In the latter half of the 19th century, the principle role that New York City filled for Mormonism was as a transit point—more than 75,000 Mormon converts entered the United States through New York City during those years while several thousand missionaries sailed for Europe from New York’s port. But beginning with the Page Act in 1875 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the U.S. began restricting immigration, beginning with Chinese and also including convicts, lunatics, and “others unable to care for themselves.” And in the late 1880s, attention on polygamy prosecution in Utah led to a provision of the Geary Act of 1892 which prohibited entry by polygamists. If you were restricted from immigrating, you were sent back.
Archive for June, 2012
On Christmas Day, 1845, the New York Tribune encouraged its readers to visit a “Model of New Haven,” which opened that day in the Granite Building, on the corner of Broadway and Chambers street. The exhibition, which cost 25 cents to see, also included models of a number of public buildings and “the Mormon Temple at Nauvoo.”
When I worked on a student newspaper at BYU, we were embarrassed one issue when the headline of our leading article read: “America’s Facination with Fame.” You’d be surprised how easy it is to make that kind of mistake.
Of course, the journalists of the 1840s made mistakes too, and one, in the New York Gazette in early November 1845 was at the expense of Mormon immigrants:
There were a large number of convicts to Mormonism on board the steamboat Rochester, at Albany, recently, on the way for Nauvoo, most of whom were from Lowell, Mass.
Horace Greeley, editor of the competing, New York Tribune, caught the error, and on the 5th of November, responded:
Rather a curious mistake, Mr. Gazette! Or did you mean it?
Of course, LDS Church members have been told to show the courage of their convictions, but somehow I don’t think that’s what the Gazette had in mind.