establishing the Gospel in that country.
I find it much more pleasant now coming to Paris than formerly. When passing through a year and a half since, here were no Saints to bid me welcome; on arriving the other day, I found many, a circumstance you can well imagine causing no small degree of rejoicing. I found Brother Bolton quite an invalid; he is now much better. When the interests of his mission will admit of a short absence, I dare say that a visit to the cheerful, warm-hearted Saints of Old England would replenish his spirits, and not be in any way a disadvan- tage. The Church here does not boast of a multitude of sub- jects, but it may truthfully be said to embrace the good, the virtuous and intelligent.
Elder Taylor may comfort his heart with the assurance of having laid a lasting foundation for the spread of the Gos- pel in the French dominions, though no sea room is left at present; in fact, I know of no place the Gospel has been car- ried, where the difficulties are more perplexing and discour- aging. However, the time will come when the Gospel will take permanent effect in France.
I am much pleased with the acquaintance I have formed with the Saints here; I feel that they will accomplish great good. I think Elder Bolton intends making another applica- tion to the Government for the privilege of preaching the Gospel with equal liberty with other denominations a course which I much approve.
I need not speak of the political condition of the country, it is well known to all who read the English papers. In pass- ing over the country, and searching the mind of the Spirit in reference to its inhabitants, my heart is pained in contemplat-
ing the dark, dreary and bloody fate and scourge that await this nation. The life's blood of many people is scarcely wiped from the streets, the groans of the dying hardly ceased, the flowing tears of the widow and orphans are still seen. As you look around and view the troubled mien the dark and stormy brows of thousands behold the significant signs, notice the low whispering and stealthy conversations, and hear of the sudden and mysterious changes that are con- stantly taking place through the various channels of political power, you are forced to feel that again must be renewed scenes of alarm, of sorrow, of grief and of blood! Would "the powers that be" but permit the message of life to go forth freely among the inhabitants, there would be hope that the cup of bitterness might, for a season, be turned away.
I now have my passport "vise," and have just secured my place in the diligence for Switzerland. Good bye; you shall hear from me again as I get a little further advanced in the path of my orbit. May the Lord bless you with all that is good to fill your heart with rejoicing, and may the same blessing descend upon all the faithful Saints.
Geneva, February 7. Bidding adieu to the brethren in Paris, on the morning of the 27th of January, I stepped into a diligence, and was soon on my way to Switzerland. The country over which I passed the first two hundred miles seemed, though in the midst of winter, to wear the appear- ance of an American spring. France is un beau pays; one could scarcely wish to live in a more delightful climate, or a more beautiful and charming country. Everywhere people were seen in pasture and ploughed fields, meadows and vine- yards, busily occupied preparing for approaching spring. What appeared a dark spot in this otherwise beautiful scenery, was the number of poor women slavishly engaged in manual labor, and exposed to all 'the hardships of out-door occupa- tions.
Small towns and villages dotted the face of the country,
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the foundations of which appeared in almost every instance to be that of some religious Catholic edifice. It would seem that in building these towns the churches were first erected, then private dwellings piled around, one after another, as the inhabitants arrived. As we approached Switzerland, the country was more and more broken, till we began to wind up and descend down the rugged, snow-covered steeps of the Jura.
About midnight of the 28th I reached Geneva, where I had the happiness of meeting Elder Stenhouse, whom I found with several of the Swiss Saints waiting to welcome my arrival. I accompanied Elder Stenhouse to his lodgings, where I had the gratification of sitting down to an excellent supper, prepared by Sister Stenhouse with an eye single to the probable condition of my appetite at the completion of a fatiguing journey over the mountains.
The following evening we had a very interesting meeting with the Saints, at which several strangers were present. Elder Stenhouse addressed the meeting in French with great fluency, and several brethren gave their testimony relative to their knowledge of the work of the Lord, and their joy and consolation in the principles of salvation.
In moving the work forward here, much the same course has to be adopted as at our commencement in London, /. e., by forming acquaintances through one to another, and per- suading one here and another there to attend our re-unions. The people feel that they v have had so many new and false coins passed among them, that it is of little use to search for or anticipate anything that is genuine; nevertheless, patience and perseverance will, in time, overcome all these difficulties, and the power of truth will triumph through the length and breadth of Switzerland, unto the redemption of the wise and virtuous.
Our little family of Saints here now numbers twenty. Having no acquaintance with the language, and being a stranger to the manners and customs of the people, and hav-
ing no friend to introduce him to the favor and confidence of any one, Elder Stenhouse, as can readily be imagined, has had to encounter difficulties insurmountable to any but those who have the most perfect consciousness of the truth and life- giving power and spirit of the cause in which they are engaged. Through the blessing of the Lord these difficulties are being fast overcome, and I have great confidence that the work will now roll on with accelerated speed. The Saints are full of life and energy, and embrace every opportunity to make known the doctrines of our Church; several of them are persons of education and influence in society. I expect that much good will shortly result from their united labors and testimonies.
After having passed a few days very agreeably and profit- ably at Geneva, I left, accompanied by Brother and Sister Stenhouse, to visit the Saints in the Canton de Vaud. We were favored with beautiful weather, which made our steam- bc-at excursion on the the clear lake of Geneva very agreeable. Switzerland has a world- wide fame for beautiful scenery; though the winter season is not the most favorable for land- scape varieties, we were much pleased with the general beauty of
the country. The many fine villas and chateaux, sur-
rounded with gardens and vineyards, that besprinkle the gently rising banks on one side of the lake, formed a beautiful contrast with Mont Blanc and the lofty, snow-capped moun- tains on the other. Though the works, wonders and beauties of nature prompted our minds to contemplation, and raised their springs of gratitude to the good and wise Preserver of all, yet there was a still higher theme for contemplation, a still greater incentive to gratitude the work of the Lord.
We arrived at Lausanne, an ancient town romantically situated upon the banks of this beautiful lake, and spent a few days very pleasantly with the Saints, the fruits of Elder Stenhouse's labors. We held meetings every night during our stay, and enjoyed much of the Spirit and power of the Lord.
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Since my arrival here I have had a pleasant visit from Pro- fessor Reta, an Italian gentleman of literary talent and celebrity, who has published some important works in the Italian language, as well .as having edited several of the first journals in Italy. I presented him the four hundred pages of the Book of Mormon that I had with me, which he pro- nounced "a correct and admirable translation, and in a very appropriate style of language."
I acknowledge with pleasure the benefits we are deriving from Elder Taylor's French publications, which, together with my own, we endeavor to circulate as widely as possible. My visit here has been a great blessing to me, and I humbly trust it will result in lasting and important benefit to the interests of the work generally.
In a few days I leave for Italy. The gigantic Alps lie in my route, rearing their snow-capped heads high amid the clouds; I trust, however, they will prove no positive barrier, as passing over them last January in a severe snow storm has given me some experience and confidence in encountering such formidable obstacles.
Brother Stenhouse joins me in kind love to yourself and your brother Samuel.
Yours very affectionately,