Diversity in Nineteenth-Century St. Louis

In 1840, Douglas Miln, a Scotsman visiting St. Louis, Missouri, wrote a letter to Reverend William Beckett of Aberdeen, Scotland. In it Miln decried mob violence, the usurping of power by the rich, conditions of slaves, the slave trade, and religious diversity as he saw it in the frontier town. Then he spent more than half of his four long pages describing Mormonism, at that time only ten years old but with a significant presence in Missouri. Miln took much of his text directly from a short book by John Corrill that described the origins of Mormonism. Miln’s objective description of Mormonism differed from the treatment Mormonism usually received from the press and from American society at large.

This article includes the full text of the letter, which is housed in the collections of the Filson Historical Society in Louisville, Kentucky.

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