|Kirjallisuus > Story of the Mormons|
When Major Van Vliet returned from Utah to Washington with Young's defiant ultimatum, he was accompanied by J. M. Bernhisel, the territorial Delegate to Congress, who was allowed to retain his seat during the entire "war," a motion for his expulsion, introduced soon after Congress met, being referred to a committee which never reported on it, the debate that arose only giving further proof of the ignorance of the lawmakers about Mormon history, Mormon government, and Mormon ambition.
In Washington Bernhisel was soon in conference with Colonel T. L. Kane, that efficient ally of the Mormons, who had succeeded so well in deceiving President Fillmore. In his characteristically wily manner, Kane proposed himself to the President as a mediator between the federal authorities and the Mormon leaders.* At that early date Buchanan was not so ready for a compromise as he soon became, and the Cabinet did not entertain Kane's proposition with any enthusiasm. But Kane secured from the President two letters, dated December 3.** The first stated, in regard to Kane, "You furnish the strongest evidence of your desire to serve the Mormons by undertaking so laborious a trip," and that "nothing but pure philanthropy, and a strong desire to serve the Mormon people, could have dictated a course so much at war with your private interests." If Kane presented this credential to Young on his arrival in Salt Lake City, what a glorious laugh the two conspirators must have had over it! The President went on to reiterate the views set forth in his last annual message, and to say: "I would not at the present moment, in view of the hostile attitude they have assumed against the United States, send any agent to visit them on behalf of the government." The second letter stated that Kane visited Utah from his own sense of duty, and commended him to all officers of the United States whom he might meet.
* H. H. Bancroft ("History of Utah," p. 529) accepts the ridiculous Mormon assertion that Buchanan was compelled to change his policy toward the Mormons by unfavorable comments "throughout the United States and throughout Europe." Stenhouse says ("Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 386): "That the initiatory steps for the settlement of the Utah difficulties were made by the government, as is so constantly repeated by the Saints, is not true. The author, at the time of Colonel Kane's departure from New York for Utah, was on the staff of the New York Herald, and was conversant with the facts, and confidentially communicated them to Frederick Hudson, Esq., the distinguished manager of that great journal."
** Sen. Doc., 2d Session. 35th Congress, Vol. II, pp. 162-163.
Kane's method of procedure was, throughout, characteristic of the secret agent of such an organization as the Mormon church. He sailed from New York for San Francisco the first week in January, 1858, under the name of Dr. Osborn. As soon as he landed, he hurried to Southern California, and, joining the Mormons who had been called in from San Bernardino, he made the trip to Utah with them, arriving in Salt Lake City in February. On the evening of the day of his arrival he met the Presidency and the Twelve, and began an address to them as follows: "I come as ambassador from the Chief Executive of our nation, and am prepared and duly authorized to lay before you, most fully and definitely, the feelings and views of the citizens of our common country and of the Executive toward you, relative to the present position of this territory, and relative to the army of the United States now upon your borders." This is the report of Kane's words made by Tullidge in his "Life of Brigham Young." How the statement agrees with Kane's letters from the President is apparent on its face. The only explanation in Kane's favor is that he had secret instructions which contradicted those that were written and published. Kane told the church officers that he wished to "enlist their sympathies for the poor soldiers who are now suffering in the cold and snow of the mountains!" An interview of half an hour with Young followed--too private in its character to be participated in even by the other heads of the church. An informal discussion ensued, the following extracts from which, on Mormon authority, illustrate Kane's sympathies and purpose:--
"Did Dr. Bernhisel take his seat?"
Kane--"Yes. He was opposed by the Arkansas member and a few others, but they were treated as fools by more sagacious members; for, if the Delegate had been refused his seat, it would have been TANTAMOUNT TO A DECLARATION OF WAR."
"I suppose they [the Cabinet] are united in putting down Utah?"
Kane--"I think not."*
* Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," p. 203.
Kane was placed as a guest, still incognito, in the house of an elder, and, after a few days' rest, he set out for Camp Scott. His course on arriving there, on March 10, was again characteristic of the crafty emissary. Not even recognizing the presence of the military so far as to reply to a sentry's challenge, the latter fired on him, and he in turn broke his own weapon over the sentry's head. When seized, he asked to be taken to Governor Cumming, not to General Johnston.* "The compromise," explains Tullidge, "which Buchanan had to effect with the utmost delicacy, could only be through the new governor, and that, too, by his heading off the army sent to occupy Utah." A fancied insult from General Johnston due to an orderly's mistake led Kane to challenge the general to a duel; but a meeting was prevented by an order from Judge Eckles to the marshal to arrest all concerned if his command to the contrary was not obeyed.
"Governor Cumming," continued Tullidge, "could do nothing less than espouse the cause of the `ambassador' who was there in the execution of a mission intrusted to him by the President of the United States."**
* Colonel Johnston was made a brigadier general that winter.
** Kane brought an impudent letter from Young, saying that he had learned that the United States troops were very destitute of provisions, and offering to send them beef cattle and flour. General Johnston replied to Kane that he had an abundance of provisions, and that, no matter what might be the needs of his army, he "would neither ask nor receive from President Young and his confederates any supplies while they continued to be enemies of the government" Kane replied to this the next day, expressing a fear that "it must greatly prejudice the public interest to refuse Mr. Young's proposal in such a manner," and begging the general to reconsider the matter. No farther notice seems to have been taken of the offer.
Kane did not make any mistake in his selection of the person to approach in camp. Judged by the results, and by his admissions in after years, the most charitable explanation of Cumming's course is that he was hoodwinked from the beginning by such masters in the art of deception as Kane and Young. A woman in Salt Lake City, writing to her sons in the East at the time, described the governor as in "appearance a very social, good-natured looking gentleman, a good specimen of an old country aristocrat, at ease in himself and at peace with all the world."* Such a man, whom the acts and proclamations and letters of Young did not incite to indignation, was in a very suitable frame of mind to be cajoled into adopting a policy which would give him the credit of bringing about peace, and at the same time place him at the head of the territorial affairs.
* New York Herald, July 2, 1858. For personal recollections of Cumming, see Perry's "Reminiscences of Public Men," p. 290. What is said by Governor Perry of Cumming's Utah career is valueless.
In looking into the causes of what was, from this time, a backing down by both parties to this controversy, we find at Washington that lack of an aggressive defence of the national interests confided to him by his office which became so much more evident in President Buchanan a few years later. Defied and reviled personally by Young in the latter's official communications, there was added reason to those expressed in the President's first message why this first rebellion, as he called it, "should be put down in such a manner that it shall be the last." But a wider question was looming up in Kansas, one in which the whole nation recognized a vital interest; a bigger struggle attracted the attention of the leading members of the Cabinet. The Lecompton Constitution was a matter of vastly more interest to every politician than the government of the sandy valley which the Mormons occupied in distant Utah.
On the Mormon side, defiant as Young was, and sincere as was his declaration that he would leave the valley a desert before the advance of a hostile force, his way was not wholly clear. His Legion could not successfully oppose disciplined troops, and he knew it. The conviction of himself and his associates on the indictments for treason could be prevented before an unbiased non-Mormon jury only by flight. Abjectly as his people obeyed him,--so abjectly that they gave up all their gold and silver to him that winter in exchange for bank notes issued by a company of which he was president,--the necessity of a reiteration of the determination to rule by the plummet showed that rebellion was at least a possibility? That Young realized his personal peril was shown by some "instructions and remarks" made by him in the Tabernacle just after Kane set out for Fort Bridger, and privately printed for the use of his fellow-leaders. He expressed the opinion that if Joseph Smith had "followed the revelations in him" (meaning the warnings of danger), he would have been among them still. "I do not know precisely," said Young, "in what manner the Lord will lead me, but were I thrown into the situation Joseph was, I would leave the people and go into the wilderness, and let them do the best they could.... We are in duty bound to preserve life--to preserve ourselves on earth-- consequently we must use policy, and follow in the counsel given us." He pointed out the sure destruction that awaited them if they opened fire on the soldiers, and declared that he was going to a desert region in the territory which he had tried to have explored "a desert region that no man knows anything about," with "places here and there in it where a few families could live," and the entire extent of which would provide homes for five hundred thousand people, if scattered about. In these circumstances "a way out" that would free the federal administration from an unpleasant complication, and leave Young still in practical control in Utah, was not an unpleasant prospect for either side.
A long Utah letter to the Near York Herald (which had been generally pro-Mormon in tone) dated Camp Scott, May 22, 1858, contained the following: "Some of the deceived followers of the latest false Prophet arrived at this post in a most deplorable condition. One mater familiar had crossed the mountains during very severe weather in almost a state of nudity. Her dress consisted of a part of a single skirt, part of a man's shirt, and a portion of a jacket. Thus habited, without a shoe or a thread more, she had walked 157 miles in snow, the greater part of the way up to her knees, and carried in her arms a sucking babe less than six weeks old. The soldiers pulled off their clothes and gave them to the unfortunate woman. The absconding Saints who arrive here tell a great many stories about the condition and feeling of their brethren who still remain in the land of promise.... Thousands and thousands of persons, both men and women, are represented to be exceedingly desirous of not going South with the church, but are compelled to by fear of death or otherwise."
Governor Cumming, in his report to Secretary Cass on the situation as he found it when he entered Salt Lake City, said that, learning that a number of persons desirous of leaving the territory "considered themselves to be unlawfully restrained of their liberty," he decided, even at the risk of offending the Mormons, to give public notice of his readiness to assist such persons. In consequence, 56 men, 38 women, and 71 children sought his protection in order to proceed to the States. "The large majority of these people;" he explained, "are of English birth, and state that they leave the congregation from a desire to improve their circumstances and realize elsewhere more money for their labor."
Kane having won Governor Cumming to his view of the situation, and having created ill feeling between the governor and the chief military commander, the way was open for the next step. The plan was to have Governor Cumming enter Salt Lake Valley without any federal troops, and proceed to Salt Lake City under a Mormon escort of honor, which was to meet him when he came within a certain distance of that city. This he consented to do. Kane stayed in "Camp Eckles" until April, making one visit to the outskirts to hold a secret conference with the Mormons, and, doubtless, to arrange the details of the trip.
On April 3 Governor Cumming informed General Johnston of his decision, and he set out two days later. General Johnston's view of the policy to be pursued toward the Mormons was expressed in a report to army headquarters, dated January 20:--
"Knowing how repugnant it would be to the policy or interest of the government to do any act that would force these people into unpleasant relations with the federal government, I have, in conformity with the views also of the commanding general, on all proper occasions manifested in my intercourse with them a spirit of conciliation. But I do not believe that such consideration of them would be properly appreciated now, or rather would be wrongly interpreted; and, in view of the treasonable temper and feeling now pervading the leaders and a greater portion of the Mormons, I think that neither the honor nor the dignity of the government will allow of the slightest concession being made to them."
Judge Eckles did not conceal his determination not to enter Salt Lake City until the flag of his country was waving there, holding it a shame that men should be detained there in subjection to such a despot as Brigham Young.
Leaving camp accompanied only by Colonel Kane and two servants, Governor Cumming found his Mormon guard awaiting him a few miles distant. His own account of the trip and of his acts during the next three weeks of his stay in Mormondom may be found in a letter to General Johnston and a report to Secretary of State Cass.* As Echo Canon was supposed to be thoroughly fortified, and there was not positive assurance that a conflict might not yet take place, the governor was conducted through it by night. He says that he was "agreeably surprised" by the illuminations in his honor. Very probably he so accepted them, but the fires lighted along the sides and top of the canon were really intended to appear to him as the camp-fires of a big Mormon army. This deception was further kept up by the appearance of challenging parties at every turn, who demanded the password of the escort, and who, while the governor was detained, would hasten forward to a new station and go through the form of challenging again: Once he was made the object of an apparent attack, from which he was rescued by the timely arrival of officers of authority.**
* For text, see Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," pp. 108-212.
** "In course of time Cumming discovered how the Mormon leaders had imposed upon him and amused themselves with his credulity, and to the last hour that he was in the Territory he felt annoyed at having been so absurdly deceived, and held Brigham responsible for the mortifying joke."--"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 390.
The trip to Salt Lake City occupied a week, and on the 12th the governor entered the Mormon metropolis, escorted by the city officers and other persons of distinction in the community, and was assigned as a guest to W. C. Staines, an influential Mormon elder. There Young immediately called on him, and was received with friendly consideration. Asked by his host, when the head of the church took his leave, if Young appeared to be a tyrant, Governor Cumming replied: "No, sir. No tyrant ever had a head on his shoulders like Mr. Young. He is naturally a good man. I doubt whether many of your people sufficiently appreciate him as a leader."* This was the judgment of a federal officer after a few moments' conversation with the reviler of the government and a month's coaching by Colonel Kane.
Three days later, Governor Cumming officially notified General Johnston of his arrival, and stated that he was everywhere recognized as governor, and "universally greeted with such respectful attentions" as were due to his office. There was no mention of any advance of the troops, nor any censure of Mormon offenders, but the general was instructed to use his forces to recover stock alleged to have been stolen from the Mormons by Indians, and to punish the latter, and he was informed that Indian Agent Hurt (who had so recently escaped from Mormon clutches) was charged by W. H. Hooper, the Mormon who had acted as secretary of state during recent months, with having incited Indians to hostility, and should be investigated! Verily, Colonel Kane's work was thoroughly performed. General Johnston replied, expressing gratification at the governor's reception, requesting to be informed when the Mormon force would be withdrawn from the route to Salt Lake City, and saying that he had inquired into Dr. Hurt's case, and had satisfied himself "that he has faithfully discharged his duty as agent, and that he has given none but good advice to the Indians."
* Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," p. 206.
On the Sunday after his arrival Young introduced Governor Cumming to the people in the Tabernacle, and then a remarkable scene ensued. Stenhouse says that the proceedings were all arranged in advance. Cumming was acting the part of the vigilant defender of the laws, and at the same time as conciliator, doing what his authority would permit to keep the Mormon leaders free from the presence of troops and from the jurisdiction of federal judges. But he was not all-powerful in this respect. General Johnston had orders that would allow him to dispose of his forces without obedience to the governor, and the governor could not quash the indictments found by Judge Eckles's grand jury. Young's knowledge of this made him cautious in his reliance on Governor Gumming. Then, too, Young had his own people to deal with, and he would lose caste with them if he made a surrender which left Mormondom practically in federal control.
When Governor Cumming was introduced to the congregation of nearly four thousand people he made a very conciliatory address, in which, however, according to his report to Secretary Cass,* he let them know that he had come to vindicate the national sovereignty, "and to exact an unconditional submission on their part to the dictates of the law"; but informed them that they were entitled to trial by their peers,--intending to mean Mormon peers,--that he had no intention of stationing the army near their settlements, or of using a military posse until other means of arrest had failed. After this practical surrender of authority, the governor called for expressions of opinion from the audience, and he got them. That audience had been nurtured for years on the oratory of Young and Kimball and Grant, and had seen Judge Brocchus vilified by the head of the church in the same building; and the responses to Governor Cumming's invitation were of a kind to make an Eastern Gentile quail, especially one like the innocent Cumming, who thought them "a people who habitually exercised great self-control." One speaker went into a review of Mormon wrongs since the tarring of the prophet in Ohio, holding the federal government responsible, and naming as the crowning outrage the sending of a Missourian to govern them. This was too much for Cumming, and he called out, "I am a Georgian, sir, a Georgian." The congregation gave the governor the lie to his face, telling him that they would not believe that he was their friend until he sent the soldiers back. "It was a perfect bedlam," says an eyewitness, "and gross personal remarks were made. One man said, You're nothing but an office seeker.' The governor replied that he obtained his appointment honorably and had not solicited it."** If all this was a piece of acting arranged by Young to show his flock that he was making no abject surrender, it was well done.***
* Ex. Doc. No. 67, 1st Session, 35th Congress.
** Coverdale's statement in Camp Scott letter, June 4, 1858, to New York Herald.
*** "Brigham was seated beside the governor on the platform, and tried to control the unruly spirits. Governor Cumming may for the moment have been deceived by this apparent division among the Mormons, but three years later he told the author that it was all of a piece with the incidents of his passage through Echo Canon. In his characteristic brusque way he said: It was all humbug, sir, all humbug; but never mind; it is all over now. If it did them good, it did not hurt me.'"--"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 393.
Young's remarks on March 21 had been having their effect while Cumming was negotiating, and an exodus from the northern settlements was under way which only needed to be augmented by a movement from the valley to make good Young's declaration that they would leave their part of the territory a desert. No official order for this movement had been published, but whatever direction was given was sufficient. Peace Commissioners Powell and McCullough, in a report to the Secretary of War dated July 3, 1858, said on this subject: "We were informed by various (discontented) Mormons, who lived in the settlements north of Provo, that they had been forced to leave their homes and go to the southern part of the Territory.... We were also informed that at least one-third of the persons who had removed from their homes were compelled to do so. We were told that many were dissatisfied with the Mormon church, and would leave it whenever they could with safety to themselves. We are of opinion that the leaders of the Mormon church congregated the people in order to exercise more immediate control over them." Not only were houses deserted, but growing crops were left and heavier household articles abandoned, and the roads leading to the south and through Salt Lake City were crowded day by day with loaded wagons, their owners--even the women, often shoeless trudging along and driving their animals before them. These refugees were, a little later, joined by Young and most of his associates, and by a large part of the inhabitants of Salt Lake City itself. It was estimated by the army officers at the time that 25,000 of a total population of 45,000 in the Territory, took part in this movement. When they abandoned their houses they left them tinder boxes which only needed the word of command, when the troops advanced, to begin a general conflagration. By June 1 the refugees were collected on the western shore of Utah Lake, fifty miles south of Salt Lake City. What a picture of discomfort and positive suffering this settlement presented can be partly imagined. The town of Provo near by could accommodate but a few of the new-comers, and for dwellings the rest had recourse to covered wagons, dugouts, cabins of logs, and shanties of boards-- anything that offered any protection. There was a lack of food, and it was the old life of the plains again, without the daily variety presented when the trains were moving.
In his report to Secretary Cass, dated May 2, Governor Cumming, after describing this exodus as a matter of great concern, said:--
"I shall follow these people and try to rally them. Our military force could overwhelm most of these poor people, involving men, women, and children in a common fate; but there are among the Mormons many brave men accustomed to arms and horses, men who could fight desperately as guerillas; and, if the settlements are destroyed, will subject the country to an expensive and protracted war, without any compensating results. They will, I am sure, submit to trial by their peers,' but they will not brook the idea of trial by juries' composed of teamsters and followers of the camp,' nor any army encamped in their cities or dense settlements."
What kind of justice their idea of "trial by their peers" meant was disclosed in the judicial history of the next few years. This report, which also recited the insults the governor had received in the Tabernacle, was sent to Congress on June 10 by President Buchanan, with a special message, setting forth that he had reason to believe that "our difficulties with the territory have terminated, and the reign of the constitution and laws been restored," and saying that there was no longer any use of calling out the authorized regiments of volunteers.
Governor Cumming's report of May 2 did not reach Washington until June 9, but the President's volte-face had begun before that date, and when the situation in Utah was precisely as it was when he had assured Colonel Kane that he would send no agent to the Mormons while they continued their defiant attitude. Under date of April 6 he issued a proclamation, in which he recited the outrages on the federal officers in Utah, the warlike attitude and acts of the Mormon force, which, he pointed out, constituted rebellion and treason; declared that it was a grave mistake to suppose that the government would fail to bring them into submission; stated that the land occupied by the Mormons belonged to the United States; and disavowed any intention to interfere with their religion; and then, to save bloodshed and avoid indiscriminate punishment where all were not equally guilty, he offered "a free and full pardon to all who will submit themselves to the just authority of the federal government."
This proclamation was intrusted to two peace commissioners, L. W. Powell of Kentucky and Major Ben. McCullough of Texas. Powell had been governor of his state, and was then United States senator- elect. McCullough had seen service in Texas before the war with Mexico, and been a daring scout under Scott in the latter war. He was killed at the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, in 1862, in command of a Confederate corps.
These commissioners were instructed by the Secretary of War to give the President's proclamation extensive circulation in Utah. Without entering into any treaty or engagements with the Mormons, they were to "bring those misguided people to their senses" by convincing them of the uselessness of resistance, and how much submission was to their interest. They might, in so doing, place themselves in communication with the Mormon leaders, and assure them that the movement of the army had no reference to their religious tenets. The determination was expressed to see that the federal officers appointed for the territory were received and installed, and that the laws were obeyed, and Colonel Kane was commended to them as likely to be of essential service.
The commissioners set out from Fort Leavenworth on April 25, travelling in ambulances, their party consisting of themselves, five soldiers, five armed teamsters, and a wagon master. They arrived at Camp Scott on May 29, the reenforcements for the troops following them. The publication of the President's proclamation was a great surprise to the military. "There was none of the bloodthirsty excitement in the camp which was reported in the States to have prevailed there," says Colonel Brown, "but there was a feeling of infinite chagrin, a consciousness that the expedition was only a pawn on Mr. Buchanan's political chessboard; and reproaches against his folly were as frequent as they were vehement."*
* Atlantic Monthly, April, 1859.
The commissioners were not long in discovering the untrustworthy character of any advices they might receive from Governor Cumming. In their report of June 1 to the Secretary of War, they mentioned his opinion that almost all the military organizations of the territory had been disbanded, adding, "We fear that the leaders of the Mormon people have not given the governor correct information of affairs in the valley." They also declared it to be of the first importance that the army should advance into the valley before the Mormons could burn the grass or crops, and they gave General Johnston the warmest praise.
The commissioners set out for Salt Lake City on June 2, Governor Cumming who had returned to Camp Scott with Colonel Kane following them. On reaching the city they found that Young and the other leaders were with the refugees at Provo. A committee of three Mormons expressed to the commissioners the wish of the people that they would have a conference with Young, and on the l0th Young, Kimball, Wells, and several of the Twelve arrived, and a meeting was arranged for the following day.
There are two accounts of the ensuing conferences, the official reports of the commissioners,* which are largely statements of results, and a Mormon report in the journal kept by Wilford Woodruff.** At the first conference, the commissioners made a statement in line with the President's proclamation and with their instructions, offering pardon on submission, and declaring the purpose of the government to enforce submission by the employment of the whole military force of the nation, if necessary. Woodruff's "reflection" on this proposition was that the President found that Congress would not sustain him, and so was seeking a way of retreat. While the conference was in session, O.P. Rockwell entered and whispered to Young. The latter, addressing Governor Cumming, asked, "Are you aware that those troops are on the move toward the city?" The compliant governor replied, "It cannot be."*** What followed Woodruff thus relates:--
* Sen. Doc., 2d Session, 35th Congress, Vol. II, p. 167.
** Quoted in Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," p. 214.
*** Governor Cumming on June 15 despatched a letter to General Johnston saying that he had denied the report of the advance of the army, and that the general was pledged not to advance until he had received communications from the peace commissioners and the governor. The general replied on the 19th that he did say he would not advance until he heard from the governor, but that this was not a pledge; that his orders from the President were to occupy the territory; that his supplies had arrived earlier than anticipated, and that circumstances required an advance at once.
"Is Brother Dunbar present?' enquired Brigham.
"Yes, sir,' responded someone. What was coming now?
"Brother Dunbar, sing Zion.' The Scotch songster came forward and sang the soul-stirring lines by C. W. Penrose."*
* See p. 498, ante.
Interpreted, this meant, "Stop that army or our peace conference is ended." Woodruff adds:--
"After the meeting, McCullough and Gov. Cumming took a stroll together. What will you do with such a people?' asked the governor, with a mixture of admiration and concern. D--n them, I would fight them if I had my way,' answered McCullough. "Fight them, would you? You might fight them, but you would never whip them. They would never know when they were whipped.'"
At the second day's conference Brigham Young uttered his final defiance and then surrendered. Declaring that he had done nothing for which he desired the President's forgiveness, he satisfied the pride of his followers with such declarations as these:--
"I can take a few of the boys here, and, with the help of the Lord, can whip the whole of the United States. Boys, how do you feel? Are you afraid of the United States? (Great demonstration among the brethren.) No. No. We are not afraid of man, nor of what he can do."
"The United States are going to destruction as fast as they can go. If you do not believe it, gentlemen, you will soon see it to your sorrow."
But here was the really important part of his remarks: "Now, let me say to you peace commissioners, we are willing those troops should come into our country, but not to stay in our city. They may pass through it, if needs be, but must not quarter less than forty miles from us."
Impudent as was this declaration to the representatives of the government, it marked the end of the "war". The commissioners at once notified General Johnston that the Mormon leaders had agreed not to resist the execution of the laws in the territory, and to consent that the military and civil officers should discharge their duties. They suggested that the general issue a proclamation, assuring the people that the army would not trespass on the rights or property of peaceable citizens, and this the general did at once.
The Mormon leaders, being relieved of the danger of a trial for treason, now stood in dread of two things, the quartering of the army among them, and a vigorous assault on the practice of polygamy. Judge Eckles's District Court had begun its spring term at Fort Bridger on April 5, and the judge had charged the grand jury very plainly in regard to plural marriages. On this subject he said:--
"It cannot be concealed, gentlemen, that certain domestic arrangements exist in this territory destructive of the peace, good order, and morals of society--arrangements at variance with those of all enlightened and Christian communities in the world; and, sapping as they do the very foundation of all virtue, honesty, and morality, it is an imperative duty falling upon you as grand jurors diligently to inquire into this evil and make every effort to check its growth.
There is no law in this territory punishing polygamy, but there is one, however, for the punishment of adultery; and all illegal intercourse between the sexes, if either party have a husband or wife living at the time, is adulterous and punishable by indictment. The law was made to punish the lawless and disobedient, and society is entitled to the salutary effects of its execution."
No indictments were found that spring for this offence, but the Mormons stood in great dread of continued efforts by the judge to enforce the law as he interpreted it. Of the nature of the real terms made with the Mormons, Colonel Brown says:--
"No assurances were given by the commissioners upon either of these subjects. They limited their action to tendering the President's pardon, and exhorting the Mormons to accept it. Outside the conferences, however, without the knowledge of the commissioners, assurances were given on both these subjects by the Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs, which proved satisfactory to Brigham Young. The exact nature of their pledges will, perhaps, never be disclosed; but from subsequent confessions volunteered by the superintendent, who appears to have acted as the tool of the governor through the whole affair, it seems probable that they promised explicitly to exert their influence to quarter the army in Cache Valley, nearly one hundred miles north of Salt Lake City, and also to procure the removal of Judge Eckles."*
* Atlantic Monthly, April, 1859. Young told the Mormons at Provo on June 27, 1858: "We have reason to believe that Colonel Kane, on his arrival at the frontier, telegraphed to Washington, and that orders were immediately sent to stop the march of the army for ten days."--Journal of Discourses, Vol. VII, p. 57.
Captain Marcy had reached Camp Scott on June 8, with his herd of horses and mules, and Colonel Hoffman with the first division of the supply train which left Fort Laramie on March 18; on the 10th Captain Hendrickspn arrived with the remainder of the trains; and on the 13th the long-expected movement from Camp Scott to the Mormon city began. To the soldiers who had spent the winter inactive, except as regards their efforts to keep themselves from freezing, the order to advance was a welcome one. Late as was the date, there had been a snowfall at Fort Bridger only three days before, and the streams were full of water. The column was prepared therefore for bridge-making when necessary. When the little army was well under way the scene in the valley through which ran Black's Fork was an interesting one. The white walls of Bridger's Fort formed a background, with the remnants of the camp in the shape of sod chimneys, tent poles, and so forth next in front, and, slowly leaving all this, the moving soldiers, the long wagon trains, the artillery carriages and caissons, and on either flank mounted Indians riding here and there, satisfying their curiosity with this first sight of a white man's army. The news that the Mormons had abandoned their idea of resistance reached the troops the second day after they had started, and they had nothing more exciting to interest them on the way than the scenery and the Mormon fortifications. Salt Lake City was reached on the 26th, and the march through it took place that day. To the soldiers, nothing was visible to indicate any abandonment of the hostile attitude of the Mormons, much less any welcome.
Their leaders had returned to the camp at Provo, and the only civilians in the city were a few hundred who had, for special reasons, been granted permission to return. The only woman in the whole city was Mrs. Cumming. The Mormons had been ordered indoors early that morning by the guard; every flag on a public building had been taken down; every window was closed. The regimental bands and the creaking wagons alone disturbed the utter silence. The peace commissioners rode with General Johnston, and the whole force encamped on the river Jordan, just within the city limits. Two days later, owing to a lack of wood and pasturage there, they were moved about fifteen miles westward, near the foot of the mountains. Disregarding Young's expressed wishes, and any understanding he might have had with Governor Cumming, General Johnston selected Cedar Valley on Lake Utah for one of the three posts he was ordered to establish in the territory, and there his camp was pitched on July 6.
Governor Cumming prepared a proclamation to the inhabitants of the territory, announcing that all persons were pardoned who submitted to the law, and that peace was restored, and inviting the refugees to return to their homes. The governor and the peace commissioners made a trip to the Mormon camps, and addressed gatherings at Provo and Lehi. The governor bustled about everywhere, assuring every one that all the federal officers would "hold sacred the amnesty and pardon by the President of the United States, by G-d, sir, yes," and receiving from Young the sneering reply, "We know all about it, Governor." On July 4., no northward movement of the people having begun, Cumming told Young that he intended to publish his proclamation. "Do as YOU please," was the contemptuous reply; "to-morrow I shall get upon the tongue of my wagon, and tell the people that I am going home, and they can do as THEY please."*
* Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," p. 226.
Young did so, and that day the backward march of the people began. The real governor was the head of the church.
We may here interrupt the narrative of events subsequent to the restoration of peace in the territory, with the story of the most horrible massacre of white people by religious fanatics of their own race that has been recorded since that famous St. Bartholemew's night in Paris--the story of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Committed on Friday, September 11, 1857,--four days before the date of Young's proclamation forbidding the United States troops to enter the territory--it was a considerable time before more than vague rumors of the crime reached the Eastern states. No inquest or other investigation was held by Mormon authority, no person participating in the slaughter was arrested by a Mormon officer; and, when officers of the federal government first visited the scene, in the spring of 1859, all that remained to tell the tale were human skulls and other bones lying where the wolves and coyotes had left them, with scraps of clothing caught here and there upon the vines and bushes. Dr. Charles Brewer, the assistant army surgeon who was sent with a detail to bury the remains in May, 1859, says in his gruesome report:--
"I reached a ravine fifty yards from the road, in which I found portions of the skeletons of many bodies,--skulls, bones, and matted hair,--most of which, on examination, I concluded to be those of men. Three hundred and fifty yards further on another assembly of human remains was found, which, by all appearance, had been left to decay upon the surface; skulls and bones, most of which I believed to be those of women, some also of children, probably ranging from six to twelve years of age. Here, too, were found masses of women's hair, children's bonnets, such as are generally used upon the plains, and pieces of lace, muslin, calicoes, and other materials. Many of the skulls bore marks of violence, being pierced with bullet holes, or shattered by heavy blows, or cleft with some sharp-edged instrument."*
* Sen. Doc. No. 42, 1st Session, 36th Congress.
More than seventeen years passed before officers of the United States succeeded in securing the needed evidence against any of the persons responsible for these wholesale murders, and a jury which would bring in a verdict of guilty. Then a single Mormon paid the penalty of his crime. He died asserting that he was the one victim surrendered by the Mormon church to appease the public demand for justice. The closest students of the Mountain Meadows Massacre and of Brigham Young's rule will always give the most credence to this statement of John D. Lee. Indeed, to acquit Young of responsibility for this crime, it would be necessary to prove that the sermons and addresses in the journal of Discourses are forgeries.
In the summer of 1857 a party was made up in Arkansas to cross the plains to Southern California by way of Utah, under direction of a Captain Fancher.* This party differed from most emigrant parties of the day both in character and equipment. It numbered some thirty families,--about 140 individuals,--men, women, and children. They were people of means, several of them travelling in private carriages, and their equipment included thirty horses and mules, and about six hundred head of cattle, when they arrived in Utah. Most of them seem to have been Methodists, and they had a preacher of that denomination with them. Prayers were held in camp every night and morning, and they never travelled on Sundays. They did not hurry on, as the gold seekers were wont to do in those days, but made their trip one of pleasure, sparing themselves and their animals, and enjoying the beauties and novelties of the route.**
* Stenhouse says that travelling the same route, and encamping near the Arkansans, was a company from Missouri who called themselves "Missouri Wildcats," and who were so boisterous that the Arkansans were warned not to travel with them to Utah. Whitney says that the two parties travelled several days apart after leaving Salt Lake City. No mention of a separate company of Missourians appears in the official and court reports of the massacre.
** Jacob Forney, in his official report, says that he made the most careful inquiry regarding the conduct of the emigrants after they entered the territory, and could testify that the company conducted themselves with propriety." In the years immediately following the massacre, when the Mormons were trying to attribute the crime to Indians, much was said about the party having poisoned a spring and caused the death of Indians and their cattle. Forney found that one ox did die near their camp, but that its death was caused by a poisonous weed. Whitney, the church historian, who of course acquits the church of any responsibility for the massacre, draws a very black picture of the emigrants, saying, for instance, that at Cedar Creek "their customary proceeding of burning fences, whipping the heads off chickens, or shooting them in the streets or private dooryards, to the extreme danger of the inhabitants, was continued. One of them, a blustering fellow riding a gray horse, flourished his pistol in the face of the wife of one of the citizens, all the time making insulting proposals and uttering profane threats."-- "History of Utah," Vol. I, p. 696.
Every emigrant train for California then expected to restock in Utah. The Mormons had profited by this traffic, and such a thing as non-intercourse with travellers in the way of trade was as yet unheard of. But Young was now defying the government, and his proclamation of September 15 had declared that "no person shall be allowed to pass or repass into or through or from this territory without a permit from the proper officer." To a constituency made up so largely of dishonest members, high and low, as Young himself conceded the Mormon body politic to be, the outfit of these travellers was very attractive. There was a motive, too, in inflicting punishment on them, merely because they were Arkansans, and the motive was this:--
Parley P. Pratt was sent to explore a southern route from Utah to California in 1849. He reached San Francisco from Los Angeles in the summer of 1851, remaining there until June, 1855. He was a fanatical defender of polygamy after its open proclamation, challenging debate on the subject in San Francisco, and issuing circulars calling on the people to repent as "the Kingdom of God has come nigh unto you." While in San Francisco, Pratt induced the wife of Hector H. McLean, a custom-house official, the mother of three children, to accept the Mormon faith and to elope with him to Utah as his ninth wife. The children were sent to her parents in Louisiana by their father, and there she sometime later obtained them, after pretending that she had abandoned the Mormon belief. When McLean learned of this he went East, and traced his wife and Pratt to Houston, Texas, and thence to Fort Gibson, near Van Buren, Arkansas. There he had Pratt arrested, but there seemed to be no law under which he could be held. As soon as Pratt was released, he left the place on horseback. McLean, who had found letters from Pratt to his wife at Fort Gibson which increased his feeling against the man,* followed him on horseback for eight miles, and then, overtaking him, shot him so that he died in two hours.** It was in accordance with Mormon policy to hold every Arkansan accountable for Pratt's death, just as every Missourian was hated because of the expulsion of the church from that state.
* Van Buren Intelligencer, May 15, 1857.
** See the story in the New York Times of May 28, 1857, copied from the St. Louis Democrat and St. Louis Republican.
When the company pitched camp on the river Jordan their food supplies were nearly exhausted, and their draught animals needed rest and a chance to recuperate. They knew nothing of the disturbed relations between the Mormons and the government when they set out, and they were astonished now to be told that they must break camp and move on southward. But they obeyed. At American Fork, the next settlement, they offered some of their worn-out animals in exchange for fresh ones, and visited the town to buy provisions. There was but one answer--nothing to sell. Southward they continued, through Provo, Springville, Payson, Salt Creek, and Fillmore, at all settlements making the same effort to purchase the food of which they stood in need, and at all receiving the same reply.
So much were their supplies now reduced that they hastened on until Corn Creek was reached; there they did obtain a little relief, some Indians selling them about thirty bushels of corn. But at Beaver, a larger place, nonintercourse was again proclaimed, and at Parowan, through which led the road built by the general government, they were forbidden to pass over this directly through the town, and the local mill would not even grind their own corn. At Cedar Creek, one of the largest southern settlements, they were allowed to buy fifty bushels of wheat, and to have it and their corn ground at John D. Lee's mill. After a day's delay they started on, but so worn out were their animals that it took them three days to reach Iron Creek, twenty miles beyond, and two more days to reach Mountain Meadows, fifteen miles farther south.
These "meadows" are a valley, 350 miles south of Salt Lake City, about five miles long by one wide. They are surrounded by mountains, and narrow at the lower end to a width of 400 yards, where a gap leads out to the desert. A large spring near this gap made that spot a natural resting-place, and there the emigrants pitched their camp. Had they been in any way suspicious of Indian treachery they would not have stopped there, because, from the elevations on either side, they were subject to rifle fire. Their anxiety, however, was not about the Indians, whom they had found friendly, but about the problem of making the trip of seventy days to San Bernardino, across a desert country, with their wornout animals and their scant supplies. Had Mormon cruelty taken only the form of withholding provisions and forage from this company, its effect would have satisfied their most evil wishers.
On the morning of Monday, September 7, still unsuspicious of any form of danger, their camp was suddenly fired upon by Indians, (and probably by some white men disguised as Indians). Seven of the emigrants were killed in this attack and sixteen were wounded. Unexpected as was this manifestation of hostility, the company was too well organized to be thrown into a panic. The fire was returned, and one Indian was killed, and two chiefs fatally wounded. The wagons were corralled at once as a sort of fortification, and the wheels were chained together. In the centre of this corral a rifle pit was dug, large enough to hold all their people, and in this way they were protected from shots fired at them from either side of the valley. In this little fort they successfully defended themselves during that and the ensuing three days. Not doubting that Indians were their only assailants, two of their number succeeded in escaping from the camp on a mission to Cedar City to ask for assistance. These messengers were met by three Mormons, who shot one of them dead, and wounded the other; the latter seems to have made his way back to the camp.
The Arkansans soon suffered for water, as the spring was a hundred yards distant. Two of them during one day made a dash, carrying buckets, and got back with them safely, under a heavy fire.
* Lee denies positively a story that the Mormons shot two little girls who were dressed in white and sent out for water. He says that when the Arkansans saw a white man in the valley (Lee himself) they ran up a white flag and sent two little boys to talk with him; that he refused to see them, as he was then awaiting orders, and that he kept the Indians from shooting them. "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 231.
With some reenforcements from the south, the Indians now numbered about four hundred. They shot down some seventy head of the emigrants' cattle, and on Wednesday evening made another attack in force on the camp, but were repulsed. Still another attack the next morning had the same result. This determined resistance upset the plans of the Mormons who had instigated the Indian attacks. They had expected that the travellers would be overcome in the first surprise, and that their butchery would easily be accounted for as the result of an Indian raid on their camp. But they were not to be balked of their object. To save themselves from the loss of life that would be entailed by a charge on the Arkansans' defences, they resorted to a scheme of the most deliberate treachery.
On Friday, the 11th, a Mormon named William Bateman was sent forward with a flag of truce. The other undisguised Mormons remained in concealment, and the Indians had been instructed to keep entirely out of sight. The beleaguered company were delighted to see a white man, and at once sent one of their number to meet him. Their ammunition was almost exhausted, their dead were unburied in their midst, and their situation was desperate. Bateman, following out his instructions, told the representative of the emigrants that the Mormons had come to their assistance, and that, if they would place themselves in the white men's hands and follow directions, they would be conducted in safety to Cedar City, there to await a proper opportunity for proceeding on their journey.* This plan was agreed to without any delay, and John D. Lee was directed by John M. Higbee, major of the Iron Militia, and chief in command of the Mormon party, to go to the camp to see that the plot agreed upon was carried out, Samuel McMurdy and Samuel Knight following him with two wagons which were a part of the necessary equipment.
* This account follows Lee's confession, "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 236 ff.
Never had a man been called upon to perform a more dastardly part than that which was assigned to Lee. Entering the camp of the beleaguered people as their friend, he was to induce them to abandon their defences, give up all their weapons, separate the adults from the children and wounded, who were to be placed in the wagons, and then, at a given signal, every one of the party was to be killed by the white men who walked by their sides as their protectors. Lee draws a picture of his feelings on entering the camp which ought to be correct, even if circumstances lead one to attribute it to the pen of a man who naturally wished to find some extenuation for himself: "I doubt the power of man being equal to even imagine how wretched I felt. No language can describe my feelings. My position was painful, trying, and awful; my brain seemed to be on fire; my nerves were for a moment unstrung; humanity was overpowering as I thought of the cruel, unmanly part that I was acting. Tears of bitter anguish fell in streams from my eyes; my tongue refused its office; my faculties were dormant, stupefied and deadened by grief. I wished that the earth would open and swallow me where I stood."
When Lee entered the camp all the people, men, women, and children, gathered around him, some delighted over the hope of deliverance, while others showed distrust of his intentions. Their position was so strong that they felt some hesitation in abandoning it, and Lee says that, if their ammunition had not been so nearly exhausted, they would never have surrendered. But their hesitation was soon overcome, and the carrying out of the plot proceeded.
All their arms, the wounded, and the smallest children were placed in the two wagons. As soon as these were loaded, a messenger from Higbee, named McFarland, rode up with a message that everything should be hastened, as he feared he could not hold back the Indians. The wagons were then started at once toward Cedar City, Lee and the two drivers accompanying them, and the others of the party set out on foot for the place where the Mormon troops were awaiting them, some two hundred yards distant. First went McFarland on horseback, then the women and larger children, and then the men. When, in this order, they came to the place where the Mormons were stationed, the men of the party cheered the latter as their deliverers.
As the wagons passed out of sight over an elevation, the march of the rest of the party was resumed. The women and larger children walked ahead, then came the men in single file, an armed Mormon walking by the side of each Arkansan. This gave the appearance of the best possible protection. When they had advanced far enough to bring the women and children into the midst of a company of Indians concealed in a growth of cedars, the agreed signal the words, "Do your duty"--was given. As these words were spoken, each Mormon turned and shot the Arkansan who was walking by his side, and Indians and other Mormons attacked the women and children who were walking ahead, while Lee and his two companions killed the wounded and the older of the children who were in the wagons.
The work of killing the men was performed so effectually that only two or three of them escaped, and these were overtaken and killed soon after.* Indeed, only the nervousness natural to men who were assigned to perform so horrible a task could prevent the murderers from shooting dead the unarmed men walking by their sides. With the women and children it was different. Instead of being shot down without warning, they first heard the shots that killed their only protectors, and then beheld the Indians rushing on them with their usual whoops, brandishing tomahawks, knives, and guns. There were cries for mercy, mothers' pleas for children's lives, and maidens' appeals to manly honor; but all in vain. It was not necessary to use firearms; indeed, they would have endangered the assailants themselves. The tomahawk and the knife sufficed, and in the space of a few moments every woman and older child was a corpse.
* This is Judge Cradlebaugh's and Lee's statement. Lee said he could have given the details of their pursuit and capture if he had had time. An affidavit by James Lynch, who accompanied Superintendent Forney to the Meadows on his first trip there in March 1859 (printed in Sen. Doc. No. 42), says that one of the three, who was not killed on the spot, "was followed by five Mormons who through promises of safety, etc., prevailed upon him to return to Mountain Meadows, where they inhumanly butchered him, laughing at and disregarding his loud and repeated cries for mercy, as witnessed and described by Ira Hatch, one of the five. The object of killing this man was to leave no witness competent to give testimony in a court of justice but God."
When Lee and the men in charge of the two wagons heard the firing, they halted at once, as this was the signal agreed on for them to perform their part. McMurdy's wagon, containing the sick and wounded and the little children, was in advance, Knight's, with a few passengers and the weapons, following. We have three accounts of what happened when the signal was given, Lee's own, and the testimony of the other two at Lee's trial. Lee says that McMurdy at once went up to Knight's wagon, and, raising his rifle and saying, " O Lord my God, receive their spirits; it is for Thy Kingdom I do this," fired, killing two men with the first shot. Lee admits that he intended to do his part of the killing, but says that in his excitement his pistol went off prematurely and narrowly escaped wounding McMurdy; that Knight then shot one man, and with the butt of his gun brained a little boy who had run up to him, and that the Indians then came up and finished killing all the sick and wounded. McMurdy testified that Lee killed the first person in his wagon--a woman--and also shot two or three others. When asked if he himself killed any one that day, McMurdy replied, "I believe I am not upon trial. I don't wish to answer." Knight testified that he saw Lee strike down a woman with his gun or a club, denying that he himself took any part in the slaughter: Nephi Johnson, another witness at Lee's second trial, testified that he saw Lee and an Indian pull a man out of one of the wagons, and he thought Lee cut the man's throat. The only persons spared in this whole company were seventeen children, varying in age from two months to seven years. They were given to Mormon families in southern Utah--"sold out," says Forney in his report, "to different persons in Cedar City, Harmony, and Painter Creek. Bills are now in my possession from different individuals asking payment from the government. I cannot condescend to become the medium of even transmitting such claims to the department." The government directed Forney in 1858 to collect these children, and he did so. Congress in 1859 appropriated $10,000 to defray the expense of returning them to their friends in Arkansas, and on June 27 of that year fifteen of them (two boys being retained as government witnesses) set out for the East from Salt Lake City in charge of a company of United States dragoons and five women attendants. Judge Cradlebaugh quotes one of these children, a boy less than nine years old, as saying in his presence, when they were brought to Salt Lake City, "Oh, I wish I was a man. I know what I would do. I would shoot John D. Lee. I saw him shoot my mother."
The total number in the Arkansas party is not exactly known. The victims numbered more than 120. Jacob Hamblin testified at the Lee trial that, the following spring, he and his man buried "120 odd" skulls, counting them as they gathered them up.
A few young women, in the confusion of the Indian attack, concealed themselves, but they were soon found. Hamblin testified at Lee's second trial that Lee, in a long conversation with him, soon after the massacre, told him that, when he rejoined the Mormon troops, an Indian chief brought to him two girls from thirteen to fifteen years old, whom he had found hiding in a thicket, and asked what should be done with them, as they were pretty and he wanted to save them. Lee replied that "according to the orders he had, they were too old and too big to let go."
Then by Lee's direction the chief shot one of them, and Lee threw the other down and cut her throat. Hamblin said that an Indian boy conducted him to the place where the girls' bodies lay, a long way from the rest, up a ravine, unburied and with their throats cut. One of the little children saved from the massacre was taken home by Hamblin, and she said the murdered girls were her sisters. Richard F. Burton, who visited Utah in 1860, mentions, as one of the current stories in connection with the massacre, that, when a girl of sixteen knelt before one of the Mormons and prayed for mercy, he led her into the thicket, violated her, and then cut her throat.*
* "City of the Saints," p. 412.
As soon as the slaughter was completed the plundering began. Beside their wagons, horses, and cattle,* they had a great deal of other valuable property, the whole being estimated by Judge Cradlebaugh at from $60,000 to $70,000. When Lee got back to the main party, the searching of the bodies of the men for valuables began. "I did hold the hat awhile," he confesses, "but I got so sick that I had to give it to some other person." He says there were more than five hundred head of cattle, a large number of which the Indians killed or drove away, while Klingensmith, Haight, and Higbee, leaders in the enterprise, drove others to Salt Lake City and sold them. The horses and mules were divided in the same way. The Indians (and probably their white comrades) had made quick work with the effects of the women. Their bodies, young and old, were stripped naked, and left, objects of the ribald jests of their murderers. Lee says that in one place he counted the bodies of ten children less than sixteen years old.
* Superintendent Forney, in his report of March, 1859, said: "Facts in my possession warrant me in estimating that there was distributed a few days after the massacre, among the leading church dignitaries, $30,000 worth of property. It is presumable they also had some money."
When the Mormons had finished rifling the dead, all were called together and admonished by their chiefs to keep the massacre a secret from the whole world, not even letting their wives know of it, and all took the most solemn oath to stand by one another and declare that the killing was the work of Indians. Most of the party camped that night on the Meadows, but Lee and Higbee passed the night at Jacob Hamblin's ranch.
In the morning the Mormons went back to bury the dead. All these lay naked, "making the scene," says Lee, "one of the most loathsome and ghastly that can be imagined." The bodies were piled up in heaps in little depressions, and a pretence was made of covering them with dirt; but the ground was hard and their murderers had few tools, and as a consequence the wild beasts soon unearthed them, and the next spring the bones were scattered over the surface.
This work finished, the party, who had been joined during the night by Colonel Dame, Judge Lewis, Isaac C. Haight, and others of influence, held another council, at which God was thanked for delivering their enemies into their hands; another oath of secrecy was taken, and all voted that any person who divulged the story of the massacre should suffer death, but that Brigham Young should be informed of it. It was also voted, according to Lee, that Bishop Klingensmith should take charge of the plunder for the benefit of the church.
The story of this slaughter, to this point, except in minor particulars noted, is undisputed. No Mormon now denies that the emigrants were killed, or that Mormons participated largely in the slaughter. What the church authorities have sought to establish has been their own ignorance of it in advance, and their condemnation of it later. In examining this question we have, to assist us, the knowledge of the kind of government that Young had established over his people--his practical power of life and death; the fact that the Arkansans were passing south from Salt Lake City, and that their movements had been known to Young from the start and their treatment been subject to his direction; the failure of Young to make any effort to have the murderers punished, when a "crook of his finger" would have given them up to justice; the coincidence of the massacre with Young's threat to Captain Van Vliet, uttered on September 9, "If the issue continues, you may tell the government to stop all emigration across the continent, for the Indians will kill all who attempt it"; Young's failure to mention this "Indian outrage" in his report as superintendent of Indian affairs, and the silence of the Mormon press on the subject.* If we accept Lee's plausible theory that, at his second trial, the church gave him up as a sop to justice, and loosened the tongues of witnesses against him, this makes that part of the testimony in confirmation of Lee's statement, elicited from them, all the stronger.
* H. H. Bancroft, in his "Utah," as usual, defends the Mormon church against the charge of responsibility for the massacre, and calls Judge Cradlebaugh's charge to the grand jury a slur that the evidence did not excuse.
Let us recall that Lee himself had been an active member of the church for nearly forty years, following it from Missouri to Utah, travelling penniless as a missionary at the bidding of his superiors, becoming a polygamist before he left Nauvoo, accepting in Utah the view that "Brigham spoke by direction of the God of heaven," and saying, as he stood by his coffin looking into the rifles of his executioners, "I believe in the Gospel that was taught in its purity by Joseph Smith in former days." How much Young trusted him is seen in the fact that, by Young's direction, he located the southern towns of Provo, Fillmore, Parowan, etc., was appointed captain of militia at Cedar City, was president of civil affairs at Harmony, probate judge of the county (before and after the massacre), a delegate to the convention which framed the constitution of the State of Deseret, a member of the territorial legislature (after the massacre), and "Indian farmer" of the district including the Meadows when the massacre occurred.
Lee's account of the steps leading up to the massacre and of what followed is, in brief, that, about ten days before it occurred, General George A. Smith, one of the Twelve, called on him at Washington City, and, in the course of their conversation, asked, "Suppose an emigrant train should come along through this southern country, making threats against our people and bragging of the part they took in helping kill our prophet, what do you think the brethren would do with them?" Lee replied: "You know the brethren are now under the influence of the Reformation,' and are still red-hot for the Gospel. The brethren believe the government wishes to destroy them. I really believe that any train of emigrants that may come through here will be attacked and probably all destroyed. Unless emigrants have a pass from Brigham Young or some one in authority, they will certainly never get safely through this country." Smith said that Major Haight had given him the same assurance. It was Lee's belief that Smith had been sent south in advance of the emigrants to prepare for what followed.
Two days before the first attack on the camp, Lee was summoned to Cedar City by Isaac Haight, president of that Stake, second only to Colonel Dame in church authority in southern Utah, and a lieutenant colonel in the militia under Dame. To make their conference perfectly secret, they took some blankets and passed the night in an old iron works. There Haight told Lee a long story about Captain Fancher's party, charging them with abusing the Mormons, burning fences, poisoning water, threatening to kill Brigham Young and all the apostles, etc. He said that unless preventive measures were taken, the whole Mormon population were likely to be butchered by troops which these people would bring back from California. Lee says that he believed all this. He was also told that, at a council held that day, it had been decided to arm the Indians and "have them give the emigrants a brush, and, if they killed part or all, so much the better." When asked who authorized this, Haight replied, "It is the will of all in authority," and Lee was told that he was to carry out the order. The intention then was to have the Indians do the killing without any white assistance. On his way home Lee met a large body of Indians who said they were ordered by Haight, Higbee, and Bishop Klingensmith, to kill and rob the emigrants, and wanted Lee to lead them. He told them to camp near the emigrants and wait for him; but they made the attack, as described, early Monday morning, without capturing the camp, and drove the whites into an intrenchment from which they could not dislodge them. Hence the change of plan.
During the early part of the operations, Lee says, a messenger had been sent to Brigham Young for orders. On Thursday evening two or three wagon loads of Mormons, all armed, arrived at Lee's camp in the Meadows, the party including Major Higbee of the Iron Militia, Bishop Klingensmith, and many members of the High Council. When all were assembled, Major Higbee reported that Haight's orders were that "all the emigrants must be put out of the way"; that they had no pass (Young could have given them one); that they were really a part of Johnston's army, and, if allowed to proceed to California, they would bring destruction on all the settlements in Utah. All knelt in prayer, after which Higbee gave Lee a paper ordering the destruction of all who could talk. After further prayers, Higbee said to Lee, "Brother Lee, I am ordered by President Haight to inform you that you shall receive a crown of celestial glory for your faithfulness, and your eternal joy shall be complete." Lee says that he was "much shaken" by this offer, because of his complete faith in the power of the priesthood to fulfil such promises. The outcome of the conference was the adoption of the plan of treachery that was so successfully carried out on Friday morning. The council had lasted so long that the party merely had time for breakfast before Bateman set out for the camp with his white flag.*
* Bishop Klingensmith, one of the indicted, in whose case the district attorney entered a nolle prosequi in order that he might be a witness at Lee's first trial, said in his testimony: "Coming home the day following their [emigrants'] departure from Cedar City, met Ira Allen four miles beyond the place where they had spoken to Lee. Allen said, The die is cast, the doom of the emigrants is sealed.'" (This was in reference to a meeting in Parowan, when the destruction of the emigrants had been decided on.) He said John D. Lee had received orders from headquarters at Parowan to take men and go, and Joel White would be wanted to go to Pinto Creek and revoke the order to suffer the emigrants to pass. The third day after, Haight came to McFarland's house and told witness and others that orders had come in from camp last night. Things hadn't gone along as had been expected, and reenforcements were wanted. Haight then went to Parowan to get instructions, and received orders from Dame to decoy the emigrants out and spare nothing but the small children who could not tell the tale." In an affidavit made by this Bishop in April, 1871, he said: "I do not know whether said headquarters' meant the spiritual headquarters at Parowan, or the headquarters of the commander-in-chief at Salt Lake City." (Affidavit in full in "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 439.)
Several days after the massacre, Haight told Lee that the messenger sent to Young for instructions had returned with orders to let the emigrants pass in safety, and that he (Haight) had countermanded the order for the massacre, but his messenger "did not go to the Meadows at all." All parties were evidently beginning to realize the seriousness of their crime. Lee was then directed by the council to go to Young with a verbal report, Haight again promising him a celestial reward if he would implicate more of the brethren than necessary in his talk with Young.* On reaching Salt Lake City, Lee gave Young the full particulars of the massacre, step by step. Young remarked, "Isaac [Haight] has sent me word that, if they had killed every man, woman, and child in the outfit, there would not have been a drop of innocent blood shed by the brethren; for they were a set of murderers, robbers, and thieves."
* "At that time I believed everything he said, and I fully expected to receive the celestial reward that he promised me. But now [after his conviction] I say, Damn all such celestial rewards as I am to get for what I did on that fatal day." "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 251.
When the tale was finished, Young said: "This is the most unfortunate affair that ever befell the church. I am afraid of treachery among the brethren who were there. If any one tells this thing so that it will become public, it will work us great injury. I want you to understand now that you are NEVER to tell this again, not even to Heber C. Kimball. IT MUST be kept a secret among ourselves. When you get home, I want you to sit down and write a long letter, and give me an account of the affair, charging it to the Indians. You sign the letter as farmer to the Indians, and direct it to me as Indian agent. I can then make use of such a letter to keep off all damaging and troublesome inquirers." Lee did so, and his letter was put in evidence at his trial.
Lee says that Young then dismissed him for the day, directing him to call again the next morning, and that Young then said to him: "I have made that matter a subject of prayer. I went right to God with it, and asked him to take the horrid vision from my sight if it was a righteous thing that my people had done in killing those people at the Mountain Meadows. God answered me, and at once the vision was removed. I have evidence from God that he has overruled it all for good, and the action was a righteous one and well intended."*
* For Lee's account of his interview with Young, see " Mormonism Unveiled," pp. 252-254.
When Lee was in Salt Lake City as a member of the constitutional convention, the next winter, Young treated him, at his house and elsewhere, with all the friendliness of old. No one conversant with the extent of Young's authority will doubt the correctness of Lee's statement that "if Brigham Young had wanted one man or fifty men or five hundred men arrested, all he would have had to do would be to say so, and they would have been arrested instantly. There was no escape for them if he ordered their arrest. Every man who knows anything of affairs in Utah at that time knows this is so."
At the second trial of Lee a deposition by Brigham Young was read, Young pleading ill health as an excuse for not taking the stand. He admitted that "counsel and advice were given to the citizens not to sell grain to the emigrants for their stock," but asserted that this did not include food for the parties themselves. He also admitted that Lee called on him and began telling the story of the massacre, but asserted that he directed him to stop, as he did not want his feelings harrowed up with a recital of these details. He gave as an excuse for not bringing the guilty to justice, or at least making an investigation, the fact that a new governor was on his way, and he did not know how soon he would arrive. As Young himself was keeping this governor out by armed force, and declaring that he alone should fill that place, the value of his excuse can be easily estimated. Hamblin, at Lee's trial, testified that he told Brigham Young and George A. Smith "everything I could" about the massacre, and that Young said to him, "As soon as we can get a court of justice we will ferret this thing out, but till then don't say anything about it."
Both Knight and McMurphy testified that they took their teams to Mountain Meadows under compulsion. Nephi Johnson, another participant, when asked whether he acted under compulsion, replied, "I didn't consider it safe for me to object," and when compelled to answer the question whether any person had ever been injured for not obeying such orders, he replied, "Yes, sir, they had."
Some letters published in the Corinne (Utah) Reporter, in the early seventies, signed "Argus," directly accused Young of responsibility for this massacre. Stenhouse discovered that the author had been for thirty years a Mormon, a high priest in the church, a holder of responsible civil positions in the territory, and he assured Stenhouse that "before a federal court of justice, where he could be protected, he was prepared to give the evidence of all that he asserted." "Argus" declared that when the Arkansans set out southward from the Jordan, a courier preceded them carrying Young's orders for non-intercourse; that they were directed to go around Parowan because it was feared that the military preparations at that place, Colonel Dame's headquarters, might arouse their suspicion; and he points out that the troops who killed the emigrants were called out and prepared for field operations, just as the territorial law directed, and were subject to the orders of Young, their commander-in-chief.
Not until the so-called Poland Bill of 1874 became a law was any one connected with the Mountain Meadows Massacre even indicted. Then the grand jury, under direction of Judge Boreman, of the Second Judicial District of Utah, found indictments against Lee, Dame, Haight, Higbee, Klingensmith, and others. Lee, who had remained hidden for some years in the canon of the Colorado,* was reported to be in south Utah at the time, and Deputy United States Marshal Stokes, to whom the warrant for his arrest was given, set out to find him. Stokes was told that Lee had gone back to his hiding-place, but one of his assistants located the accused in the town of Panguitch, and there they found him concealed in a log pen near a house. His trial began at Beaver, on July 12, 1875. The first jury to try his case disagreed, after being out three days, eight Mormons and the Gentile foreman voting for acquittal, and three Gentiles for conviction. The second trial, which took place at Beaver, in September, 1876, resulted in a verdict of "guilty of murder in the first degree." Beadle says of the interest which the church then took in his conviction: "Daniel H. Wells went to Beaver, furnished some new evidence, coached the witnesses, attended to the spiritual wants of the jury, and Lee was convicted. He could not raise the money ($1000) necessary to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, although he solicited it by subscription from wealthy leading Mormons for several days under guard."**
* Inman's "Great Salt Lake Trail," p. 141
** "Polygamy," p. 507.
Criminals in Utah convicted of a capital crime were shot, and this was Lee's fate. It was decided that the execution should take place at the scene of the massacre, and there the sentence of the court was carried out on March 23, 1877. The coffin was made of rough pine boards after the arrival of the prisoner, and while he sat looking at the workmen a short distance away. When all the arrangements were completed, the marshal read the order of the court and gave Lee an opportunity to speak. A photographer being ready to take a picture of the scene, Lee asked that a copy of the photograph be given to each of three of his wives, naming them. He then stood up, having been seated on his coffin, and spoke quietly for some time. He said that he was sacrificed to satisfy the feelings of others; that he died "a true believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ," but did not believe everything then taught by Brigham Young. He asserted that he "did nothing designedly wrong in this unfortunate affair," but did everything in his power to save the emigrants. Five executioners then stepped forward, and, when their rifles exploded, Lee fell dead on his coffin.
Major (afterward General) Carlton, returning from California in 1859, where he had escorted a paymaster, passed through Mountain Meadows, and, finding many bones of the victims still scattered around, gathered them, and erected over them a cairn of stones, on one of which he had engraved the words: "Here lie the bones of 120 men, women, and children from Arkansas, murdered on the 10th day of September, 1857." In the centre of the cairn was placed a beam, some fifteen feet high, with a cross-tree, on which was painted: "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will repay it." It was said that this was removed by order of Brigham Young.*
* "Humiliating as it is to confess, in the 42d Congress there were gentlemen to be found in the committees of the House and in the Senate who were bold enough to declare their opposition to all investigation. One who had a national reputation during the war, from Bunker Hill to New Orleans, was not ashamed to say to those who sought the legislation that was necessary to make investigation possible, that it was too late.'" "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 456.
With the return of the people to their homes, the peaceful avocations of life in Utah were resumed. The federal judges received assignments to their districts, and the other federal officers took possession of their offices. Chief Justice Eckles selected as his place of residence Camp Floyd, as General Johnston's camp was named; Judge Sinclair's district included Salt Lake City, and Judge Cradlebaugh's the southern part of the state.
Judge Cradlebaugh, who conceived it to be a judge's duty to see that crime was punished, took steps at once to secure indictments in connection with the notorious murders committed during the "Reformation," and we have seen in a former chapter with what poor results. He also personally visited the Mountain Meadows, talked with whites and Indians cognizant with the massacre, and, on affidavits sworn to before him, issued warrants for the arrest of Haight, Higbee, Lee, and thirty-four others as participants therein. In order to hold court with any prospect of a practical result, a posse of soldiers was absolutely necessary, even for the protection of witnesses; but Governor Cumming, true to the reputation he had secured as a Mormon ally, declared that he saw no necessity for such use of federal troops, and requested their removal from Provo, where the court was in session; and when the judge refused to grant his request, he issued a proclamation in which he stated that the presence of the military had a tendency "to disturb the peace and subvert the ends of justice." Before this dispute had proceeded farther, General Johnston received an order from Secretary Floyd, approved by Attorney General Black, directing that in future he should instruct his troops to act as a posse comitatus only on the written application of Governor Cumming. Thus did the church win one of its first victories after the reestablishment of "peace."
An incident in Salt Lake City at this time might have brought about a renewal of the conflict between federal and Mormon forces. The engraver of a plate with which to print counterfeit government drafts, when arrested, turned state's evidence and pointed out that the printing of the counterfeits had been done over the "Deseret Store" in Salt Lake City, which was on Young's premises. United States Marshal Dotson secured the plate, and with it others, belonging to Young, on which Deseret currency had been printed. This seemed to bring the matter so close to Young that officers from Camp Floyd called on Governor Cumming to secure his cooperation in arresting Young should that step be decided on. The governor refused with indignation to be a party to what he called "creeping through walls," that is, what he considered a roundabout way to secure Young's arrest; and, when it became rumored in the city that General Johnston would use his troops without the governor's cooperation Cumming directed Wells, the commander of the Nauvoo Legion, who had so recently been in rebellion against the government, to hold his militia in readiness for orders. Wells is quoted by Bancroft as saying that he told Cumming, "We would not let them [the soldiers] come; that if they did come, they would never get out alive if we could help it."* The decision of the Washington authorities in favor of Governor Cumming as against the federal judges once more restored "peace." The only sufferer from this incident was Marshal Dotson, against whom Young, in his probate court, obtained a judgment of $2600 for injury to the Deseret currency plates, and a house belonging to Dotson, renting for $500 year, was sold to satisfy this judgment, and bought in by an agent of Young.
* "History of Utah," p. 573, note.
To complete the story of this forgery, it may be added that Brewer, the engraver who turned state's evidence, was shot down in Main Street, Salt Lake City, one evening, in company with J. Johnson, a gambler who had threatened to shoot a Mormon editor. A man who was a boy at the time gave J. H. Beadle the particulars of this double murder as he received it from the person who lighted a brazier to give the assassin a sure aim.* The coroner's jury the next day found that the men shot one another!
* "Polygamy," p. 192.
Soon all public attention throughout the country was centred in the coming conflict in the Southern states. In May, 1860, the troops at Camp Floyd departed for New Mexico and Arizona, only a small guard being left under command of Colonel Cooke. In May, 1861, Governor Cumming left Salt Lake City for the east so quietly that most of the people there did not hear of his departure until they read it in the local newspapers. He soon after appeared in Washington, and after some delay obtained a pass which permitted his passage through the Confederate lines. When the Southern rebellion became a certainty, Colonel Cooke and his force were ordered to march to the East in the autumn, after selling vast quantities of stores in Camp Floyd, and destroying the supplies and ammunition which they could not take away. Such a slaughter of prices as then occurred was, perhaps, without precedent. It was estimated that goods costing $4,000,000 brought only $l00,000. Young had preached non-intercourse with the Gentile merchants who followed the army, but he could not lose so great an opportunity as this, when, for instance, flour costing $28.40 per sack sold for 52 cents, and he invested $4,000. "For years after," says Stenhouse, "the regulation blue pants' were more familiar to the eye, in the Mormon settlements, than the Valley Tan Quaker gray."
When Governor Cumming left the territory, the secretary, Francis H. Wooton, became acting governor. He made himself very offensive to the administration at Washington, and President Lincoln appointed Frank Fuller, of New Hampshire, secretary of the territory in his place, and Mr. Fuller proceeded at once to Salt Lake City, where he became acting governor. Later in the year the other federal offices in Utah were filled by the appointment of John W. Dawson, of Indiana, as governor, John F. Kinney as chief justice, and R. P. Flenniken and J. R. Crosby as associate justices.
The selection of Dawson as governor was something more than a political mistake. He was the editor and publisher of a party newspaper at Fort Wayne, Indiana, a man of bad morals, and a meddler in politics, who gave the Republican managers in his state a great deal of trouble. The undoubted fact seems to be that he was sent out to Utah on the recommendation of Indiana politicians of high rank, who wanted to get rid of him, and who gave no attention whatever to the requirements of his office. Arriving at his post early in December, 1861, the new governor incurred the ill will of the Mormons almost immediately by vetoing a bill for a state convention passed by the territorial legislature, and a memorial to Congress in favor of the admission of the territory as a state (which Acting Governor Fuller approved). They were very glad, therefore, to take advantage of any mistake he might make; and he almost at once gave them their opportunity, by making improper advances to a woman whom he had employed to do some work. She, as Dawson expressed it to one of his colleagues, "was fool enough to tell of it," and Dawson, learning immediately that the Mormons meditated a severe vengeance, at once made preparations for his departure.
The Deseret News of January 1, 1862, in an editorial on the departure of the governor, said that for eight or ten days he had been confined to his room and reported insane; that, when he left, he took with him his physician and four guards, "to each of whom, as reported last evening, $100 is promised in the event that they guard him faithfully, and prevent his being killed or becoming qualified for the office of chamberlain in the King's palace, till he shall have arrived at and passed the eastern boundary of the territory." After indicating that he had committed an offence against a lady which, under the common law, if enforced, "would have caused him to have bitten the dust," the News added: "Why he selected the individuals named for his bodyguard no one with whom we have conversed has been able to determine. That they will do him justice, and see him safely out of the territory, there can be no doubt."
The hints thus plainly given were carried out. Beadle's account says, "He was waylaid in Weber Canon, and received shocking and almost emasculating injuries from three Mormon lads."* Stenhouse says: "He was dreadfully maltreated by some Mormon rowdies who assumed, for the fun of the thing,' to be the avengers of an alleged insult. Governor Dawson had been betrayed into an offence, and his punishment was heavy."** Mrs. Waite says that the Mormons laid a trap for the governor, as they had done for Steptoe; but the evidence indicates that, in Dawson's case, the victim was himself to blame for the opportunity he gave.
* "Polygamy," p. 195.
** "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 592.
Stenhouse says that the Mormon authorities were very angry because of the aggravated character of the punishment dealt out to the governor, as they simply wanted him sent away disgraced, and that they had all his assailants shot. This is practically confirmed by the Mormon historian Whitney, who says that one of the assailants was a relative of the woman insulted, and the others "merely drunken desperadoes and robbers who," he explains, "were soon afterward arrested for their cowardly and brutal assault upon the fleeing official. One of them, Lot Huntington, was shot by Deputy Sheriff O. P. Rockwell [so often Young's instrument in such cases] on January 26, in Rush Valley, while attempting to escape from the officers, and two others, John P. Smith and Moroni Clawson, were killed during a similar attempt next day by the police of Salt Lake City. Their confederates were tried and duly punished."*
* "History of Utah," Vol. II, p. 38.
The departure of Governor Dawson left the executive office again in charge of Secretary Fuller. Early in 1862 the Indians threatened the overland mail route, and Fuller, having received instruction from Montgomery Blair to keep the route open at all hazards, called for thirty men to serve for thirty days. These were supplied by the Mormons. In the following April, the Indian troubles continuing, Governor Fuller, Chief Justice Kinney, and officers of the Overland Mail and Pacific Telegraph Companies united in a letter to Secretary Stanton asking that Superintendent of Indian Affairs Doty be authorized to raise a regiment of mounted rangers in the territory, with officers appointed by him, to keep open communication. These petitioners, observes Tullidge, "had overrated the federal power in Utah, as embodied in themselves, for such a service, when they overlooked ex-Governor Young" and others.* Young had no intention of permitting any kind of a federal force to supplant his Legion. He at once telegraphed to the Utah Delegate in Washington that the Utah militia (alias Nauvoo Legion) were competent to furnish the necessary protection. As a result of this presentation of the matter, Adjutant General L. L. Thomas, on April 28, addressed a reply to the petition for protection, not to any of the federal officers in Utah, but to "Mr. Brigham Young," saying, " By express direction of the President of the United States you are hereby authorized to raise, arm, and equip one company of cavalry for ninety days' service."* The order for carrying out these instructions was placed by the head of the Nauvoo Legion, "General" Wells--who ordered the burning of the government trains in 1857--in the hands of Major Lot Smith, who carried out that order!
* Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," p. 252.
** Vol. II, Series 3, p. 27, War of the Rebellion, official records.
Judges Flenniken and Crosby took their departure from the territory a month later than Dawson, and Thomas J. Drake of Michigan and Charles B. Waite of Illinois* were named as their successors, and on March 31 Stephen S. Harding of Milan, Indiana, a lawyer, was appointed governor. The new officers arrived in July.
* After leaving Utah Judge Waite was appointed district attorney for Idaho, was elected to Congress, and published "A History of the Christian Religion," and other books. His wife, author of "The Mormon Prophet," was a graduate of Oberlin College and of the Union College of Law in Chicago, a member of the Illinois bar, founder of the Chicago Law Times, and manager of the publishing firm of C. W. Waite & Co.
At this time the Mormons were again seeking admission for the State of Deseret. They had had a constitution prepared for submission to Congress, had nominated Young for governor and Kimball for lieutenant governor, and the legislature, in advance, had chosen W. H. Hooper and George Q. Cannon the United States senators. But Utah was not then admitted, while, on the other hand, an anti-polygamy bill (to be described later) was passed, and signed by President Lincoln on July 2.
During the month preceding the arrival of Governor Harding, another tragedy had been enacted in the territory. Among the church members was a Welshman named Joseph Morris, who became possessed of the belief (which, as we have seen, had afflicted brethren from time to time) that he was the recipient of "revelations." One of these "revelations" having directed him to warn Young that he was wandering from the right course, he did this in person, and received a rebuke so emphatic that it quite overcame him. He betook himself, therefore, to a place called Kington Fort, on the Weber River, thirty-five miles north of Salt Lake City, and there he found believers in his prophetic gifts in the local Bishop, and quite a settlement of men and women, almost all foreigners. Young's refusal to satisfy the demand for published "revelations" gave some standing to a fanatic like Morris, who professed to supply that long-felt want, and he was so prolific in his gift that three clerks were required to write down what was revealed to him. Among his announcements were the date of the coming of Christ and the necessity of "consecrating" their property in a common fund. Having made a mistake in the date selected for Christ's appearance, the usual apostates sprang up, and, when they took their departure, they claimed the right to carry with them their share of the common effects. In the dispute that ensued, the apostates seized some Morrisite grain on the way to mill, and the Morrisites captured some apostates, and took them prisoners to Kington Fort.
Out of these troubles came the issue of a writ by Judge Kinney for the release of the prisoners, the defiance of this writ by the Morrisites, and a successful appeal to the governor for the use of the militia to enable the marshal to enforce the writ. On the morning of June 13 the Morrisites discovered an armed force, in command of General R. T. Burton, the marshal's chief deputy, on the mountain that overlooked their settlement, and received from Burton an order to surrender in thirty minutes. Morris announced a "revelation," declaring that the Lord would not allow his people to be destroyed. When the thirty minutes had expired, without further warning the Mormon force fired on the Morrisites with a cannon, killing two women outright, and sending the others to cover. But the devotees were not weak-hearted. For three days they kept up a defence, and it was not until their ammunition was exhausted that they raised a white flag. When Burton rode into their settlement and demanded Morris's surrender, that fanatic replied, "Never." Burton at once shot him dead, and then badly wounded John Banks, an English convert and a preacher of eloquence, who had joined Morris after rebelling against Young's despotism. Banks died "suddenly" that evening. Burton finished his work by shooting two women, one of whom dared to condemn his shooting of Morris and Banks, and the other for coming up to him crying.*
* For accounts of this slaughter, see "Rocky Mountain Saints," pp. 593-606, and Beadle's "Life in Utah," pp. 413-420.
The bodies of Morris and Banks were carried to Salt Lake City and exhibited there. No one--President of the church or federal officer--took any steps at that time to bring their murderers to justice. Sixteen years later District Attorney Van Zile tried Burton for this massacre, but the verdict was acquittal, as it has been in all these famous cases except that of John D. Lee. Ninety-three Morrisites, few of whom could speak English, were arraigned before Judge Kinney and placed under bonds. In the following March seven of the Morrisites were convicted of killing members of the posse, and sentenced by Judge Kinney to imprisonment for from five to fifteen years each, while sixty-six others were fined $100 each for resisting the posse. Governor Harding immediately pardoned ail the accused, in response to a numerously signed petition. Beadle says that Bishop Wooley advised the governor to be careful about granting these pardons, as "our people feel it would be an outrage, and if it is done, they might proceed to violence"; but that Bill Hickman, the Danite captain, rode thirty miles to sign the petition, saying that he was "one Mormon who was not afraid to sign." The grand jury that had indicted the Morrisites made a presentment to Judge Kinney, in which they said, "We present his Excellency Stephen S. Harding, governor of Utah, as we would an unsafe bridge over a dangerous stream, jeopardizing the lives of all those who pass over it; or as we would a pestiferous cesspool in our district, breathing disease and death." And the chief justice assured this jury that they addressed him "in no spirit of malice," and asked them to accept his thanks "for your cooperation in the support of my efforts to maintain and enforce the law." It is to the credit of the powers at Washington that this judge was soon afterward removed.*
* Even the Mormon historian has only this to say on this subject: "Of the relative merit or demerit of the action of the United States and territorial authorities concerned in the Morrisite affair the historian does not presume to touch, further than to present the record itself and its significance."--Tullidge, "History of Salt Lake City," p. 320.
The attitude of the Mormons toward the government at the outbreak of hostilities with the Southern states was distinctly disloyal. The Deseret News of January 2, 1861, said, "The indications are that the breach which has been effected between the North and South will continue to widen, and that two or more nations will be formed out of the fragmentary portions of the once glorious republic." The Mormons in England had before that been told in the Millennial Star (January 28, 1860) that "the Union is now virtually destroyed." The sermons in Salt Lake City were of the same character. "General" Wells told the people on April 6, 1861, that the general government was responsible for their expulsion from Missouri and Illinois, adding: "So far as we are concerned, we should have been better without a government than such a one. I do not think there is a more corrupt government upon the face of the earth."* Brigham Young on the same day said: "Our present President, what is his strength? It is like a rope of sand, or like a rope made of water. He is as weak as water.... I feel disgraced in having been born under a government that has so little power, disposition and influence for truth and right. Shame, shame on the rulers of this nation. I feel myself disgraced to hail such men as my countrymen."**
* Journal of Discourses, Vol. VIII, pp. 373-374.
** Ibid., Vol. IX, p. 4.
Elder G. A. Smith, on the same occasion, railing against the non- Mormon clergy, said, "Mr. Lincoln now is put into power by that priestly influence; and the presumption is, should he not find his hands full by the secession of the Southern States, the spirit of priestly craft would force him, in spite of his good wishes and intentions, to put to death, if it was in his power, every man that believes in the divine mission of Joseph Smith."* On August 31, 1862, Young quoted Smith's prediction of a rebellion beginning in South Carolina, and declared that "the nation that has slain the prophet of God will be broken in pieces like a potter's vessel," boasting that the Mormon government in Utah was "the best earthly government that was ever framed by man."
* Journal of Discourses, Vol. IX, p. 18.
Tullidge, discussing in 1876 the attitude of the Mormon church toward the South, said:--
"With the exception of the slavery question and the policy of secession, the South stood upon the same ground that Utah had stood upon just previously.... And here we reach the heart of the Mormon policy and aims. Secession is not in it. Their issues are all inside the Union. The Mormon prophecy is that that people are destined to save the Union and preserve the constitution.... The North, which had just risen to power through the triumph of the Republican party, occupied the exact position toward the South that Buchanan's administration had held toward Utah. And the salient points of resemblance between the two cases were so striking that Utah and the South became radically associated in the Chicago platform that brought the Republican party into office. Slavery and polygamy--these twin relics of barbarism'-- were made the two chief planks of the party platform. Yet neither of these were the real ground of the contest. It continues still, and some of the soundest men of the times believe that it will be ultimately referred in a revolution so general that nearly every man in America will become involved in the action.... The Mormon view of the great national controversy, then, is that the Southern States should have done precisely what Utah did, and placed themselves on the defensive ground of their rights and institutions as old as the Union. Had they placed themselves under the political leadership of Brigham Young, they would have triumphed, for their cause was fundamentally right; their secession alone was the national crime."**
** Tullidge's "Life of Brigham Young," Chap. 24.
Knowledge of the spirit which animated the Saints induced the Secretary of War to place them under military supervision, and in May, 1862, the Third California Infantry and a part of the Second California Cavalry were ordered to Utah. The commander of this force was Colonel P. E. Connor, who had a fine record in the Mexican War, and who was among the first, at the outbreak of the Rebellion, to tender his services to the government in California, where he was then engaged in business. On assuming command of the military district of Utah, which included Utah and Nevada, Colonel Connor issued an order directing commanders of posts, camps, and detachments to arrest and imprison, until they took the oath of allegiance, "all persons who from this date shall be guilty of uttering treasonable sentiments against the government," adding, "Traitors shall not utter treasonable sentiments in this district with impunity, but must seek some more genial soil, or receive the punishment they so richly deserve."
When Connor's force arrived at Fort Crittenden (the Camp Floyd of General Johnston), the Mormons supposed that it would make its camp there. Persons having a pecuniary interest in the reoccupation of the old site, where they wanted to sell to the government the buildings they had bought for a song, tried hard to induce Colonel Connor to accept their view, even warning him of armed Mormon opposition to his passage through Salt Lake City. But he was not a man to be thus deterred. Among the rumors that reached him was one that Bill Hickman, the Danite chief, was offering to bet $500 in Salt Lake City that the colonel could not cross the river Jordan. Colonel Connor is said to have sent back the reply that he "would cross the river Jordan if hell yawned below him."
On Saturday, October 18, Connor marched twenty miles toward the Mormon capital, and the next day crossed the Jordan at 2 P.M., without finding a person in sight on the eastern shore. The command, knowing that the Nauvoo Legion outnumbered them vastly, and ignorant of the real intention of the Mormon leaders, advanced with every preparation to meet resistance. They were, as an accompanying correspondent expressed it, "six hundred miles of sand from reinforcements." The conciliatory policy of so many federal officers in Utah would have induced Colonel Connor to march quietly around the city, and select some place for his camp where it would not offend Mormon eyes. What he did do was to halt his command when the city was two miles distant, form his column with an advance guard of cavalry and a light battery, the infantry and commissary wagons coming next, and in this order, to the bewilderment of the Mormon authorities, march into the principal street, with his two bands playing, to Emigrants' Square, and so to Governor Harding's residence.
The only United States flag displayed on any building that day was the governor's. The sidewalks were packed with men, women, and children, but not a cheer was heard. In front of the governor's residence the battalion was formed in two lines, and the governor, standing in the buggy in which he had ridden out to meet them, addressed them, saying that their mission was one of peace and security, and urging them to maintain the strictest discipline. The troops, Colonel Connor leading, gave three cheers for the country and the flag, and three for Governor Harding, and then took up their march to the slope at the base of Wahsatch Mountain, where the Camp Douglas of to-day is situated. This camp was in sight of the Mormon city, and Young's residence was in range of its guns. Thus did Brigham's will bend before the quiet determination of a government officer who respected his government's dignity.
But the Mormon spirit was to be still further tested. On December 8 Governor Harding read his first message to the territorial legislature. It began with a tribute to the industry and enterprise of the people; spoke of the progress of the war, and of the application of the territory for statehood, and in this connection said, "I am sorry to say that since my sojourn amongst you I have heard no sentiments, either publicly or privately expressed, that would lead me to believe that much sympathy is felt by any considerable number of your people in favor of the government of the United States, now struggling for its very existence." He declared that the demand for statehood should not be entertained unless it was "clearly shown that there is a sufficient population" and "that the people are loyal to the federal government and the laws." He recommended the taking of a correct census to settle the question of population. All these utterances were gall and wormwood to a body of Mormon lawmakers, but worse was to come. Congress having passed an act "to prevent and punish the practice of polygamy in the territories," the governor naturally considered it his duty to call attention to the matter. Prevising that he desired to do so "in no offensive manner or unkind spirit," he pointed out that the practice was founded on no territorial law, resting merely on custom; and laid, down the principle that "no community can happily exist with an institution so important as that of marriage wanting in all those qualities that make it homogeneal with institutions and laws of neighboring civilized countries having the same spirit." He spoke of the marriage of a mother and her daughter to the same man as "no less a marvel in morals than in matters of taste," and warned them against following the recommendation of high church authorities that the federal law be disregarded. This message, according to the Mormon historian, was "an insult offered to their representatives."*
* Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," p. 305.
These representatives resented the "insult " by making no reference in the journal to the reading of the message, and by failing to have it printed. When this was made known in Washington, the Senate, on January 16, 1863, called for a report by the Committee on Territories concerning the suppression of the message, and they got one from its chairman, Benjamin Wade, pointing out that Utah Territory was in the control of "a sort of Jewish theocracy," affording "the first exhibition, within the limits of the United States, of a church ruling the state," and declaring that the governor's message contained "nothing that should give offence to any legislature willing to be governed by the laws of morality," closing with a recommendation that the message be printed by Congress. The territorial legislature adjourned on January 16 without sending to Governor Harding for his approval a single appropriation bill, and the next day the so-called legislature of the State of Deseret met and received a message from the state governor, Brigham Young.
Next the new federal judges came under Mormon displeasure. We have seen the conflict of jurisdiction existing between the federal and the so-called probate courts and their officers. Judge Waite perceived the difficulties thus caused as soon as he entered upon his duties, and he sent to Washington an act giving the United States marshal authority to select juries for the federal courts, taking from the probate courts jurisdiction in civil actions, and leaving them a limited criminal jurisdiction subject to appeal to the federal court, and providing for a reorganization of the militia under the federal governor. Bernhisel and Hooper sent home immediate notice of the arrival of this bill in Washington.
Now, indeed, it was time for Brigham to "bend his finger." If a governor could openly criticise polygamy, and a judge seek to undermine Young's legal and military authority, without a protest, his days of power were certainly drawing to a close. Accordingly, a big mass-meeting was held in Salt Lake City on March 3, 1863, "for the purpose of investigating certain acts of several of the United States officials in the territory." Speeches were made by John Taylor and Young, in which the governor and judges were denounced.* A committee was appointed to ask the governor and two judges to resign and leave the territory, and a petition was signed requesting President Lincoln to remove them, the first reason stated being that "they are strenuously endeavoring to create mischief, and stir up strife between the people of the territory and the troops in Camp Douglas." The meeting then adjourned, the band playing the "Marseillaise."
* Reported in Mrs. Waite's "Mormon Prophet," pp. 98-102.
The committee, consisting of John Taylor, J. Clinton, and Orson Pratt, called on the governor and the judges the next morning, and met with a flat refusal to pay any attention to the mandate of the meeting. "You may go back and tell your constituents," said Governor Harding, "that I will not resign my office, and will not leave this territory, until it shall please the President to recall me. I will not be driven away. I may be in danger in staying, but my purpose is fixed." Judge Drake told the committee that he had a right to ask Congress to pass or amend any law, and that it was a special insult for him, a citizen, to be asked by Taylor, a foreigner, to leave any part of the Republic. "Go back to Brigham Young, your master," said he, "that embodiment of sin, shame, and disgust, and tell him that I neither fear him, nor love him, nor hate him--that I utterly despise him. Tell him, whose tools and tricksters you are, that I did not come here by his permission, and that I will not go away at his desire nor by his direction.... A horse thief or a murderer has, when arrested, a right to speak in court; and, unless in such capacity or under such circumstances, don't you even dare to speak to me again." Judge Waite simply declined to resign because to do so would imply "either that I was sensible of having done something wrong, or that I was afraid to remain at my post and perform my duty."**
* Text of replies in Mrs. Waite's "Mormon Prophet," pp. 107-109.
As soon as the action of the Mormon mass-meeting became known at Camp Douglas, all the commissioned officers there signed a counter petition to President Lincoln, "as an act of duty we owe our government," declaring that the charge of inciting trouble between the people and the troops was "a base and unqualified falsehood," that the accused officers had been "true and faithful to the government," and that there was no good reason for their removal.
Excitement in Salt Lake City now ran high. Young, in a violent harangue in the Tabernacle on March 8, after declaring his loyalty to the government, said, "Is there anything that could be asked that we would not do? Yes. Let the present administration ask us for a thousand men, or even five hundred, and I'd see them d--d first, and then they could not have them. What do you think of that?' (Loud cries of Good, Good,' and great applause.)"*
* Correspondence of the Chicago Tribune.
Young expected arrest, and had a signal arranged by which the citizens would rush to his support if this was attempted. A false alarm of this kind was given on March 9, and in an hour two thousand armed men were assembled around his house.* Steptoe, who in an earlier year had declined the governorship of the territory and petitioned for Young's reappointment, took credit for what followed in an article in the Overland Monthly for December, 1896. Being at Salt Lake City at the time, he suggested to Wells and other leaders that they charge Young with the crime of polygamy before one of the magistrates, and have him arraigned and admitted to bail, in order to place him beyond the reach of the military officers. The affidavit was sworn to before the compliant Chief Justice Kinney by Young's private secretary, was served by the territorial marshal, and Young was released in $5000 bail. Colonel Connor was informed of this arrest before he arrived in the city, and retraced his steps; the citizens dispersed to their homes; the grand jury found no indictment against Young, and in due time he was discharged from his recognizance.
* "On the inside of the high walls surrounding Brigham's premises scaffolding was hastily erected in order to enable the militia to fire down upon the passing volunteers. The houses on the route which occupied a commanding position where an attack could be made upon the troops were taken possession of, and the small cannon brought out."--"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 604.
"In the meantime," says a Mormon chronicler, "our outside' friends in this city telegraphed to those interested in the mail* and telegraph lines that they must work for the removal of the troops, Governor Harding, and Judges Waite and Drake, otherwise there would be difficulty,' and the mail and telegraph lines would be destroyed. Their moneyed interest has given them great energy in our behalf."** This "work" told Governor Harding was removed, leaving the territory on June 11 and, as proof that this was due to "work" and not to his own incapacity, he was made Chief Justice of Colorado Territory.*** With him were displaced Chief Justice Kinney and Secretary Fuller.**** Judges Waite and Drake wrote to the President that it would take the support of five thousand men to make the federal courts in Utah effective. Waite resigned in the summer of 1863. Drake remained, but his court did practically no business.
* The first Pony Express left Sacramento and St. Joseph, Missouri, on April 3, 1860. Major General M. B. Hazen in an official letter dated February, 1807 (House Misc. Doc. No. 75, 2d Session, 39th Congress), said: "Ben Holiday I believe to be the only outsider acceptable to those people, and to benefit himself I believe he would throw the whole weight of his influence in favor of Mormonism. By the terms of his contract to carry the mails from the Missouri to Utah, all papers and pamphlets for the newsdealers, not directed to subscribers, are thrown out. It looks very much like a scheme to keep light out of that country, nowhere so much needed."
** D. O. Calder's letter to George Q. Cannon, March 13, 1863, in Millennial Star.
*** "Every attempt was made to seduce him from the path of duty, not omitting the same appliances which had been brought to bear upon Steptoe and Dawson, but all in vain."--"The Mormon Prophet," p. 109.
**** Whitney, the Mormon historian, says that while the President was convinced that Harding was not the right man for the place, "he doubtless believed that there was more or less truth in the charges of subserviency' to Young made by local anti-Mormons against Chief Justice Kinney and Secretary Fuller. He therefore removed them as well."--"History of Utah," Vol. II, p. 103.
Lincoln's policy, as he expressed it then, was, "I will let the Mormons alone if they will let me alone."* He had war enough on his hands without seeking any diversion in Utah. J. D. Doty, the superintendent of Indian affairs, succeeded Harding as governor, Amos Reed of Wisconsin became secretary, and John Titus of Philadelphia chief justice.
* Young's letter to Cannon, "History of Salt Lake City," p. 325.
Affairs in Utah now became more quiet. General Connor (he was made a brigadier general for his service in the Bear River Indian campaign in 1862-1863) yielded nothing to Mormon threats or demands. A periodical called the Union Vidette, published by his force, appeared in November, 1863, and in it was printed a circular over his name, expressing belief in the existence of rich veins of gold, silver, copper, and other metals in the territory, and promising the fullest protection to miners and prospectors; and the beginning of the mining interests there dated from the picking up of a piece of ore by a lady member of the camp while attending a picnic party. Although the Mormons had discouraged mining as calculated to cause a rush of non-Mormon residents, they did not show any special resentment to the general's policy in this respect. With the increasing evidence that the Union cause would triumph, the church turned its face toward the federal government. We find, accordingly, a union of Mormons and Camp Douglas soldiers in the celebration of Union victories on March 4, 1865, with a procession and speeches, and, when General Connor left to assume command of the Department of the Platte, a ball in his honor was given in Salt Lake City; and at the time of Lincoln's assassination church and government officers joined in services in the Tabernacle, and the city was draped in mourning.
In June, 1865, a distinguished party from the East visited Salt Lake City, and their visit was not without public significance. It included Schuyler Colfax, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lieutenant Governor Bross of Illinois, Samuel Bowles, editor of the Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican, and A. D. Richardson of the staff of the New York Tribune. Crossing the continent was still effected by stage-coach at that time, and the Mormon capital had never been visited by civilians so well known and so influential. Mr. Colfax had stated publicly that President Lincoln, a short time before his death, had asked him to make a thorough investigation of territorial matters, and his visit was regarded as semiofficial. The city council formally tendered to the visitors the hospitality of the city, and Mr. Bowles wrote that the Speaker's reception "was excessive if not oppressive."
In an interview between Colfax and Young, during which the subject of polygamy was brought up by the latter, he asked what the government intended to do with it, now that the slavery question was out of the way. Mr. Colfax replied with the expression of a hope that the prophets of the church would have a new "revelation" which would end the practice, pointing out an example in the course of Missouri and Maryland in abolishing slavery, without waiting for action by the federal government. "Mr. Young," says Bowles, "responded quietly and frankly that he should readily welcome such a revelation; that polygamy was not in the original book of the Mormons; that it was not an essential practice in the church, but only a privilege and a duty, under special command of God."*
* "Across the Continent," p. 111.
It is worth while to note Mr. Bowles's summing up of his observations of Mormondom during this visit. "The result," he wrote, "of the whole experience has been to increase my appreciation of the value of their material progress and development to the nation; to evoke congratulations to them and to the country for the wealth they have created, and the order, frugality, morality (sic), and industry they have organized in this remote spot in our continent; to excite wonder at the perfection of their church system, the extent of its ramifications, the sweep of its influence, and to enlarge my respect for the personal sincerity and character of many of the leaders in the organization."* These were the expressions of a leading journalist, thought worthy to be printed later in book form, on a church system and church officers about which he had gathered his information during a few hours' visit, and concerning which he was so fundamentally ignorant that he called their Bible--whose title is, "Book of Mormon"--"book of the Mormons!" It is reasonably certain that he had never read Smith's "revelations," doubtful if he was acquainted with even the framework of the Mormon Bible, and probable that he was wholly ignorant of the history of their recent "Reformation." Many a profound opinion of Mormonism has been founded on as little opportunity for accurate knowledge.**
* "Across the Continent," p. 106.
** As another illustration of the value of observations by such transient students may be cited the following, from Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke's "Greater Britain," Vol. I, p. 148: "Brigham's deeds have been those of a sincere man. His bitterest opponents cannot dispute the fact that, in 1844, when Nauvoo was about to be deserted owing to attacks by a ruffianly mob, Brigham Young rushed to the front and took command. To be a Mormon leader was then to be the leader of an outcast people, with a price set on his head, in a Missouri country in which almost every man who was not a Mormon was by profession an assassin."
The Eastern visitors soon learned, however, how little intention the Mormon leaders had to be cajoled out of polygamy. Before Mr. Bowles's book was published, he had to add a supplement, in which he explained that "since our visit to Utah in June, the leaders among the Mormons have repudiated their professions of loyalty to the government, and denied any disposition to yield the issue of polygamy." Tullidge sneers at Colfax "for entertaining for a while the pretty plan" of having the Mormons give up polygamy as the Missourians did slavery. The Deseret News, soon after the Colfax party left the territory, expressed the real Mormon view on this subject, saying: "As a people we view every revelation from the Lord as sacred. Polygamy was none of our seeking. It came to us from Heaven, and we recognized it, and still do, the voice of Him whose right it is not only to teach us, but to dictate and teach all men . . . . They [Gentiles] talk of revelations given, and of receiving counter revelations to forbid what has been commanded, as if man was the sole author, originator, and designer of them . . . . Do they wish to brand a whole people with the foul stigma of hypocrisy, who, from their leaders to the last converts that have made the dreary journey to these mountain wilds for their faith, have proved their honesty of purpose and deep sincerity of faith by the most sublime sacrifices? Either that is the issue of their reasoning, or they imagine that we serve and worship the most accommodating Deity ever dreamed of in the wildest vagaries of the most savage polytheist."
This was a perfectly consistent statement of the Mormon position, a simple elaboration of Young's declaration that, to give up belief in Smith as a prophet, and in his "revelations," would be to give up their faith. Just as truly, any later "revelation," repealing the one concerning polygamy, must be either a pretence or a temporary expedient, in orthodox Mormon eyes. The Mormons date the active crusade of the government against polygamy from the return of the Colfax party to the East, holding that this question did not enter into the early differences between them and the government.*
* Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," p. 358.
In the year following Colfax's visit, there occurred in Utah two murders which attracted wide notice, and which called attention once more to the insecurity of the life of any man against whom the finger of the church was crooked. The first victim was O. N. Brassfield, a non-Mormon, who had the temerity to marry, on March 20, 1866, the second polygamous wife of a Mormon while the husband was in Europe on a mission. As he was entering his house in Salt Lake City, on the third day of the following month, he was shot dead. An order that had been given to disband the volunteer troops still remaining in the territory was countermanded from Washington, and General Sherman, then commander of that department, telegraphed to Young that he hoped to hear of no more murders of Gentiles in Utah, intimating that, if he did, it would be easy to reenlist some of the recently discharged volunteers and march them through the territory.
The second victim was Dr. J. King Robinson, a young man who had come to Utah as assistant surgeon of the California volunteers, married the daughter of a Mormon whose widow and daughters had left the church, and taken possession of the land on which were some well-known warm springs, with the intention of establishing there a sanitarium. The city authorities at once set up a claim to the warm springs property, a building Dr. Robinson had erected there was burned, and, as he became aggressive in asserting his legal rights, he was called out one night, ostensibly to set a broken leg, knocked down, and shot dead. The audacity of this crime startled even the Mormons, and the opinion has been expressed that nothing more serious than a beating had been intended. There was an inquest before a city alderman, at which some non-Mormon lawyers and judges Titus and McCurdy were asked to assist. The chief feature of this hearing was the summing up by Ex-Governor J. B. Weller, of California, in which he denounced such murders, asked if there was not an organized influence which prevented the punishment of their perpetrators, and confessed that the prosecution had not been permitted "to lift the veil, and show the perpetrators of this horrible murder." *
* Text in "Rocky Mountain Saints," Appendix I.
General W. B. Hazen, in his report of February, 1867, said of these victims: *There is no doubt of their murder from Mormon church influences, although I do not believe by direct command. Principles are taught in their churches which would lead to such murders. I have earnestly to recommend that a list be made of the Mormon leaders, according to their importance, excepting Brigham Young, and that the President of the United States require the commanding officer at Camp Douglas to arrest and send to the state's prison at Jefferson City, Mo., beginning at the head of the list, man for man hereafter killed as these men were, to be held until the real perpetrators of the deed, with evidence for their conviction, be given up. I believe Young for the present necessary for us there" *
* Mis. House Doc. No. 75, 2d Session, 39th Congress.
Had this policy been adopted, Mormon prisoners would soon have started East, for very soon afterward three other murders of the same character occurred, although the victims were not so prominent.* Chief Justice Titus incurred the hatred of the Mormons by determined, if futile, efforts to bring offenders in such cases to justice, and to show their feeling they sent him a nightgown ten feet long, at the hands of a negro.
* See note 70, p. 628, Bancroft's "History of Utah." When, in July, 1869, a delegation from Illinois, that included Senator Trumbull, Governor Oglesby, Editor Medill of the Chicago Tribune, and many members of the Chicago Board of Trade, visited Salt Lake City, they were welcomed by and affiliated with the Gentile element;* and when, in the following October, Vice President Colfax paid a second visit to the city, he declined the courtesies tendered to him by the city officers.** He made an address from the portico of the Townsend House, of which polygamy was the principle feature, and was soon afterward drawn into a newspaper discussion of the subject with John Taylor.
* In an interview between Young and Senator Trumbull during this visit (reported in the Alta California), the following conversation took place:--"Young--We can take care of ourselves. Cumming was good enough in his way, for you know he was simply Governor of the Territory, while I was and am Governor of the people."
"Senator Trumbull--Mr. Young, may I say to the President that you intend to observe the laws under the constitution?"
"Young-Well-yes--we intend to."
"Senator Trumbull--But may I say to him that you will do so?"
"Young--Yes, yes; so far as the laws are just, certainly."
** "Mr. Colfax politely refused to accept the proffered courtesies of the city. Brigham was reported to have uttered abusive language in the Tabernacle towards the Government and Congress, and to have charged the President and Vice President with being drunkards. One of the Aldermen who waited upon Mr. Colfax to tender to him the hospitality of the city could only say that he did not hear Brigham say so."--"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 638.
The end of the complete seclusion of the Mormon settlement in Utah from the rest of the country--complete except so far as it was interrupted by the passage through the territory of the California emigration--dates from the establishment of Camp Floyd, and the breaking up of that camp and the disposal of its accumulation of supplies, which gave the first big impetus to mercantile traffic in Utah.* Young was ever jealous of the mercantile power, so openly jealous that, as Tullidge puts it, "to become a merchant was to antagonize the church and her policies, so that it was almost illegitimate for Mormon men of enterprising character to enter into mercantile pursuits." This policy naturally increased the business of non-Mormons who established themselves in the city, and their prosperity directed the attention of the church authorities to them, and the pulpit orators hurled anathemas at those who traded with them. Thus Young, in a discourse, on March 28, 1858, urging the people to use home-made material, said: "Let the calicoes lie on the shelves and rot. I would rather build buildings every day and burn them down at night, than have traders here communing with our enemies outside, and keeping up a hell all the time, and raising devils to keep it going. They brought their hell with them. We can have enough of our own without their help."** A system of espionage, by means of the city police, was kept on the stores of non-Mormons, until it required courage for a Mormon to make a purchase in one of these establishments. To trade with an apostate Mormon was, of course, a still greater offence.
* "The community had become utterly destitute of almost everything necessary to their social comfort. The people were poorly clad, and rarely ever saw anything on their tables but what was prepared from flour, corn, beet-molasses, and the vegetables and fruits of their gardens. . . . It was at Camp Floyd, indeed, where the principal Utah merchants and business men of the second decade of our history may be said to have laid the foundation of their fortunes, among whom were the Walker Brothers."--Tullidge, "History of Salt Lake City," pp. 246-247.
** Journal of Discourses, Vol. VII, p. 45.
Among the mercantile houses that became strong after the establishment of Camp Floyd was that of Walker Brothers. There were four of them, Englishmen, who had come over with their mother, and shared in the privations of the early Utah settlement. Possessed of practical business talent and independence of thought, they rebelled against Young's dictatorial rule and the varied trammels by which their business was restricted. Without openly apostatizing, they insisted on a measure of independence. One manifestation of this was a refusal to contribute one-tenth of their income as a tithe for the expenditure of which no account was rendered. One year, when asked for their tithe, they gave the Bishop of their ward a check for $500 as "a contribution to the poor." When this form of contribution was reported to Young, he refused to accept it, and sent the brothers word that he would cut them off from the church unless they paid their tithe in the regular way. Their reply was to tear up the check and defy Young.
The natural result followed. Brigham and his lieutenants waged an open war on these merchants, denouncing them in the Tabernacle, and keeping policemen before their doors. The Walkers, on their part, kept on offering good wares at reasonable prices, and thus retained the custom of as many Mormons as dared trade with them openly, or could slip in undiscovered. Even the expedient of placing a sign bearing an "all-seeing eye" and the words "Holiness to the Lord" over every Mormon trader's door did not steer away from other doors the Mormon customers who delighted in bargains. But the church power was too great for any one firm to fight. Not only was a business man's capital in danger in those times, when the church was opposed to him, but his life was not safe. Stenhouse draws this picture of the condition of affairs in 1866:--"After the assassination of Dr. Robinson, fears of violence were not unnatural, and many men who had never before carried arms buckled on their revolvers. Highly respectable men in Salt Lake City forsook the sidewalks after dusk, and, as they repaired to their residences, traversed the middle of the public street, carrying their revolvers in their hands.
With such a feeling of uneasiness, nearly all the non-Mormon merchants joined in a letter to Brigham Young, offering, if the church would purchase their goods and estates at twentyfive per cent less than their valuation, they would leave the Territory. Brigham answered them cavalierly that he had not asked them to come into the Territory, did not ask them to leave it, and that they might stay as long as they pleased.
"It was clear that Brigham felt himself master of the situation, and the merchants had to bide their time, and await the coming change that was anticipated from the completion of the Pacific Railroad. As the great iron way approached the mountains, and every day gave greater evidence of its being finished at a much earlier period than was at first anticipated, the hope of what it would accomplish nerved the discontented to struggle with the passing day." *
* "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 625.
The Mormon historian incorporates these two last paragraphs in his book, and says: "Here is at once described the Gentile and apostate view of the situation in those times, and, confined as it is to the salient point, no lengthy special argument in favor of President Young's policies could more clearly justify his mercantile cooperative movement. IT WAS THE MOMENT OF LIFE OR DEATH TO THE TEMPORAL POWER OF THE CHURCH . . . . The organization of Z. C. M. I. at that crisis saved the temporal supremacy of the Mormon commonwealth."* It was to meet outside competition with a force which would be invincible that Young conceived the idea of Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution, which was incorporated in 1869, with Young as president. In carrying out this idea no opposing interest, whether inside the church or out of it, received the slightest consideration. "The universal dominance of the head of the church is admitted," says Tullidge, "and in 1868, before the opening of the Utah mines and the existence of a mixed population, there was no commercial escape from the necessities of a combination."**
* Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," p. 385.
** Cooperation is as much a cardinal and essential doctrine of the Mormon church as baptism for the remission of sin."--Tullidge, "History of Salt Lake City."
Young is said to have received the idea of the big Cooperative enterprise from a small trader who asked permission to establish a mercantile system on the Cooperative plan, of moderate dimensions, throughout the territory. He gave it definite shape at a meeting of merchants in October, 1868, which was followed by
a circular explaining the scheme to the people. A preamble asserted "the impolicy of leaving the trade and commerce of this territory to be conducted by strangers." The constitution of the concern provided for a capital of $3,000,000 in $100 shares. Young's original idea was to have all the merchants pool their stocks, those who found no places in the new establishment to go into some other business,--farming for instance,-- renting their stores as they could. Of course this meant financial ruin to the unprovided for, and the opposition was strong. But Young was not to be turned from the object he had in view. One man told Stenhouse that when he reported to Young that a certain merchant would be ruined by the scheme, and would not only be unable to pay his debts, but would lose his homestead, Young's reply was that the man had no business to get into debt, and that "if he loses his property it serves him right." Tullidge, in an article in Harpers Magazine for September, 1871 (written when he was at odds with Young), said, "The Mormon merchants were publicly told that all who refused to join the cooperation should be left out in the cold; and against the two most popular of them the Lion of the Lord roared, If Henry Lawrence don't mind what's he's about I'll send him on a mission, and W. S. Godbe I'll cut off from the church."'
After the organization of the concern in 1869 some of the leading Mormon merchants in Salt Lake City sold their goods to it on favorable terms, knowing that the prices of their stock would go down when the opening of the railroad lowered freight rates. The Z. C. M. I. was started as a wholesale and retail concern, and Young recommended that ward stores be opened throughout the city which should buy their goods of the Institution. Local cooperative stores were also organized throughout the territory, each of which was under pressure to make its purchases of the central concern. Branches were afterward established at Ogden, at Logan, and at Soda Springs, Idaho, and a large business was built up and is still continued.* The effect of this new competition on the non-Mormon establishments was, of course, very serious. Walker Brothers' sales, for instance, dropped $5000 or $6000 a month, and only the opportunity to divert their capital profitably to mining saved them and others from immediate ruin.
Bancroft says that in 1883 the total sales of the Institution exceeded $4,000,000, and a half yearly dividend of five per cent was paid in October of that year, and there was a reserve fund of about $125,000; he placed the sales of the Ogden branch, in 1883, at about $800,000, and of the Logan branch at about $600,000. The thirty-second annual statement of the Institution, dated April 5,1901, contains the following figures: Capital stock, $1,077,144.89; reserve, $362,898.95; undivided profits, $179,042.88; cash receipts, February 1 to December 31, 1900, $3,457,624.44, sales for the same period, $3,489.571 .84. The branch houses named is this report are at Ogden City and Provo, Utah, and at Idaho Falls, Idaho.
But at this time an influence was preparing to make itself felt in Utah which was a more powerful opponent of Brigham Young's authority than any he had yet encountered. This influence took shape in what was known as the "New Movement," and also as "The Reformation." Its original leaders were W. S. Godbe and E. L. T. Harrison. Godbe was an Englishman, who saw a good deal of the world as a sailor, embraced the Mormon faith in his own country when seventeen years of age, and walked most of the way from New York to Salt Lake City in 1851. He became prominent in the Mormon capital as a merchant, making the trip over the plains twenty-four times between 1851 and 1859. Harrison was an architect by profession, a classical scholar, and a writer of no mean ability.
With these men were soon associated Eli B. Kelsey, a leading elder in the Mormon church, a president of Seventies, and a prominent worker in the English missions; H. W. Lawrence, a wealthy merchant who was a Bishop's counsellor; Amasa M. Lyman, who had been one of the Twelve Apostles and was acknowledged to be one of the most eloquent preachers in the church; W. H. Sherman, a prominent elder and a man of literary ability, who many years later went back to the church; T. B. H. Stenhouse, a Scotchman by birth, who was converted to Mormonism in 1846, and took a prominent part in missionary work in Europe, for three years holding the position of president of the Swiss and Italian missions; he emigrated to this country with his wife and children in 1855, practically penniless, and supported himself for a time in New York City as a newspaper writer; in Salt Lake City he married a second wife by Young's direction, and one of his daughters by his first wife married Brigham's eldest son. Stenhouse did not win the confidence of either Mormons or non-Mormons in the course of his career, but his book, "The Rocky Mountain Saints," contains much valuable information. Active with these men in the "New Movement" was Edward W. Tullidge, an elder and one of the Seventy, and a man of great literary ability. In later years Tullidge, while not openly associating himself with the Mormon church, wrote the "History of Salt Lake City" which the church accepts, a "Life of Brigham Young," which could not have been more fulsome if written by the most devout Mormon, and a "Life of Joseph the Prophet," which is a valueless expurgated edition of Joseph's autobiography which ran through the Millennial Star.
The "New Movement" was assisted by the advent of non-Mormons to the territory, by Young's arbitrary methods in starting his cooperative scheme, by the approaching completion of the Pacific Railroad, and, in a measure, by the organization of the Reorganized Church under the leadership of the prophet Joseph Smith's eldest son. Two elders of that church, who went to Salt Lake City in 1863, were refused permission to preach in the Tabernacle, but did effective work by house-to-house visitations, and there were said to be more than three hundred of the "Josephites," as they were called, in Salt Lake City in 1864.*
* "Persecution followed, as they claimed; and in early summer about one-half of the Josephites in Salt Lake City started eastward, so great being the excitement that General Connor ordered a strong escort to accompany them as far as Greene River. To those who remained, protection was also afforded by the authorities."--Bancroft, "History of Utah," p. 645.
Harrison and Tullidge had begun the publication of a magazine called the Peep o' Day at Camp Douglas, but it was a financial failure. Then Godbe and Harrison started the Utah Magazine, of which Harrison was editor. This, too, was only a drain on their purses. Accordingly, some time in the year 1868, giving it over to the care of Tullidge, they set out on a trip to New York by stage. Both were in doubt on many points regarding their church; both were of that mental make-up which is susceptible to "revelations" and "callings"; by the time they reached New York they realized that they were "on the road to apostasy."
Long discussions of the situation took place between them, and the outcome was characteristic of men who had been influenced by such teachings as those of the Mormons. Kneeling down in their room, they prayed earnestly, and as they did so "a voice spoke to them." For three weeks, while Godbe transacted his mercantile business, his friend prepared questions on religion and philosophy, "and in the evening, by appointment, a band of spirits' came to them and held converse with them, as friends would speak with friends. One by one the questions prepared by Mr. Harrison were read, and Mr. Godbe and Mr. Harrison, with pencil and paper, took down the answers as they heard them given by the spirits."* The instruction which they thus received was Delphic in its clearness--that which was true in Mormonism should be preserved and the rest should be rejected.
* "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 631.
When they returned to Utah they took Elder Eli B. Kelsey, Elder H. W. Lawrence, a man of wealth, and Stenhouse into their confidence, and it was decided to wage open warfare on Young's despotism, using the Utah Magazine as their mouthpiece. Without attacking Young personally, or the fundamental Mormon beliefs, the magazine disputed Young's doctrine that the world . was degenerating to ruin, held up the really "great characters" the world has known, that Young might be contrasted with them, and discussed the probabilities of honest errors in religious beliefs. When the Mormon leaders read in the magazine such doctrine as that, "There is one false error which possesses the minds of some in this, that God Almighty intended the priesthood to do our thinking," they realized that they had a contest on their hands. Young got into trouble with the laboring men at this time. He had contracts for building a part of the Pacific Railroad, which were sublet at a profit. An attempt by him to bring about a reduction of wages gave the magazine an opportunity to plead the laborers' cause which it gladly embraced.*
* Harpers Magazine, Vol. XLIII, p. 605.
In the summer of 1869 Alexander and David Hyrum Smith, sons of the prophet, visited Salt Lake City in the interest of the Reorganized Church. Many of Young's followers still looked on the sons of the prophet as their father's rightful successor to the leadership of the Church, as Young at Nauvoo had promised that Joseph III should be. But these sons now found that, even to be acknowledged as members of Brigham's fold, they must accept baptism at the hands of one of his elders, and acknowledge the "revelation" concerning polygamy as coming from God. They had not come with that intent. But they called on Young and discussed with him the injection of polygamy into the church doctrines. Young finally told them that they possessed, not the spirit of their father, but of their mother Emma, whom Young characterized as "a liar, yes, the damnedest liar that lived," declaring that she tried to poison the prophet * He refused to them the use of the Tabernacle, but they spoke in private houses and, through the influence of the Walker brothers, secured Independence Hall. The Brighamites, using a son of Hyrum Smith as their mouthpiece,** took pains that a goodly number of polygamists should attend the Independence Hall meetings, and interruptions of the speakers turned the gatherings into something like personal wrangles.
* For Alexander Smith's report, see True Latter-Day Saints' Herald, Vol. XVI, pp. 85-86.
** Hyrum's widow went to Salt lake City, and died there in September, 1852, at the house of H. C. Kimball, who had taken care of her.
The presence of the prophet's sons gave the leaders of "The Reformation" an opportunity to aim a thrust at what was then generally understood to be one of Brigham Young's ambitions, namely, the handing down of the Presidency of the church to his oldest son; and an article in their magazine presented the matter in this light: "If we know the true feeling of our brethren, it is that they never intend Joseph Smith's nor any other man's son to preside over them, simply because of their sonship. The principle of heirship has cursed the world for ages, and with our brethren we expect to fight it till, with every other relic of tyranny, it is trodden under foot." Young accepted this challenge, and at once ordered Harrison and two other elders in affiliation with him to depart on missions. They disobeyed the order.
Godbe and Harrison told their friends in Utah that they had learned from the spirits who visited them in New York that the release of the people of the territory from the despotism of the church could come only through the development of the mines. So determined was the opposition of Young's priesthood to this development that its open advocacy in the magazine was the cause of more serious discussion than that given to any of the other subjects treated. As "The Reformation" did not then embrace more than a dozen members, the courage necessary to defy the church on such a question was not to be belittled. Just at that time came the visit of the Illinois party and of Vice President Colfax, and the latter was made acquainted with their plans and gave them encouragement. Ten days later the magazine, in an article on "The True Development of the Territory," openly advised paying more attention to mining. Young immediately called together the "School of the Prophets." This was an organization instituted in Utah, with the professed object of discussing doctrinal questions, having the "revelations" of the prophet elucidated by his colleagues, etc. It was not open to all church members, the "scholars" attending by invitation, and it soon became an organization under Young's direction which took cognizance of the secular doings of the people, exercising an espionage over them. The school is no longer maintained. Before this school Young denounced the "Reformers" in his most scathing terms, going so far as to intimate that his rule was itself in danger. Consequently the leaders of the "New Movement" were notified to appear before the High Council for a hearing.
When this hearing occurred, Young managed that Godbe and Harrison should be the only persons on trial. Both of them defied him to his face, denying his "right to dictate to them in all things spiritual and temporal,"--this was the question put to them,--and protesting against his rule. They also read a set of resolutions giving an outline of their intended movements. They were at once excommunicated, and the only elder, Eli B. Kelsey, who voted against this action was immediately punished in the same way. Kelsey was not granted even the perfunctory hearing that was customarily allowed in such cases, and he was "turned over to the devil," instead of being consigned by the usual formula "to the buffetings of Satan."
But this did not silence the "Reformers." Their lives were considered in danger by their acquaintances, and the assassination of the most prominent of them was anticipated;* but they went straight ahead on the lines they had proclaimed. Their first public meetings were held on Sunday, December 19, 1869. The knowledge of the fact that they claimed to act by direct and recent revelation gave them no small advantage with a people whose belief rested on such manifestations of the divine will, and they had crowded audiences. The services were continued every Sunday, and on the evening of one week day; the magazine went on with its work, and they were the founders of the Salt Lake Tribune which later, as a secular journal, has led the Gentile press in Utah.
* "In August my husband sent a respectful and kindly letter to the Bishop of our ward, stating that he had no faith in Brigham's claim to an Infallible Priesthood; and that he considered that he ought to be cut off from the church. I added a postscript stating that I wished to share my husband's fate. A little after ten o'clock, on the Saturday night succeeding our withdrawal from the church, we were returning home together . . . when we suddenly saw four men come out from under some trees at a little distance from us . . . . As soon as they approached, they seized hold of my husband's arms, one on each side, and held him firmly, thus rendering him almost powerless. They were all masked . . . . In an instant I saw them raise their arms, as if taking aim, and for one brief second I thought that our end had surely come, and that we, like so many obnoxious persons before us, were about to be murdered for the great sin of apostasy. This I firmly believe would have been my husband's fate if I had not chanced to be with him or had I run away . . . . The wretches, although otherwise well armed, were not holding revolvers in their hands as I at first supposed. They were furnished with huge garden syringes, charged with the most disgusting filth. My hair, bonnet, face, clothes, person--every inch of my body, every shred I wore--were in an instant saturated, and my husband and myself stood there reeking from head to foot. The villains, when they had perpetrated this disgusting and brutal outrage, turned and fled."--Mrs. Stenhouse, "Tell it All," pp. 578-581.
But the attempt to establish a reformed Mormonism did not succeed, and the organization gradually disappeared. One of the surviving leaders said to me (in October, 1901): "My parents had believed in Mormonism, and I believed in the Mormon prophet and the doctrines set forth in his revelations. We hoped to purify the Mormon church, eradicating evils that had annexed themselves to it in later years. But our study of the question showed us that the Mormon faith rested on no substantial basis, and we became believers in transcendentalism." Mr. Godbe and Mr. Lawrence still reside in Utah. The former has made and lost more than one fortune in the mines. The Mormon historian Whitney says of the leaders in this attempted reform: "These men were all reputable and respected members of the community. Naught against their morality or general uprightness of character was known or advanced."* Stenhouse, writing three years before Young's death, said:--
* Whitney's "History of Utah," Vol. II, p. 332.
"But for the boldness of the Reformers, Utah to-day would not have been what it is. Inspired by their example, the people who have listened to them disregarded the teachings of the priesthood against trading with or purchasing of the Gentiles. The spell was broken, and, as in all such like experience, the other extreme was for a time threatened. Walker Brothers regained their lost trade . . . . Reference could be made to elders, some of whom had to steal away from Utah, for fear of violent hands being laid upon them had their intended departure been made known, who are to-day wealthy and respected gentlemen in the highest walks of life, both in the United States and in Europe."
** For accounts of "The Reformation" by leaders in it, see Chap. 53 of Stenhouse's "Rocky Mountain Saints," and Tullidge's article, Harper's Magazine, Vol. XLIII, p. 602.
Governor Doty died in June, 1865, without coming in open conflict with Young, and was succeeded by Charles Durkee, a native of Vermont, but appointed from Wisconsin, which state he had represented in the United States Senate. He resigned in 1869, and was succeeded by J. Wilson Shaffer of Illinois, appointed by President Grant at the request of Secretary of War Rawlins, who, in a visit to the territory in 1868, concluded that its welfare required a governor who would assert his authority. Secretary S. A. Mann, as acting governor, had, just before Shaffer's arrival, signed a female suffrage bill passed by the territorial legislature. This gave offence to the new governor, and Mann was at once succeeded by Professor V. H. Vaughn of the University of Alabama, and Chief Justice C. C. Wilson (who had succeeded Titus) by James B. McKean. The latter was a native of Rensselaer County, New York; had been county judge of Saratoga County from 1854 to 1858, a member of the 36th and 37th Congresses, and colonel of the 72nd New York Volunteers.
Governor Shaffer's first important act was to issue a proclamation forbidding all drills and gatherings of the militia of the territory (which meant the Nauvoo Legion), except by the order of himself or the United States marshal. Wells, signing himself "Lieutenant General," sent the governor a written request for the suspension of this order. The governor, in reply, reminded Wells that the only "Lieutenant General" recognized by law was then Philip H. Sheridan, and declined to assist him in a course which "would aid you and your turbulent associates to further convince your followers that you and your associates are more powerful than the federal government." Thus practically disappeared this famous Mormon military organization.
Governor Shaffer was ill when he reached Utah, and he died a few days after his reply to Wells was written, Secretary Vaughn succeeding him until the arrival of G. A. Black, the new secretary, who then became acting governor pending the arrival of George L. Woods, an ex-governor of Oregon, who was next appointed to the executive office.
As soon as the new federal judges, who were men of high personal character, took their seats, they decided that the United States marshal, and not the territorial marshal, was the proper person to impanel the juries in the federal courts, and that the attorney general appointed by the President under the Territorial Act, and not the one elected under that act, should prosecute indictments found in the federal courts. The chief justice also filled a vacancy in the office of federal attorney. The territorial legislature of 1870, accordingly, made no appropriation for the expenses of the courts; and the chief justice, in dismissing the grand and petit juries on this account, explained to them that he had heard one of the high priesthood question the right of Congress even to pass the Territorial Act.
In September, 1871, the United States marshal summoned a grand jury from nine counties (twenty-three jurors and seventeen talesmen) of whom only seven were Mormons. All the latter, examined on their voir dire, declared that they believed that polygamy was a revelation to the church, and that they would obey
the revelation rather than the law, and all were successfully challenged. This grand jury, early in October, found indictments against Brigham Young, "General" Wells, G. Q. Cannon, and others under a territorial statute directed against lewdness and improper cohabitation. This action caused intense excitement in the Mormon capital. Prosecutor Baskin was quoted as saying that the troops at Camp Douglas would be used to enforce the warrant for Young's arrest if necessary, and the possible outcome has been thus portrayed by the Mormon historian:--"It was well known that he [Young] had often declared that he never would give himself up to be murdered as his predecessor, the Prophet Joseph, and his brother Hyrum had been, while in the hands of the law, and under the sacred pledge of the state for their safety; and, ere this could have been repeated, ten thousand Mormon Elders would have gone into the jaws of death with Brigham Young. In a few hours the suspended Nauvoo Legion would have been in arms."*
* Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," p. 527.
The warrant was served on Young at his house by the United States marshal, and, as Young was ill, a deputy was left in charge of him. On October 9 Young appeared in court with the leading men of the church, and a motion to quash the indictment was made before the chief justice and denied.
The same grand jury on October 28 found indictments for murder against D. H. Wells, W. H. Kimball, and Hosea Stout for alleged responsibility for the killing of Richard Yates during the "war" of 1857. The fact that the man was killed was not disputed; his brains were knocked out with an axe as he was sleeping by the side of two Mormon guards.* The defence was that he died the death of a spy. Wells was admitted to bail in $50,000, and the other two men were placed under guard at Camp Douglas. Indictments were also found against Brigham Young, W. A. Hickman, O. P. Rockwell, G. D. Grant, and Simon Dutton for the murder of one of the Aikin party at Warm Springs. They were all admitted to bail.
* Hickman tells the story in his "Brigham's Destroying Angel," p. 122.
When the case against Young, on the charge of improper cohabitation, was called on November 20, his counsel announced that he had gone South for his health, as was his custom in winter, and the prosecution thereupon claimed that his bail was forfeited. Two adjournments were granted at the request of his counsel. On January 3 Young appeared in court, and his counsel urged that he be admitted to bail, pleading his age and ill health. The judge refused this request, but said that the marshal could, if he desired, detain the prisoner in one of Young's own houses. This course was taken, and he remained under detention until released by the decision of the United States Supreme Court.
In April, 1872, that court decided that the territorial jury law of Utah, in force since 1859, had received the implied approval of Congress; that the duties of the attorney and marshal appointed by the President under the Territorial Act "have exclusive relation to cases arising under the laws and constitution of the United States," and "the making up of the jury list and all matters connected with the designation of jurors are subject to the regulation of territorial law."* This was a great victory for the Mormons.
* Chilton vs. Englebrech, 13 Wallace, p. 434.
In October, 1873, the United States Supreme Court rendered its decision in the case of "Snow vs. The United States" on the appeal from Chief Justice McKean's ruling about the authority of the prosecuting officers. It overruled the chief justice, confining the duties of the attorney appointed by the President to cases in which the federal government was concerned, concluding that "in any event, no great inconvenience can arise, because the entire matter is subject to the control and regulation of Congress." *
* Wallace's "Reports," Vol. XVIII, p. 317.
The following comments, from three different sources, will show the reader how many influences were then shaping the control of authority in Utah:--"At about this time [December, 1871] a change came in the action of the Department of justice in these Utah prosecutions, and fair-minded men of the nation demanded of the United States Government that it should stop the disgraceful and illegal proceedings of Judge McKean's court. The influence of Senator Morton was probably the first and most potent brought to bear in this matter, and immediately thereafter Senator Lyman Trumbull threw the weight of his name and statesmanship in the same direction, which resulted in Baskin and Maxwell being superseded, . . . and finally resulted in the setting aside of two years of McKean's doings as illegal by the august decision of the Supreme Court."--Tullidge, "History of Salt Lake City," p. 547.
"The Attorney for the Mormons labored assiduously at Washington, and, contrary to the usual custom in the Supreme Court, the forthcoming decision had been whispered to some grateful ears. The Mormon anniversary conference beginning on the sixth of April was continued over without adjournment awaiting that decision."--"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 688.
"Thus stood affairs during the winter of 1870-71. The Gentiles had the courts, the Mormons had the money. In the spring Nevada came over to run Utah. Hon. Thomas Fitch of that state had been defeated in his second race for Congress; so he came to Utah as Attorney for the Mormons. Senator Stewart and other Nevada politicians made heavy investments in Utah mines; litigation multiplied as to mining titles, and Judge McKean did not rule to suit Utah . . . . The great Emma mine, worth two or three millions, became a power in our judicial embroglio. The Chief Justice, in various rulings, favored the present occupants. Nevada called upon Senator Stewart, who agreed to go straight to Long Branch and see that McKean was removed. But Ulysses the Silent . . . promptly made reply that if Judge McKean had committed no greater fault than to revise a little Nevada law, he was not altogether unpardonable."--Beadle, "Polygamy," p. 429.
The Supreme Court decisions left the federal courts in Utah practically powerless, and President Grant understood this. On February 14, 1873, he sent a special message to Congress, saying that he considered it necessary, in order to maintain the supremacy of the laws of the United States, "to provide that the selection of grand and petit jurors for the district courts [of Utah], if not put under the control of federal officers, shall be placed in the hands of persons entirely independent of those who are determined not to enforce any act of Congress obnoxious to them, and also to pass some act which shall deprive the probate courts, or any court created by the territorial legislature, of any power to interfere with or impede the action of the courts held by the United States judges."
In line with this recommendation Senator Frelinghuysen had introduced a bill in the Senate early in February, which the Senate speedily passed, the Democrats and Schurz, Carpenter, and Trumbull voting against it. Mormon influence fought it with desperation in the House, and in the closing hours of the session had it laid aside. The diary of Delegate Hooper says on this subject, "Maxwell [the United States Marshal for Utah] said he would take out British papers and be an American citizen no longer. Claggett [Delegate from Montana] asserted that we had spent $200,000 on the judiciary committee, and Merritt [Delegate from Idaho] swore that there had been treachery and we had bribed Congress."*
* The Mormons do not always conceal the influences they employ to control legislation in which they are interested. Thus Tullidge, referring to the men of whom their Cooperative Institution buys goods, says: "But Z. C. M. I. has not only a commercial significance in the history of our city, but also a political one. It has long been the temporal bulwark around the Mormon community. Results which have been seen in Utah affairs, preservative of the Mormon power and people, unaccountable to the outsider' except on the now stale supposition that the Mormon Church has purchased Congress,' may be better traced to the silent but potent influence of Z. C. M. I. among the ruling business men of America, just as John Sharp's position as one of the directors of U. P. R---r,--a compeer among such men as Charles Francis Adams, Jay Gould and Sidney Dillon--gives him a voice in Utah affairs among the railroad rulers of America."--"History of Salt Lake City;" p. 734.
In the election of 1872 the Mormons dropped Hooper, who had long served them as Delegate at Washington, and sent in his place George Q. Cannon, an Englishman by birth and a polygamist. But Mormon influence in Washington was now to receive a severe check. On June 23, 1874, the President approved an act introduced by Mr. Poland of Vermont, and known as the Poland Bill,* which had important results. It took from the probate courts in Utah all civil, chancery, and criminal jurisdiction; made the common law in force; provided that the United States attorney should prosecute all criminal cases arising in the United States courts in the territory; that the United States marshal should serve and execute all processes and writs of the supreme and district courts, and that the clerk of the district court in each district and the judge of probate of the county should prepare the jury lists, each containing two hundred names, from which the
United States marshal should draw the grand and petit juries for the term. It further provided that, when a woman filed a bill to declare void a marriage because of a previous marriage, the court could grant alimony; and that, in any prosecution for adultery, bigamy, or polygamy, a juror could be challenged if he practised polygamy or believed in its righteousness.
* Chap. 469, 1st Session, 43d Congress.
The suit for divorce brought by Young's wife "No. 19,"--Ann Eliza Young--in January, 1873, attracted attention all over the country. Her bill charged neglect, cruel treatment, and desertion, set forth that Young had property worth $8,000,000 and an income of not less than $40,000 a year, and asked for an allowance of $1000 a month while the suit was pending, $6000 for preliminary counsel fees, and $14,000 more when the final decree was made, and that she be awarded $200,000 for her support. Young in his reply surprised even his Mormon friends. After setting forth his legal marriage in Ohio, stating that he and the plaintiff were members of a church which held the doctrine that "members thereto might rightfully enter into plural marriages," and admitting such a marriage in this case, he continued: "But defendant denies that he and the said plaintiff intermarried in any other or different sense or manner than that above mentioned or set forth. Defendant further alleges that the said complainant was then informed by the defendant, and then and there well knew that, by reason of said marriage, in the manner aforesaid, she could not have and need not expect the society or personal attention of this defendant as in the ordinary relation between husband and wife." He further declared that his property did not exceed $600,000 in value, and his income $6000 a month.
Judge McKean, on February 25, 1875, ordered Young to pay Ann Eliza $3000 for counsel fees and $500 a month alimony pendente lite, and, when he failed to obey, sentenced him to pay a fine of $25 and to one day's imprisonment. Young was driven to his own residence by the deputy marshal for dinner, and, after taking what clothing he required, was conducted to the penitentiary, where he was locked up in a cell for a short time, and then placed in a room in the warden's office for the night.
Judge McKean was accused of inconsistency in granting alimony, because, in so doing, he had to give legal sanction to Ann Eliza's marriage to Brigham while the latter's legal wife was living. Judge McKean's successor, Judge D. P. Loew, refused to imprison Young, taking the ground that there had been no valid marriage. Loew's successor, Judge Boreman, ordered Young imprisoned until the amount due was paid, but he was left at his house in custody of the marshal. Boreman's successor, Judge White, freed Young on the ground that Boreman's order was void. White's successor, Judge Schaeffer, in 1876 reduced the alimony to $100 per month, and, in default of payment, certain of Young's property was sold at auction and rents were ordered seized to make up the deficiency. The divorce case came to trial in April, 1877, when Judge Schaeffer decreed that the polygamous marriage was void, annulled all orders for alimony, and assessed the costs against the defendant.
Nothing further of great importance affecting the relations of the church with the federal government occurred during the rest of Young's life. Governor Woods incurred the animosity of the Mormons by asserting his authority from time to time ("he intermeddled," Bancroft says). In 1874 he was succeeded by S. B. Axtell of California, who showed such open sympathy with the Mormon view of his office as to incur the severest censure of the non-Mormon press. Axtell was displaced in the following year by G. B. Emery of Tennessee, who held office until the early part of 1880, when he was succeeded by Eli H. Murray.*
* Governor Murray showed no disposition to yield to Mormon authority. In his message in 1882 be referred pointedly, among other matters, to the tithing, declaring that "the poor man who earns a dollar by the sweat of his brow is entitled to that dollar," and that "any exaction or undue influence to dispossess him of any part of it, in any other manner than in payment of a legal obligation, is oppression," and he granted a certificate of election as Delegate to Congress to Allan G. Campbell, who received only 1350 votes to 18,568 for George Q. Cannon, holding that the latter was not a citizen. Governor Murray's resignation was accepted in March, 1886, and he was succeeded in the following May by Caleb W. West, who, in turn, was supplanted in May, 1889, by A. L. Thomas, who was territorial governor when Utah was admitted as a state.
Brigham Young died in Salt Lake City at 4 P.M. on Wednesday, August 29, 1877. He was attacked with acute cholera morbus on the evening of the 23rd, after delivering an address in the Council House, and it was followed by inflammation of the bowels. The body lay in state in the Tabernacle from Saturday, September 1, until Sunday noon, when the funeral services were held. He was buriod in a little plot on one of the main streets of Salt Lake City, not far from his place of residence.
The steps by which Young reached the position of head of the Mormon church, the character of his rule, and the means by which he maintained it have been set forth in the previous chapters of this work. In the ruler we have seen a man without education, but possessed of an iron will, courage to take advantage of unusual opportunities, and a thorough knowledge of his flock gained by association with them in all their wanderings. In his people we have seen a nucleus of fanatics, including some of Joseph Smith's fellow-plotters, constantly added to by new recruits, mostly poor and ignorant foreigners, who had been made to believe in Smith's Bible and "revelations," and been further lured to a change of residence by false pictures of the country they were going to, and the business opportunities that awaited them there. Having made a prominent tenet of the church the practice of polygamy, which Young certainly knew the federal government would not approve, he had an additional bond with which to unite the interests of his flock with his own, and thus to make them believe his approval as necessary to their personal safety as they believed it to be necessary to their salvation. The command which Young exercised in these circumstances is not an illustration of any form of leadership which can be held up to admiration. It is rather an exemplification of that tyranny in church and state which the world condemns whenever an example of it is afforded.
Young was the centre of responsibility for all the rebellion, nullification, and crime carried on under the authority of the church while he was its head. He never concealed his own power. He gloried in it, and declared it openly in and out of the Tabernacle. Authority of this kind cannot be divided. Whatever credit is due to Young for securing it, is legitimately his. But those who point to its acquisition as a sign of greatness, must accept for him, with it, responsibility for the crimes that were carried on under it.
The laudators of Young have found evidence of great executive ability in his management of the migration from Nauvoo to Utah. But, in the first place, this migration was compulsory; the Mormons were obliged to move. In the second place its accomplishment was no more successful than the contemporary migrations to Oregon, and the loss of life in the camps on the Missouri River was greater than that incurred in the great rush across the plains to California; while the horrors of the hand-cart movement--a scheme of Young's own device--have never been equalled in Western travel. In Utah, circumstances greatly favored Young's success. Had not gold been discovered when it was in California, the Mormon settlement would long have been like a dot in a desert, and its ability to support the stream Of immigrants attracted from Europe would have been problematic, since, in more than one summer, those already there had narrowly escaped starvation while depending on the agricultural resources of the valley.
J. Hyde, writing in 1857, said that Young "by the native force and vigor of a strong mind" had taken from beneath the Mormon church system "the monstrous stilts of a miserable superstition, and consolidated it into a compact scheme of the sternest fanaticism."* In other words, he might have explained, instead of relying on such "revelations" as served Smith, he refused to use artificial commands of God, and substituted the commands of Young, teaching, and having his associates teach, that obedience to the head of the church was obedience to the Supreme Power. Both Hyde and Stenhouse, writing before Young's death, and as witnesses of the strength of his autocratic government, overestimated him. This is seen in the view they took of the effect of his death. Hyde declared that under any of the other contemporary leadersTaylor, Kimball, Orson Hyde, or Pratt: "Mormonism will decline. Brigham is its tun; this is its daytime." Stenhouse asserted that, "Theocracy will die out with Brigham's flickering flame of life; and, when he is laid in the tomb, many who are silent now will curse his memory for the cruel suffering that his ambition caused them to endure." But all such prophecies remain unfulfilled. Young's death caused no more revolution or change in the Mormon church than does the death of a Pope in the Church of Rome. "Regret it who may," wrote a Salt Lake City correspondent less than three months after his burial, "the fact is visible to every intelligent person here that Mormonism has taken a new lease of life, and, instead of disintegration, there never was such unity among its people; and in the place of a rapidly dying consumptive, whose days were numbered, the body of the church is the picture of pristine health and vigor, with all the ambition and enthusiasm of a first love."** The new leadership has, grudgingly, traded polygamy for statehood; but the church power is as strong and despotic and unified to-day on the lines on which it is working as it was under Young, only exercising that power on the more civilized basis rendered necessary by closer connection with an outside civilization.
* "Mormonism," p.151.
** New York Times, November 23, 1877.
Young was a successful accumulator of property for his own use. A poor man when he set out from Nauvoo, his estate at his death was valued at between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000. This was a great accumulation for a pioneer who had settled in a wilderness, been burdened with a polygamous family of over twenty wives and fifty children, and the cares of a church denomination, without salary as a church officer. "I am the only person in the church," Young said to Greeley in 1859, "who has not a regular calling apart from the church service"; and he added, "We think a man who cannot make his living aside from the ministry of the church unsuited to that office. I am called rich, and consider myself worth $250,000; but no dollar of it ever was paid me by the church, nor for any service as a minister of the Everlasting Gospel." * Two years after his death a writer in the Salt Lake Tribune** asserted that Young had secured in Utah from the tithing $13,000,000, squandered about $9,000,o on his family, and left the rest to be fought for by his heirs and assigns.*** Notwithstanding the vast sums taken by him in tithing for the alleged benefit of the poor, there was not in Salt Lake City, at the time of his death, a single hospital or "home" creditable to that settlement.
* "Overland Journey," p. 213.
** June 25, 1879.
*** "Having control of the tithing, and possessing unlimited credit, he has added house to house and field to field,' while every one knew that he had no personal enterprises sufficient to enable him to meet anything like the current expenses of his numerous wives and children. As trustee in trust he renders no account of the funds that come into his hands, but tells the faithful that they are at perfect liberty to examine the books at any moment."--"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 665.
The mere acquisition of his wealth no more entitled Young to be held up as a marvellous man of business than did Tweed's accumulations give him this distinction in New York. Beadle declares that "Brigham never made a success of any business he undertook except managing the Mormons," and cites among his business failures the non-success of every distant colony he planted, the Cottonwood Canal (whose mouth was ten feet higher than its source), his beet-sugar manufactory, and his Colorado Transportation Company (to bring goods for southern Utah up the Colorado River).*
* "Polygamy," p. 484.
The reports of Young's discourses in the Temple show that he was as determined in carrying out his own financial schemes as he was in enforcing orders pertaining to the church. Here is an almost humorous illustration of this. In urging the people one day to be more regular in paying their tithing, he said they need not fear that he would make a bad use of their money, as he had plenty of his own, adding:--"I believe I will tell you how I get some of it. A great many of these elders in Israel, soon after courting these young ladies, and old ladies, and middle-aged ladies, and having them sealed to them, want to have a bill of divorce. I have told them from the beginning that sealing men and women for time and all eternity is one of the ordinances of the House of God, and that I never wanted a farthing for sealing them, nor for officiating in any of the ordinances of God's house. But when you ask for a bill of divorce, I intend that you shall pay for it. That keeps me in spending money, besides enabling me to give hundreds of dollars to the poor, and buy butter, eggs, and little notions for women and children, and otherwise use it where it does good. You may think this a singular feature of the Gospel, but I cannot exactly say that this is in the Gospel."*
* Deseret News, March 20, 1861. For such an openly jolly old hypocrite one can scarcely resist the feeling that he would like to pass around the hat.
We have seen how Young gave himself control of a valuable canon. That was only the beginning of such acquisitions. The territorial legislature of Utah was continually making special grants to him. Among them may be mentioned the control of City Creek Canon (said to have been worth $10,000 a year) on payment of $500; of the waters of Mill Creek; exclusive right to Kansas Prairie as a herd-ground; the whole of Cache Valley for a herd-ground; Rush Valley for a herd-ground; rights to establish ferries; an appropriation of $2500 for an academy in Salt Lake City (which was not built), etc.*
* Here is the text of one of these acts: "Be it ordained by the General Assembly of the State of Deseret that Brigham Young has the sole control of City Creek and Canon; and that he pay into the public treasury the sum of $500 therefore. Dec. 9, 1850."
Young's holdings of real estate were large, not only in Salt Lake City, but in almost every county in the territory.* Besides city lots and farm lands, he. owned grist and saw mills, and he took care that his farms were well cultivated and that his mills made fine flour.**
* "For several years past the agent of the church, A. M. Musser, has been engaged in securing legal deeds for all the property the prophet claims, and by this he will be able to secure in his lifetime to his different families such property as will render them independent at his death. The building of the Pacific Railroad is said to have yielded him about a quarter of a million."--"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 666.
** "His position secured him also many valuable presents. From a barrel of brandy down to an umbrella, Brigham receives courteously and remembers the donors with increased kindness. I saw one man make him a present of ten fine milch cows."--Hyde, "Mormonism," p. 165.
As trustee in trust for the church Young had control of all the church property and income, practically without responsibility or oversight. Mrs. Waite (writing in 1866) said that attempts for many years by the General Conference to procure a balance sheet of receipts and expenditures had failed, and that the accounts in the tithing office, such as they were, were kept by clerks who were the leading actors in the Salt Lake Theatre, owned by Young.* It was openly charged that, in 1852, Young "balanced his account" with the church by having the clerk credit him with the amount due by him, "for services rendered," and that, in 1867, he balanced his account again by crediting himself with $967,000. A committee appointed to investigate the accounts of Young after his death reported to the Conference of October, 1878, that "for the sole purpose of preserving it from the spoliation of the enemy," he "had transferred certain property from the possession of the church to his own individual possession," but that it had been transferred back again.
* "The Mormon Prophet," pp. 148-149,
Young's will divided his wives and children into nineteen "classes," and directed his executors to pay to each such a sum as might be necessary for their comfortable support; the word "marriage" in the will to mean "either by ceremony before a lawful magistrate, or according to the order of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or by their cohabitation in conformity to our custom."
On June 14, 1879, Emmeline A. Young, on behalf of herself and the heirs at law, began a suit against the executors of Young's estate, charging that they had improperly appropriated $200,000; had improperly allowed nearly $1,000,000 to John Taylor as trustee in trust to the church, less a credit of $300,000 for Young's services as trustee; and that they claimed the power, as members of the Apostles' Quorum, to dispose of all the testator's property and to disinherit any heir who refused to submit. This suit was compromised in the following September, the seven persons joining in it executing a release on payment of $75,000. A suit which the church had begun against the heirs and executors was also discontinued. The Salt Lake Herald (Mormon) of October 5, 1879, said, "The adjustment is far preferable to a continuance of the suit, which was proving not only expensive, but had become excessively annoying to many people, was a large disturbing element in the community, and was rapidly descending into paths that nobody here cares to see trodden."
Just how many wives Brigham Young had, in the course of his life, would depend on his own and others' definition of that term. He told Horace Greeley, in 1859: "I have fifteen; I know no one who has more. But some of those sealed to me are old ladies, whom I regard rather as mothers than wives, but whom I have taken home to cherish and support."* In 1869, he informed the Boston Board of Trade, when that body visited Salt Lake City, that he had sixteen wives living, and had lost four, and that forty-nine of his children were living then. " He was," says Beadle, "sealed on the spiritual wife system to more women than any one can count; all over Mormondom are pious old widows, or wives of Gentiles and apostates, who hope to rise at the last day and claim a celestial share in Brigham." J. Hyde said that he knew of about twenty-five wives with whom Brigham lived. The following list is made up from "Pictures and Biographies of Brigham Young and his Wives," published by J. H. Crockwell of Salt Lake City, by authority of Young's eldest son and of seven of his wives, but is not complete:--
* "Overland journey," p. 215.
NAME************* DATE OF MARRIAGE *** NUMBER OF CHILDREN*** Mary Ann Angell * February, 1834. Ohio 6 Louisa Beman ** April, 1841. Nauvoo 4 Mrs. Lucy Decker Seely June, 1842. Nauvoo 7 H. E. C. Campbell November, 1843.Nauvoo 1 Augusta Adams November, 1843. Nauvoo 0 Clara Decker May, 1844. Nauvoo 5 Clara C. Ross September, 1844. Nauvoo 4 Emily Dow Partridge** September, 1844. Nauvoo 7 Susan Snively November, 1844. Nauvoo 0 Olive Grey Frost** February, 1845. Nauvoo 0 Emmeline Free April, 1845. Nauvoo 0 Margaret Pierce April, 1845. Nauvoo 1 N. K. T. Carter January, 1846. Nauvoo 0 Ellen Rockwood January, 1846. Nauvoo 0 Maria Lawrence** January, 1846. Nauvoo 0 Martha Bowker January, 1846. Nauvoo 0 Margaret M. Alley January, 1846. Nauvoo 2 Lucy Bigelow March, 1847. (?) 3 Z. D. Huntington ** March, 1847 (?). Nauvoo 1 Eliza K. Snow** June, 1849. S. L. C. 0 Eliza Burgess October, 1850. S. L. C. 1 Harriet Barney October, 1850. S. L. C. 1 Harriet A. Folsom January, 1863. S. L. C. 0 Mary Van Cott January, 1865. S. L. C. 1 Ann Eliza Webb April, 1868. S. L. C. 0
* His first wife died 1832. ** Joseph Smith's widows.
Young's principal houses in Salt Lake City stood at the southeastern corner of the block adjoining the Temple block, and designated on the map as block 8. The largest building, occupying the corner, was called the Beehive House; connected with this was a smaller building in which were Young's private offices, the tithing office, etc; and next to this was a building partly of stone, called the Lion House, taking its name from the figure of a lion sculptured on its front, representing Young's title "The Lion of the Lord." When J. Hyde wrote, seventeen or eighteen of Young's wives dwelt in the Lion House, and the Beehive House became his official residence.* Individual wives were provided for elsewhere. His legal wife lived in what was called the White House, a few hundred yards from his official home. His well-beloved Amelia lived in another house half a block distant; another favorite, just across the street; Emmeline, on the same block; and not far away the latest acquisition to his harem.
* The Beehive House is still the official residence of the head of the church, and in it President Snow was living at the time of his death. The office building is still devoted to office uses, and the Lion House now furnishes temporary quarters to the Latter-Day Saints' College.
Young's life in his later years was a very orderly one, although he was not methodical in arranging his office hours and attending to his many duties. Rising before eight A.m., he was usually in his office at nine, transacting business with his secretary, and was ready to receive callers at ten. So many were the people who had occasion to see him, and so varied were the matters that could be brought to his attention, that many hours would be devoted to these callers if other engagements did not interfere. Once a year he made a sort of visit of state to all the principal settlements in the territory, accompanied by counsellors, apostles, and Bishops, and sometimes by a favorite wife. Shorter excursions of the same kind were made at other times. Each settlement was expected to give him a formal greeting, and this sometimes took the form of a procession with banners, such as might have been prepared for a conquering hero.
There was something compulsory about all phases of life in Utah during Brigham Young's regime--the form of employment for the men, the domestic regulations of the women, the church duties each should perform, and even the location in the territory which they should call their home. Not only did large numbers of the foreign immigrants find themselves in debt to the church on their arrival, and become compelled in this way to labor on the "public works" as they might be ordered, but the skilled mechanics who brought their tools with them in most cases found on their arrival that existence in Utah meant a contest with the soil for food. Even when a mechanic obtained employment at his trade it was in the ruder branches.
Mormon authorities have always tried to show that Americans have predominated in their community. Tullidge classes the population in this order: Americans, English, Scandinavian (these claim one-fifth of the Mormon population of Utah), Scotch, Welsh, Germans, and a few Irish, French, Italians, and Swiss. The combination of new-comers and the emigrants from Nauvoo made a rude society of fanatics,* before whom there was held out enough prospect of gain in land values (scarcely one of the immigrants had ever been a landowner) to overcome a good deal of the discontent natural to their mode of life, and who, in religious matters, were held in control by a priesthood, against whom they could not rebel without endangering that hope of heaven which had induced them to journey across the ocean. There are roughness and lawlessness in all frontier settlements, but this Mormon community differed from all other gatherings of new population in the American West. It did not migrate of its own accord, attracted by a fertile soil or precious ores; it was induced to migrate, not without misrepresentation concerning material prospects, it is true, but mainly because of the hope that by doing so it would share in the blessings and protection of a Zion. The gambling hell and the dance hall, which form principal features of frontier mining settlements, were wanting in Salt Lake City, and the absence of the brothel was pointed to as evidence of the moral effect of polygamy.
* "I have discovered thus early (1852) that little deference is paid to women. Repeatedly, in my long walk to our boarding house, I was obliged to retreat back from the [street] crossing places and stand on one side for men to cross over. There are said to be a great many of the lower order of English here, and this rudeness, so unusual with our countrymen, may proceed from them."-- Mrs. Ferris. "Life among the Mormons."
The system of plural marriages left its impress all over the home life of the territory. Many of the Mormon leaders, as we have seen, had more wives than one when they made their first trip across the plains, and the practice of polygamy, while denied on occasion, was not concealed from the time the settlement was made in the valley to the date of its public proclamation. In the early days, a man with more than one wife provided for them according to his means. Young began with quarters better than the average, but modest in their way, and finally occupied the big buildings which cost him many thousands of dollars. If a man with several wives had the means to do so, he would build a long, low dwelling, with an outside door for each wife, and thus house all under the same roof in a sort of separate barracks. When Gunnison wrote, in 1852, there were many instances in which more than one wife shared the same house when it contained only one apartment, but he said: "It is usual to board out the extra ones, who most frequently pay their own way by sewing, and other female employments." Mrs. Ferris wrote: "The mass of the dwellings are small, low, and hutlike. Some of them literally swarmed with women and children, and had an aspect of extreme want of neatness . . . . One family, in which there were two wives, was living in a small hut--three children very sick [with scarlet fever]--two beds and a cook-stove in the same room, creating the air of a pest-house."*
* "Life among the Mormons," pp. 111, 145.
Hyde, describing the city in 1857, thus enumerated the home accommodations of some of the leaders:--"A very pretty house on the east side was occupied by the late J. M. Grant and his five wives. A large barrack-like house on the corner is tenanted by Ezra T. Benson and his four ladies. A large but mean-looking house to the west was inhabited by the late Parley P. Pratt and his nine wives. In that long, dirty row of single rooms, half hidden by a very beautiful orchard and garden, lived Dr. Richard and his eleven wives. Wilford Woodruff and five wives reside in another large house still further west. O. Pratt and some four or five wives occupy an adjacent building. Looking toward the north, we espy a whole block covered with houses, barns, gardens, and orchards. In these dwell H. C. Kimball and his eighteen or twenty wives, their families and dependents."*
* "Mormonism," p. 34. The number of wives of the church leaders decreased in later years. Beadle, giving the number of wives "supposed to appertain to each" in 1882, credits President Taylor with four (three having died), and the Apostles with an average of three each, Erastus Snow having five, and four others only two each.
Horace Greeley, prejudiced as he was in favor of the Mormons when he visited Salt Lake City in 1859, was forced to observe:--"The degradation (or, if you please, the restriction) of woman to the single office of childbearing and its accessories is an inevitable consequence of the system here paramount. I have not observed a sign in the streets, an advertisement in the journals, of this Mormon metropolis, whereby a woman proposes to do anything whatever. No Mormon has ever cited to me his wife's or any woman's opinion on any subject; no Mormon woman has been introduced or spoken to me; and, though I have been asked to visit Mormons in their houses, no one has spoken of his wife (or wives) desiring to see me, or his desiring me to make her (or their) acquaintance, or voluntarily indicated the existence of such a being or beings."*
* "Overland journey," p. 217.
Woman's natural jealousy, and the suffering that a loving wife would endure when called upon to share her husband's affection and her home with other women, would seem to form a sort of natural check to polygamous marriages. But in Utah this check was overcome both by the absolute power of the priesthood over their flock, and by the adroit device of making polygamy not merely permissive, but essential to eternal salvation. That the many wives of even so exalted a prophet as Brigham Young could become rebellious is shown by the language employed by him in his discourse of September 21, 1856, of which the following will suffice as a specimen:--"Men will say, My wife, though a most excellent woman, has not seen a happy day since I took my second wife; no, not a happy day for a year.' . . . I wish my women to understand that what I am going to say is for them, as well as all others, and I want those who are here to tell their sisters, yes, all the women in this community, and then write it back to the states, and do as you please with it. I am going to give you from this time till the 6th day of October next for reflection, that you may determine whether you wish to stay with your husbands or not, and then I am going to set every woman at liberty, and say to them, Now go your way, my women with the rest; go your way.' And my wives have got to do one of two things; either round up their shoulders to endure the afflictions of this world, and live their religion, or they may leave, for I will not have them about me. I will go into heaven alone, rather than have scratching and fighting all around me. I will set all at liberty. What, first wife too?' Yes,I will liberate you all. I know what my women will say; they will say, You can have as many women as you please, Brigham.' But I want to go somewhere and do something to get rid of the whiners . . . . Sisters, I am not joking."*
* Journal of Discourses, Vol. IV, p. 55.
Grant, on the same day, in connection with his presentation of the doctrine of blood atonement, declared that there was "scarcely a mother in Israel" who would not, if they could, "break asunder the cable of the Church in Christ; and they talk it to their husbands, to their daughters, and to their neighbors, and say that they have not seen a week's happiness since they became acquainted with that law, or since their husbands took a second wife."* The coarse and plain-spoken H. C. Kimball, in a discourse in the Tabernacle, November 9, 1856, thus defined the duty of polygamous wives, "It is the duty of a woman to be obedient to her husband, and, unless she is, I would not give a damn for all her queenly right or authority, nor for her either, if she will quarrel and lie about the work of God and the principles of plurality."**
* Ibid, P. 52.
** Deseret News, Vol. VI, p. 291.
Gentile observers were amazed, in the earlier days of Utah, to see to what lengths the fanatical teachings of the church officers would be accepted by women. Thus Mrs. Ferris found that the explanation of the willingness of many young women in Utah to be married to venerable church officers, who already had harems, was their belief that they could only be "saved" if married or sealed to a faithful Saint, and that an older man was less likely to apostatize, and so carry his wives to perdition with him, than a young one; therefore "it became an object with these silly fools to get into the harems of the priests and elders."
If this advantage of the church officers in the selection of new wives did not avail, other means were employed,*as in the notorious San Pete case. The officers remaining at home did not hesitate to insist on a fair division of the spoils (that is, the marriageable immigrants), as is shown by the following remarks of Heber C. Kimball to some missionaries about starting out: "Let truth and righteousness be your motto, and don't go into the world for anything but to preach the Gospel, build up the Kingdom of God, and gather the sheep into the fold. You are sent out as shepherds to gather the sheep together; and remember that they are not your sheep; they belong to Him that sends you. Then don't make a choice of any of those sheep; don't make selections before they are brought home and put into the fold. You understand that. Amen." Mr. Ferris thus described the use of his priestly power made by Wilford Woodruff, who, as head of the church in later years, gave out the advice about abandoning polygamy: "Woodruff has a regular system of changing his harem. He takes in one or more young girls, and so manages, after he tires of them, that they are glad to ask for a divorce, after which he beats the bush for recruits. He took a fresh one, about fourteen years old, in March, 1853, and will probably get rid of her in the course of the ensuing summer." **
* Conan Doyle's story, "A Study in scarlet," is founded on the use of this power.
** "Utah and the Mormons," p. 255.
Mrs. Waite thus relates a conversation she had with a Mormon wife about her husband going into polygamy:--"Oh, it is hard,' she said, very hard; but no matter, we must bear it. It is a correct principle, and there is no salvation without it. We had one [wife] but it was so hard, both for my husband and myself, that we could not endure it, and she left us at the end of seven months. She had been with us as a servant several months, and was a good girl; but as soon as she was made a wife she became insolent, and told me she had as good a right to the house and things as I had, and you know that didn't suit me well. But,' continued she, I wish we had kept her, and I had borne everything, for we have GOT TO HAVE ONE, and don't you think it would be pleasanter to have one you had known than a stranger?'"*
* "The Mormon Prophet," p. 260. Many accounts of the feeling of first wives regarding polygamy may be found in this book and in Mrs. Stenhouse's "Tell it All."
The voice which the first wife had in the matter was defined in the Seer (Vol. I, p. 41). If she objected, she could state her objection to President Young, who, if he found the reason sufficient, could forbid the marriage; but if he considered that her reason was not good, then the marriage could take place, and "he [the husband] will be justified, and she will be condemned, because she did not give them unto him as Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham, and as Rachel and Leah gave Bilhah and Zilpah to their husband, Jacob." Young's dictatorship in the choice of wives was equally absolute. "No man in Utah," said the Seer (Vol. I, p. 31), "who already has a wife, and who may desire to obtain another, has any right to make any proposition of marriage to a lady until he has consulted the President of the whole church, and through him obtained a revelation from God as to whether it would be pleasing in His sight."
The authority of the priesthood was always exerted to compel at least every prominent member of the church to take more wives than one. "For a man to be confined to one woman is a small business," said Kimball in the Tabernacle, on April 4, 1857. This influence coerced Stenhouse to take as his second wife a fourteen-year-old daughter of Parley P. Pratt, although he loved his legal wife, and she had told him that she would not live with him if he married again, and although his intimate friend, Superintendent Cooke, of the Overland Stage Company, to save him, threatened to prosecute him under the law against bigamy if he yielded.* Another illustration, given by Mrs. Waite, may be cited. Kimball, calling on a Prussian immigrant named Taussig one day, asked him how he was doing and how many wives he had, and on being told that he had two, replied, "That is not enough. You must take a couple more. I'll send them to you." The narrative continues:--
* When Mr. and Mrs. Stenhouse left the church at the time of the "New Movement" their daughter, who was a polygamous wife of Brigham Young's son, decided with the church and refused even to speak with her parents.
"On the following evening, when the brother returned home, he found two women sitting there. His first wife said, Brother Taussig' (all the women call their husbands brother), these are the Sisters Pratt.' They were two widows of Parley P. Pratt. One of the ladies, Sarah, then said, Brother Taussig, Brother Kimball told us to call on you, and you know what for.' Yes, ladies,' replied Brother Taussig, but it is a very hard task for me to marry two' The other remarked, Brother Kimball told us you were doing a very good business and could support more women.' Sarah then took up the conversation, Well, Brother Taussig, I want to get married anyhow.' The good brother replied, Well, ladies, I will see what I can do and let you know."*
* "The Mormon Prophet," p. 258.
Brother Taussig compromised the matter with the Bishop of his ward by marrying Sarah, but she did not like her new home, and he was allowed to divorce her on payment of $10 to Brigham Young!
Each polygamous family was, of course, governed in accordance with the character of its head: a kind man would treat all his wives kindly, however decided a preference he might show for one; and under a brute all would be unhappy. Young, in his earlier days at Salt Lake City, used to assemble all his family for prayers, and have a kind word for each of the women, and all ate at a common table after his permanent residences were built. "Brigham's wives," says Hyde, "although poorly clothed and hard worked, are still very infatuated with their system, very devout in their religion, very devoted to their children. They content themselves with his kindness as they cannot obtain his love."* He kept no servants, the wives performing all the household work, and one of them acting as teacher to her own and the others' children. As the excuse for marriage with the Mormons is childbearing, the older wives were practically discarded, taking the place of examples of piety and of spiritual advisers.
* "Mormonism," p. 164.
** How far this doctrine was not observed may be noted in the following remarks of H. C. Kimball in the Tabernacle, on February 1, 1857: "They [his wives] have got to live their religion, serve their God, and do right as well as myself. Suppose that I lose the whole of them before I go into the spiritual world, but that I have been a good, faithful man all the days of my life, and lived my religion, and had favor with God, and was kind to them, do you think I will be destitute there? No. The Lord says there are more there than there are here. They have been increasing there; they increase there a great deal faster than they do here, because there is no obstruction. They do not call upon the doctors to kill their offspring. In this world very many of the doctors are studying to diminish the human race. In the spiritual world . . . we will go to Brother Joseph . . . and he will say to us, Come along, my boys, we will give you a good suit of clothes. Where are your wives?' They are back yonder; they would not follow us.' Never mind,' says Joseph, here are thousands; have all you want.'"--Journal of Discourses, Vol. IV, p. 209.
A summing up of the many-sided evils of polygamy was thus presented by President Cleveland in his first annual message:-- "The strength, the perpetuity, and the destiny of the nation rests upon our homes, established by the law of God, guarded by parental care, regulated by parental authority, and sanctified by parental love. These are not the homes of polygamy.
"The mothers of our land, who rule the nation as they mould the characters and guide the actions of their sons, live according to God's holy ordinances, and each, secure and happy in the exclusive love of the father of her children, sheds the warm light of true womanhood, unperverted and unpolluted, upon all within her pure and wholesome family circle. These are not the cheerless, crushed, and unwomanly mothers of polygamy.
"The fathers of our families are the best citizens of the Republic. Wife and children are the sources of patriotism, and conjugal and parental affection beget devotion to the country. The man who, undefiled with plural marriage, is surrounded in his single home with his wife and children, has a status in the country which inspires him with respect for its laws and courage for its defence. These are not the fathers of polygamous families."
The first measure "to punish and prevent the practice of polygamy in the Territories of the United States" was introduced in the House of Representatives by Mr. Morrill of Vermont (Bill No. 7) at the first session of the 36th Congress, on February 15, 1860. It contained clauses annulling some of the acts of the territorial legislature of Utah, including the one incorporating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This bill was reported by the Judiciary Committee on March 14, the committee declaring that "no argument was deemed necessary to prove that an act could be regarded as criminal which is so treated by the universal concurrence of the Christian and civilized world," and characterizing the church incorporation act as granting "such monstrous powers and arrogant assumptions as are at war with the genius of our government." The bill passed the House on April 5, by a vote of 149 to 60, was favorably reported to the Senate by Mr. Bayard from the Judiciary Committee on June 13, but did not pass that House.
Mr. Morrill introduced his bill by unanimous consent in the next Congress (on April 8, 1862), and it was passed by the House on April 28. Mr. Bayard, from the judiciary Committee, reported it back to the Senate on June 3 with amendments. He explained that the House Bill punished not only polygamous marriages, but cohabitation without marriage. The committee recommended limiting the punishment to bigamy--a fine not to exceed $500 and imprisonment for not more than five years. Another amendment limited the amount of real estate which a church corporation could hold in the territories to $50,000. The bill passed the Senate with the negative votes of only the two California senators, and the House accepted the amendments. Lincoln signed it.
Nothing practical was accomplished by this legislation, In 1867 George A. Smith and John Taylor, the presiding officers of the Utah legislature, petitioned Congress to repeal this act, setting forth as one reason that "the judiciary of this territory has not, up to the present time, tried any case under said law, though repeatedly urged to do so by those who have been anxious to test its constitutionality." The House Judiciary Committee reported that this was a practical request for the sanctioning of polygamy, and said: "Your committee has not been able to ascertain the reason why this law has not been enforced. The humiliating fact is, however, apparent that the law is at present practically a dead letter in the Territory of Utah, and that the gravest necessity exists for its enforcement; and, in the opinion of the committee, if it be through the fault or neglect of the judiciary of that territory that the laws are not enforced, the judges should be removed without delay; and that, if the failure to execute the law arises from other causes, it becomes the duty of the President of the United States to see that the law is faithfully executed."*
* House Report No. 27, 2nd Session, 39th Congress.
In June, 1866, Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio obtained unanimous consent to introduce a bill enacting radical legislation concerning such marriages as were performed and sanctioned by the Mormon church, but it did not pass. Senator Cragin of New Hampshire soon introduced a similar bill, but it, too failed to become a law.
In 1869, in the first Congress that met under President Grant, Mr. Cullom of Illinois introduced in the House the bill aimed at polygamy that was designated by his name. This bill was the practical starting-point of the anti-polygamous legislation subsequently enacted, as over it was aroused the feeling--in its behalf in the East and against it in Utah--that resulted in practical legislation.
Delegate Hooper made the leading speech against it, summing up his objections as follows:--
"(1) That under our constitution we are entitled to be protected in the full and free enjoyment of our religious faith.
"(2) That our views of the marriage relation are an essential portion of our religious faith.
"(3) That, in conceding the cognizance of the marriage relation as within the province of church regulations, we are practically in accord with all other Christian denominations.
"(4) That in our view of the marriage relation as a part of our religious belief we are entitled to immunity from persecution under the constitution, if such views are sincerely held; that, if such views are erroneous, their eradication must be by argument and not by force."
The bill, greatly amended, passed the House on March 23, 1870, by a vote of 94 to 32. The news of this action caused perhaps the greatest excitement ever known in Utah. There was no intention on the part of the Mormons to make any compromise on the question, and they set out to defeat the bill outright in the Senate. Meetings of Mormon women were gotten up in all parts of the territory, in which they asserted their devotion to the doctrine. The "Reformers," including Stenhouse, Harrison, Tullidge, and others, and merchants like Walker Brothers, Colonel Kahn, and T. Marshall, joined in a call for a mass-meeting at which all expressed disapproval of some of its provisions, like the one requiring men already having polygamous wives to break up their families. Mr. Godbe went to Washington while the bill was before the House, and worked hard for its modification. The bill did not pass the Senate, a leading argument against it being the assumed impossibility of convicting polygamists under it with any juries drawn in Utah.
The arrest of Brigham Young and others under the act to punish adulterers, and the proceedings against them before Judge McKean in 1871, have been noted. At the same term of the court Thomas Hawkins, an English immigrant, was convicted of the same charge on the evidence of his wife, and sentenced to imprisonment for three years and to pay a fine of $500. In passing sentence, Judge McKean told the prisoner that, if he let him off with a fine, the fine would be paid out of other funds than his own; that he would thus go free, and that "those men who mislead the people would make you and thousands of others believe that God had sent the money to pay the fine; that, by a miracle, you had been rescued from the authorities of the United States."
After the passage of the Poland law, in 1874, George Reynolds, Brigham Young's private secretary, was convicted of bigamy under the law of 1862, but was set free by the Supreme Court of the territory on the ground of illegality in the drawing of the grand jury. In the following year he was again convicted, and was sentenced to imprisonment for two years and to pay a fine of $500. The case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which rendered its decision in October, 1878, unanimously sustaining the conviction, except that Justice Field objected to the admission of one witness's testimony.
In its decision the court stated the question raised to be "whether religious belief can be accepted as a justification for an overt act made criminal by the law of the land." Next came a discussion of views of religious freedom, as bearing on the meaning of "religion" in the federal constitution, leading up to the conclusion that "Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties, or subversive of good order." The court then traced the view of polygamy in England and the United States from the time when it was made a capital offence in England (as it was in Virginia in 1788), declaring that, "in the face of all this evidence, it is impossible to believe that the constitutional guaranty of religious freedom was intended to prohibit legislation in respect to this most important feature of social life." The opinion continued as follows:--"In our opinion, the statute immediately under consideration is within the legislative power of Congress. It is constitutional and valid as prescribing a rule of action for all those residing in the Territories, and in places over which the United States has exclusive control. This being so, the only question which remains is, whether those who make polygamy a part of their religion are excepted from the operation of the statute. If they are, then those who do not make polygamy a part of their religious belief may be found guilty and punished, while those who do, must be acquitted and go free. This would be introducing a new element into criminal law. Laws are made for the government of actions, and, while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship, would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice? Or, if a wife religiously believed it was her duty to burn herself on the funeral pile of her dead husband, would it be beyond the power of the civil government to prevent her carrying her belief into practice?
"So here, as a law of the organization of society under the exclusive dominion of the United States, it is provided that plural marriages shall not be allowed. Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government could exist only in name under such circumstances.
"A criminal intent is generally an element of crime, but every man is presumed to intend the necessary and legitimate consequences of what he knowingly does. Here the accused knew he had been once married, and that his first wife was living. He also knew that his second marriage was forbidden by law. When, therefore, he married the second time, he is presumed to have intended to break the law, and the breaking of the law is the crime. Every act necessary to constitute the crime was knowingly done, and the crime was therefore knowingly committed.*
* United States Reports, Otto, Vol. III, p. 162.
P. T. Van Zile of Michigan, who became district attorney of the territory in 1878, tried John Miles, a polygamist, for bigamy, in 1879, and he was convicted, the prosecutor taking advantage of the fact that the territorial legislature had practically adopted the California code, which allowed challenges of jurors for actual bias. The principal incident of this trial was the summoning of "General" Wells, then a counsellor of the church, as a witness, and his refusal to describe the dress worn during the ceremonies in the Endowment House, and the ceremonies themselves. He gave as his excuse, "because I am under moral and sacred obligations to not answer, and it is interwoven in my character never to betray a friend, a brother, my country, my God, or my religion." He was sentenced to pay a fine, of $100, and to two days' imprisonment. On his release, the City Council met him at the prison door and escorted him home, accompanied by bands of music and a procession made up of the benevolent, fire, and other organizations, and delegations from every ward.
Governor Emery, in his message to the territorial legislature of 1878, spoke as plainly about polygamy as any of his predecessors, saying that it was a grave crime, even if the law against it was a dead letter, and characterizing it as an evil endangering the peace of society.
There was a lull in the agitation against polygamy in Congress for some years after the contest over the Cullom Bill. In 1878 a mass-meeting of women of Salt Lake City opposed to polygamy was held there, and an address "to Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes and the women of the United States," and a petition to Congress, were adopted, and a committee was appointed to distribute the petition throughout the country for signatures. The address set forth that there had been more polygamous marriages in the last year than ever before in the history of the Mormon church; that Endowment Houses, under the name of temples, and costing millions, were being erected in different parts of the territory, in which the members were "sealed and bound by oaths so strong that even apostates will not reveal them"; that the Mormons had the balance of power in two territories, and were plotting to extend it; and asking Congress "to arrest the further progress of this evil."
President Hayes, in his annual message in December, 1879, spoke of the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court, and said that there was no reason for longer delay in the enforcement of the law, urging "more comprehensive and searching methods" of punishing and preventing polygamy if they were necessary. He returned to the subject in his message in 1880, saying: "Polygamy can only be suppressed by taking away the political power of the sect which encourages and sustains it . . . . I recommend that Congress provide for the government of Utah by a Governor and judges, or Commissioners, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, (or) that the right to vote, hold office, or sit on juries in the Territory of Utah be confined to those who neither practise nor uphold polygamy."
President Garfield took up the subject in his inaugural address on March 4, 1881. "The Mormon church," he said, "not only offends the moral sense of mankind by sanctioning polygamy, but prevents the administration of justice through ordinary instrumentalities of law." He expressed the opinion that Congress should prohibit polygamy, and not allow "any ecclesiastical organization to usurp in the smallest degree the functions and power, of the national government." President Arthur, in his message in December, 1881, referred to the difficulty of securing convictions of persons accused of polygamy--"this odious crime, so revolting to the moral and religious sense of Christendom"--and recommended legislation.
In the spirit of these recommendations, Senator Edmunds introduced in the Senate, on December 12, 1881, a comprehensive measure amending the antipolygamy law of 1862, which, amended during the course of the debate, was passed in the Senate on Feruary 12, 1882, without a roll-call,*and in the House on March 13, by a vote of 199 to 42, and was approved by the President on March 22. This is what is known as the Edmunds law--the first really serious blow struck by Congress against polygamy.
* Speeches against the bill were made in the Senate by Brown, Call, Lamar, Morgan, Pendleton, and Vest.
It provided, in brief, that, in the territories, any person who, having a husband or wife living, marries another, or marries more than one woman on the same day, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500, and by imprisonment, for not more than five years; that a male person cohabiting with more than one woman shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and be subject to a fine of not more than $300 or to six months' imprisonment, or both; that in any prosecution for bigamy, polygamy, or unlawful cohabitation, a juror may be challenged if he is or has been living in the practice of either offence, or if he believes it right for a man to have more than one living and undivorced wife at a time, or to cohabit with more than one woman; that the President may have power to grant amnesty to offenders, as described, before the passage of this act; that the issue of so-called Mormon marriages born before January 1, 1883, be legitimated; that no polygamist shall be entitled to vote in any territory, or to hold office under the United States; that the President shall appoint in Utah a board of five persons for the registry of voters, and the reception and counting of votes.
To meet the determined opposition to the new law, an amendment (known as the Edmunds-Tucker law) was enacted in 1887. This law, in any prosecution coming under the definition of plural marriages, waived the process of subpoena, on affadavit of sufficient cause, in favor of an attachment; allowed a lawful husband or wife to testify regarding each other; required every marriage certificate in Utah to be signed by the parties and the person performing the ceremony, and filed in court; abolished female suffrage, and gave suffrage only to males of proper age who registered and took an oath, giving the names of their lawful wives, and promised to obey the laws of the United States, and especially the Edmunds law; disqualified as a juror or officeholder any person who had not taken an oath to support the laws of the United States, or who had been convicted under the Edmunds law; gave the President power to appoint the judges of the probate courts;* provided for escheating to the United States for the use of the common schools the property of corporations held in violation of the act in 1862, except buildings held exclusively for the worship of God, the parsonages connected therewith, and burial places; dissolved the corporation called the Perpetual Emigration Company, and forbade the legislature to pass any law to bring persons into the territory; dissolved the corporation known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and gave the Supreme Court of the territory power to wind up its affairs; and annulled all laws regarding the Nauvoo Legion, and all acts of the territorial legislature.
* The first territorial legislature which met after the passage of this law passed an act practically nullifying such appointments of probate judges, but the governor vetoed it. In Beaver County, as soon as the appointment of a probate judge by the President was announced, the Mormon County Court met and reduced his salary to $5 a year.
The first members of the Utah commission appointed under the Edmunds law were Alexander Ramsey of Minnesota, A. B. Carleton of Indiana, A. S. Paddock of Nebraska, G. L. Godfrey of Iowa, and J. R. Pettigrew of Arkansas, their appointments being dated June 23, 1882.
The officers of the church and the Mormons as a body met the new situation as aggressively as did Brigham Young the approach of United States troops. Their preachers and their newspapers reiterated the divine nature of the "revelation" concerning polygamy and its obligatory character, urging the people to stand by their leaders in opposition to the new laws. The following extracts from "an Epistle from the First Presidency, to the officers and members of the church," dated October 6, 1885, will sufficiently illustrate the attitude of the church organization:--"The war is openly and undisguisedly made upon our religion. To induce men to repudiate that, to violate its precepts, and break its solemn covenants, every encouragement is given. The man who agrees to discard his wife or wives, and to trample upon the most sacred obligations which human beings can enter into, escapes imprisonment, and is applauded: while the man who will not make this compact of dishonor, who will not admit that his past life has been a fraud and a lie, who will not say to the world, I intended to deceive my God, my brethren, and my wives by making covenants I did not expect to keep,' is, beside being punished to the full extent of the law, compelled to endure the reproaches, taunts, and insults of a brutal judge . . . .
"We did not reveal celestial marriage. We cannot withdraw or renounce it, God revealed it, and he has promised to maintain it and to bless those who obey it. Whatever fate, then, may threaten us, there is but one course for men of God to take; that is, to keep inviolate the holy covenants they have made in the presence of God and angels. For the remainder, whether it be life or death, freedom or imprisonment, prosperity or adversity, we must trust in God. We may say, however, if any man or woman expects to enter into the celestial kingdom of our God without making sacrifices and without being tested to the very uttermost, they have not understood the Gospel . . . .
"Upward of forty years ago the Lord revealed to his church the principle of celestial marriage. The idea of marrying more wives than one was as naturally abhorrent to the leading men and women of the church, at that day, as it could be to any people. They shrank with dread from the bare thought of entering into such relationship. But the command of God was before them in language which no faithful soul dare disobey, For, behold, I reveal unto you a new and everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant, and be permitted to enter into my glory.' . . . Who would suppose that any man, in this land of religious liberty, would presume to say to his fellow-man that he had no right to take such steps as he thought necessary to escape damnation? Or that Congress would enact a law which would present the alternative to religious believers of being consigned to a penitentiary if they should attempt to obey a law of God which would deliver them from damnation?"
There was a characteristic effort to evade the law as regards political rights. The People's Party (Mormon), to get around the provision concerning the test oath for voters, issued an address to them which said: "The questions that intending voters need therefore ask themselves are these: Are we guilty of the crimes of said act; or have we THE PRESENT INTENTION of committing these crimes, or of aiding, abetting, causing or advising any other person to commit them. Male citizens who can answer these questions in the negative can qualify under the laws as voters or office-holders."
Two events in 1885 were the cause of so much feeling that United States troops were held in readiness for transportation to Utah. The first of these was the placing of the United States flag at half mast in Salt Lake City, on July 4, over the city hall, county court-house, theatre, cooperative store, Deseret News office, tithing office, and President Taylor's residence, to show the Mormon opinion that the Edmunds law had destroyed liberty. When a committee of non-Mormon citizens called at the city hall for an explanation of this display, the city marshal said that it was "a whim of his," and the mayor ordered the flag raised to its proper place.
In November of that year a Mormon night watchman named McMurrin was shot and severely wounded by a United States deputy marshal named Collin. This caused great feeling, and there were rumors that the Mormons threatened to lynch Collin, that armed men had assembled to take him out of the officers' hands, and that the Mormons of the territory were arming themselves, and were ready at a moment's notice to march into Salt Lake City. Federal troops were held in readiness at Eastern points, but they were not used. The Salt Lake City Council, on December 8, made a report denying the truth of the disquieting rumors, and declaring that "at no time in the history of this city have the lives and property of its non-Mormon inhabitants been more secure than now."
The records of the courts in Utah show that the Mormons stood ready to obey the teachings of the church at any cost. Prosecutions under the Edmunds law began in 1884, and the convictions for polygamy or unlawful cohabitation (mostly the latter) were as follows in the years named: 3 in 1884, 39 in 1885, 112 in 1886, 214 in 1887, and 100 in 1888, with 48 in Idaho during the same period. Leading men in the church went into hiding--"under ground," as it was called--or fled from the territory. As to the actual continuance of polygamous marriages, the evidence was contradictory. A special report of the Utah Commission in 1884 expressed the opinion that there had been a decided decrease in their number in the cities, and very little decrease in the rural districts. Their regular report for that year estimated the number of males and females who had entered into that relation at 459. The report for 1888 stated that the registration officers gave the names of 29 females who, they had good reason to believe, had contracted polygamous marriages since the lists were closed in June, 1887. As late as 1889 Hans Jespersen was arrested for unlawful cohabitation. As his plural marriage was understood to be a recent one, the case attracted wide attention, since it was expected to prove the insincerity of the church in making the protest against the Edmunds law principally on the ground that it broke up existing families. Jespersen pleaded guilty of adultery and polygamy, and was sentenced to imprisonment for eight years. In making his plea he said that he was married at the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, that he and his wife were the only persons there, and that he did not know who married them. His wife testified that she "heard a voice pronounce them man and wife, but didn't see any one nor who spoke." * Such were some of the methods adopted by the church to set at naught the law.
* Report of the Utah Commission for 1890, p. 23.
But along with this firm attitude, influences were at work looking to a change of policy. During the first year of the enforcement of the law it was on many sides declared a failure, the aggressive attitude of the church, and the willingness of its leaders to accept imprisonment, hiding, or exile, being regarded by many persons in the East as proof that the real remedy for the Utah situation was yet to be discovered. The Utah Commission, in their earlier reports, combated this idea, and pointed out that the young men in the church would grow restive as they saw all the offices out of their reach unless they took the test oath, and that they "would present an anomaly in human nature if they should fail to be strongly influenced against going into a relation which thus subjects them to political ostracism, and fixes on them the stigma of moral turpitude." How wide this influence was is seen in the political statistics of the times. When the Utah Commission entered on their duties in August, 1882, almost every office in the territory was held by a polygamist. By April, 1884, about 12,000 voters, male and female, had been disfranchised by the act, and of the 1351 elective officers in the territory not one was a polygamist, and not one of the municipal officers of Salt Lake City then in office had ever been "in polygamy."
The church leaders at first tried to meet this influence in two ways, by open rebuke of all Saints who showed a disposition to obey the new laws, and by special honors to those who took their punishment. Thus, the Deseret News told the brethren that they could not promise to obey the anti-polygamy laws without violating obligations that bound them to time and eternity; and when John Sharp, a leading member of the church in Salt Lake City, went before the court and announced his intention to obey these laws, he was instantly removed from the office of Bishop of his ward.
The restlessness of the flock showed itself in the breaking down of the business barriers set up by the church between Mormons and Gentiles. This subject received a good deal of attention in the minority report signed by two of the commissioners in 1888. They noted the sale of real estate by Mormons to Gentiles against the remonstrances of the church, the organization of a Chamber of Commerce in Salt Lake City in which Mormons and Gentiles worked together, and the union of both elements in the last Fourth of July celebration.
In the spring of 1890, at the General Conference held in Salt Lake City, the office of "Prophet, Seer and Revelator and President" of the church, that had remained vacant since the death of John Taylor in 1887, was filled by the election of Wilford Woodruff, a polygamist who had refused to take the test oath, while G. Q. Cannon and Lorenzo Snow, who were disfranchised for the same cause, were made respectively counsellor and president of the Twelve.* Woodruff was born in Connecticut in 1807, became a Mormon in 1832, was several times sent on missions to England, and had gained so much prominence while the church was at Nauvoo that he was the chief dedicator of the Temple there. While there, he signed a certificate stating that he knew of no other system of marriage in the church but the one-wife system then prescribed in the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants." Before the date of his promotion, Woodruff had declared that plural marriages were no longer permitted, and, when he was confronted with evidence to the contrary brought out in court, he denied all knowledge of it, and afterward declared that, in consequence of the evidence presented, he had ordered the Endowment House to be taken down.
* Lorenzo Snow was elected president of the church on September 13, 1898, eleven days after the death of President Woodruff, and he held that position until his death which occurred on October 10, 1901.
Governor Thomas, in his report for 1890, expressed the opinion that the church, under its system, could in only one way define its position regarding polygamy, and that was by a public declaration by the head of the church, or by action by a conference, and he added, "There is no reason to believe that any earthly power can extort from the church any such declaration." The governor was mistaken, not in measuring the purpose of the church, but in foreseeing all the influences that were now making themselves felt.
The revised statutes of Idaho at this time contained a provision (Sec. 509) disfranchising all polygamists and debarring from office all polygamists, and all persons who counselled or encouraged any one to commit polygamy. The constitutionality of this section was argued before the United States Supreme Court, which, on February 3, 1890, decided that it was constitutional. The antipolygamists in Utah saw in this decision a means of attacking the Mormon belief even more aggressively than had been done by means of the Edmunds Bill. An act was drawn (Governor Thomas and ex-Governor West taking it to Washington) providing that no person living in plural or celestial marriage, or teaching the same, or being a member of, or a contributor to, any organization teaching it, or assisting in such a marriage, should be entitled to vote, to serve as a juror, or to hold office, a test oath forming a part of the act. Senator Cullom introduced this bill in the upper House and Mr. Struble of Iowa in the House of Representatives. The House Committee on Territories (the Democrats in the negative) voted to report the bill, amended so as to make it applicable to all the territories. This proposed legislation caused great excitement in Mormondom, and petitions against its passage were hurried to Washington, some of these containing non-Mormon signatures.
As a further menace to the position of the church, the United States Supreme Court, on May 19, affirmed the decision of the lower court confiscating the property of the Mormon church, and declaring that church organization to be an organized rebellion; and on June 21, the Senate passed Senator Edmunds's bill disposing of the real estate of the church for the benefit of the school fund.*
* After the admission of Utah as a state, Congress passed an act restoring the property to the church.
The Mormon authorities now realized that the public sentiment of the country, as expressed in the federal law, had them in its grasp. They must make some concession to this public sentiment, or surrender all their privileges as citizens and the wealth of their church organization. Agents were hurried to Washington to implore the aid of Mr. Blaine in checking the progress of the Cullom Bill, and at home the head of the church made the concession in regard to polygamy which secured the admission of the territory as a state.
On September 25, 1890, Woodruff, as President of the church, issued a proclamation addressed "to whom it may concern," which struck out of the NECESSARY beliefs and practices of the Mormon church, the practice of polygamy.
This important step was taken, not in the form of a "revelation," but simply as a proclamation or manifesto. It began with a solemn declaration that the allegation of the Utah Commission that plural marriages were still being solemnized was false, and the assertion that "we are not preaching polygamy nor permitting any person to enter into its practice." The closing and important
part of the proclamation was as follows:--
"Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to these laws, and to use my influence with the members of the church over which I preside to have them do likewise.
"There is nothing in my teachings to the church, or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy, and when any elder of the church has used language which appeared to convey any such teachings he has been promptly reproved.
"And now I publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-Day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land."
On October 6, the General Conference of the church, on motion of Lorenzo Snow, unanimously adopted the following resolution:--
"I move that, recognizing Wilford Woodruff as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the only man on the earth at the present time who holds the keys of the sealing ordinances, we consider him fully authorized, by virtue of his position, to issue the manifesto that has been read in our hearing, and which is dated September 24, 1890, and as a church in general conference assembled we accept his declaration concerning plural marriages as authoritative and binding."
This action was reaffirmed by the General Conference of October 6, 1891.
Of course the church officers had to make some explanation to the brethren of their change of front. Cannon fell back on the "revelation" of January 19, 1841, which Smith put forth to excuse the failure to establish a Zion in Missouri, namely, that, when their enemies prevent their performing a task assigned by the Almighty, he would accept their effort to do so. He said that "it was on this basis" that President Woodruff had felt justified in issuing the manifesto. Woodruff explained: "It is not wisdom for us to make war upon 65,000,000 people . . . . The prophet Joseph Smith organized the church; and all that he has promised in this code of revelations the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants" has been fulfilled as fast as time would permit. THAT WHICH IS NOT FULFILLED WILL BE." Cannon did explain that the manifesto was the result of prayer, and Woodruff told the people that he had had a great many visits from the Prophet Joseph since his death, in dreams, and also from Brigham Young, but neither seems to have imparted any very valuable information, Joseph explaining that he was in an immense hurry preparing himself "to go to the earth with the Great Bridegroom when he goes to meet the Bride, the Lamb's wife."
Two recent incidents have indicated the restlessness of the Mormon church under the restriction placed upon polygamy. In 1898, the candidate for Representative in Congress, nominated by the Democratic Convention of Utah, was Brigham H. Roberts. It was commonly known in Utah that Roberts was a violator of the Edmunds law. A Mormon elder, writing from Brigham, Utah, in February, 1899, while Roberts's case was under consideration at Washington, said, "Many prominent Mormons foresaw the storm that was now raging, and deprecated Mr. Roberts's nomination and election."* This statement proves both the notoriety of Roberts's offence, and the connivance of the church in his nomination, because no Mormon can be nominated to an office in Utah when the church authorities order otherwise. When Roberts presented himself to be sworn in, in December, 1899, his case was referred to a special committee of nine members. The report of seven members of this committee found that Roberts married his first wife about the year 1878; that about 1885 he married a plural wife, who had since born him six children, the last two twins, born on August 11, 1897; that some years later he married a second plural wife, and that he had been living with all three till the time of his election; "that these facts were generally known in Utah, publicly charged against him during his campaign for election, and were not denied by him." Roberts refused to take the stand before the committee, and demurred to its jurisdiction on the ground that the hearing was an attempt to try him for a crime without an indictment and jury trial, and to deprive him of vested rights in the emoluments of the office to which he was elected, and that, if the crime alleged was proved, it would not constitute a sufficient cause to deprive him of his seat, because polygamy is not enumerated in the constitution as a disqualification for the office of member of Congress. The majority report recommended that his seat be declared vacant. Two members of the committee reported that his offence afforded constitutional ground for expulsion, but not for exclusion from the House, and recommended that he be sworn in and immediately expelled. The resolution presented by the majority was adopted by the House by a vote of 268 to 50.**
* New York Evening Post, February 20, 1899.
** Roberts was tried in the district court in Salt Lake City, on April 30, 1900, on the charge of unlawful cohabitation. The case was submitted to the jury of eight men, without testimony, on an agreed statement of facts, and the jury disagreed, standing six for conviction and two for acquittal.
The second incident referred to was the passage by the Utah legislature in March, 1901, of a bill containing this provision:
"No prosecution for adultery shall be commenced except on complaint of the husband or wife or relative of the accused with the first degree of consanguinity, or of the person with whom the unlawful act is alleged to have been committed, or of the father or mother of said person; and no prosecution for unlawful cohabitation shall be commenced except on complaint of the wife, or alleged plural wife of the accused; but this provision shall not apply to prosecutions under section 4208 of the Revised Statutes, 1898, defining and punishing polygamous marriages."
This bill passed the Utah senate by a vote of 11 to 7, and the house by a vote of 174 to 25. The excuse offered for it by the senator who introduced it was that it would "take away from certain agitators the opportunity to arouse periodic furors against the Mormons"; that more than half of the persons who had been polygamists had died or dissolved their polygamous relations, and that no good service could be subserved by prosecuting the remainder. This law aroused a protest throughout the country, and again the Mormon church saw that it had made a mistake, and on the 14th of March Governor H. M. Wells vetoed the bill, on grounds that may be summarized as declaring that the law would do the Mormons more harm than good. The most significant part of his message, as indicating what the Mormon authorities most dread, is contained in the following sentence: "I have every reason to believe its enactment would be the signal for a general demand upon the national Congress for a constitutional amendment directed solely against certain conditions here, a demand which, under the circumstances, would assuredly be complied with."
The admission of Utah as a state followed naturally the promulgation by the Mormon church of a policy which was accepted by the non-Mormons as putting a practical end to the practice of polygamy. For the seventh time, in 1887, the Mormons had adopted a state constitution, the one ratified in that year providing that "bigamy and polygamy, being considered incompatible with a republican form of government,' each of them is hereby forbidden and declared a misdemeanor." The non-Mormons attacked the sincerity of this declaration, among other things pointing out the advice of the Church organ, while the constitution was before the people, that they be "as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves." Congress again refused admission.
On January 4, 1893, President Harrison issued a proclamation granting amnesty and pardon to all persons liable to the penalty of the Edmunds law "who have, since November 1, 1890, abstained from such unlawful cohabitation," but on condition that they should in future obey the laws of the United States. Until the time of Woodruff's manifesto there had been in Utah only two political parties, the People's, as the Mormon organization had always been known, and the Liberal (anti-Mormon). On June 10, 1894, the People's Territorial Central Committee adopted resolutions reciting the organization of the Republicans and Democrats of the territory, declaring that the dissensions of the past should be left behind and that the People's party should dissolve. The Republican Territorial Committee a few days later voted that a division of the people on national party lines would result only in statehood controlled by the Mormon theocracy. The Democratic committee eight days later took a directly contrary view. At the territorial election in the following August the Democrats won, the vote standing: Democratic, 14,116; Liberal, 7386; Republican, 6613.
It would have been contrary to all political precedent if the Republicans had maintained their attitude after the Democrats had expressed their willingness to receive Mormon allies. Accordingly, in September, 1891, we find the Republicans adopting a declaration that it would be wise and patriotic to accept the changes that had occurred, and denying that statehood was involved in a division of the people on national party lines.
All parties in the territory now seemed to be manoeuvring for position. The Morman newspaper organs expressed complete indifference about securing statehood. In Congress Mr. Caine, the Utah Delegate, introduced what was known as the "Home Rule Bill," taking the control of territorial affairs from the governor and commission. This was known as a Democratic measure, and great pressure was brought to bear on Republican leaders at Washington to show them that Utah as a state would in all probability add to the strength of the Republican column. When, at the first session of the 53d Congress, J. L. Rawlins, a Democrat who had succeeded Caine as Delegate, introduced an act to enable the people of Utah to gain admission for the territory as a state, it met with no opposition at home, passed the House of Representatives on December 13, 1893, and the Senate on July 10, 1894 (without a division in either House), and was signed by the President on July 16. The enabling act required the constitutional convention to provide "by ordinance irrevocable without the consent of the United States and the people of that state, that perfect toleration of religious sentiment shall be secured, and that no inhabitant of said state shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; PROVIDED, that polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited."
The constitutional convention held under this act met in Salt Lake City on March 4, 1895, and completed its work on May 8, following. In the election of delegates for this convention the Democrats cast about 19,000 votes, the Republicans about 21,000 and the Populists about 6500. Of the 107 delegates chosen, 48 were Democrats and 59 Republicans. The constitution adopted contained the following provisions:--
"Art. 1. Sec. 4. The rights of conscience shall never be infringed. The state shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office of public trust, or for any vote at any election; nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror on account of religious belief or the absence thereof. There shall be no union of church and state, nor shall any church dominate the state or interfere with its functions. No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise, or instruction, or for the support of any ecclesiastical establishment.
"Art. 111. The following ordinance shall be irrevocable without the consent of the United States and the people of this state: Perfect toleration of religious sentiment is guaranteed. No inhabitant of this state shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; but polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited."
This constitution was submitted to the people on November 5, 1895, and was ratified by a vote of 31,305 to 7687, the Republicans at the same election electing their entire state ticket and a majority of the legislature. On January 4, 1896, President Cleveland issued a proclamation announcing the admission of Utah as a state. The inauguration of the new state officers took place at Salt Lake City two days later. The first governor, Heber M. Wells,* in his inaugural address made this declaration: "Let us learn to resent the absurd attacks that are made from time to time upon our sincerity by ignorant and prejudiced persons outside of Utah, and let us learn to know and respect each other more, and thus cement and intensify the fraternal sentiments now so widespread in our community, to the end that, by a mighty unity of purpose and Christian resolution, we may be able to insure that domestic tranquillity, promote that general welfare, and secure those blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity guaranteed by the constitution of the United States."
* Son of "General" Wells of the Nauvoo Legion.
The vote of Utah since its admission as a state has been cast as follows:--
An intelligent examination of the present status of the Mormon church can be made only after acquaintance with its past history, and the policy of the men who have given it its present doctrinal and political position. The Mormon power has ever in view objects rather than methods. It always keeps those objects in view, while at times adjusting methods to circumstances, as was the case in its latest treatment of the doctrine of polygamy. The casual visitor, making a tour of observation in Utah, and the would-be student of Mormon policies who satisfies himself with reading their books of doctrine instead of their early history, is certain to acquire little knowledge of the real Mormon character and the practical Mormon ambition, and if he writes on the subject he will contribute nothing more authentic than does Schouler in his "History of the United States" wherein he calls Joseph Smith "a careful organizer," and says that "it was a part of his creed to manage well the material concerns of his people, as they fed their flocks and raised their produce." Brigham Young's constant cry was that all the Mormons asked was to be left alone. Nothing suits the purposes of the heads of the church today better than the decrease of public attention attracted to their organization since the Woodruff manifesto concerning polygamy. In trying to arrive at a reasonable decision concerning their future place in American history, one must constantly bear in mind the arguments which they have to offer to religious enthusiasts, and the political and commercial power which they have already attained and which they are constantly strengthening.
The growth of Utah in population since its settlement by the Mormons has been as follows, accepting the figures of the United States census:
The census of 1890 (the religious statistics of the census of 1900 are not yet available) shows that, of a total church membership of 128,115 in Utah, the Latter-Day Saints numbered 118,201.
What may be called the Mormon political policy embraces these objects: to maintain the dictatorial power of the priesthood over the present church membership; to extend that membership over the adjoining states so as to acquire in the latter, first a balance of power, and later complete political control; to continue the work of proselyting throughout the United States and in foreign lands with a view to increasing the strength of the church at home by the immigration to Utah of the converts.
That the power of the Mormon priesthood over their flock has never been more autocratic than it is to-day is the testimony of the best witnesses who may be cited. A natural reason for this may be found in the strength which always comes to a religious sect with age, if it survives the period of its infancy. We have seen that in the early days of the church its members apostatized in scores, intimate acquaintance with Smith and his associates soon disclosing to men of intelligence and property their real objects. But the church membership in and around Utah to-day is made up of the children and the grandchildren of men and women who remained steadfast in their faith. These younger generations are therefore influenced in their belief, not only by such appeals as what is taught to them makes to their reason, but by the fact that these teachings are the teachings which have been accepted by their ancestors. It is, therefore, vastly more difficult to convince a younger Mormon to-day that his belief rests on a system of fraud than it was to enforce a similar argument on the minds of men and women who joined the Saints in Ohio or Illinois. We find, accordingly, that apostasies in Utah are of comparatively rare occurrence; that men of all classes accept orders to go on missions to all parts of the world without question; and that the tithings are paid with greater regularity than they have been since the days of Brigham Young.
The extension of the membership of the Mormon church over the states and territories nearest to Utah has been carried on with intelligent zeal. The census of 1890 gives the following comparison of members of Latter-Day Saints churches and of "all bodies" in the states and territories named:--
The political influence of the Mormon church in all the states and territories adjacent to Utah is already great, amounting in some instances to practical dictation. It is not necessary that any body of voters should have the actual control of the politics of a state to insure to them the respect of political managers. The control of certain counties will insure to them the subserviency of the local politicians, who will speak a good word for them at the state capital, and the prospect that they will have greater influence in the future will be pressed upon the attention of the powers that be. We have seen how steadily the politicians of California at Washington stood by the Mormons in their earlier days, when they were seeking statehood and opposing any federal control of their affairs. The business reasons which influenced the Californians are a thousand times more effective to-day. The Cooperative Institution has a hold on the Eastern firms from which it buys goods, and every commercial traveller who visits Utah to sell the goods of his employers to Mormon merchants learns that a good word for his customers is always appreciated. The large corporations that are organized under the laws of Utah (and this includes the Union Pacific Railroad Company) are always in some way beholden to the Mormon legislative power. All this sufficiently indicates the measures quietly taken by the Mormon church to guard itself against any further federal interference.
The mission work of the Mormon church has always been conducted with zeal and efficiency, and it is so continued to-day. The church authorities in Utah no longer give out definite statistics showing the number of missionaries in the field, and the number of converts brought to Utah from abroad. The number of missionaries at work in October, 1901, was stated to me by church officers at from fourteen hundred to nineteen hundred, the smaller number being insisted upon as correct by those who gave it. As nearly as could be ascertained, about one-half this force is employed in the United States and the rest abroad. The home field most industriously cultivated has been the rural districts of the Southern states, whose ignorant population, ever susceptible to "preaching" of any kind, and quite incapable of answering the Mormon interpretation of the Scriptures, is most easily lead to accept the Mormon views. When such people are offered an opportunity to improve their worldly condition, as they are told they may do in Utah, at the same time that they can save their souls, the bait is a tempting one. The number of missionaries now at work in these Southern states is said to be much smaller than it was two years ago. Meanwhile the work of proselyting in the Eastern Atlantic states has become more active. The Mormons have their headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, and their missionaries make visits in all parts of Greater New York. They leave a great many tracts in private houses, explaining that they will make another call later, and doing so if they receive the least encouragement. They take great pains to reach servant girls with their literature and arguments, and the story has been published* of a Mormon missionary who secured employment as a butler, and made himself so efficient that his employer confided to him the engagement of all the house servants; in time the frequent changes which he made aroused suspicion, and an investigation disclosed the fact that he was a Mormon of good education, who used his position as head servant to perform effective proselyting work. By promise of a husband and a home of her own on her arrival in Utah, this man was said to have induced sixty girls to migrate from New York City to that state since he began his labors.
* New York Sun, January 27, 1901.
The Mormons estimate the membership of their church throughout the world at a little over 300,000. The numbers of "souls" in the church abroad was thus reported for the year ending December 31, 1899, as published in the Millennial Star:--
Great Britain 4,588 Scandinavia 5,438 Germany 1,198 Switzerland 1,078 Netherlands 1,556
These figures indicate a great falling off in the church constituency in Europe as compared with the year 1851, when the number of Mormons in Great Britain and Ireland was reported at more than thirty thousand. Many influences have contributed to decrease the membership of the church abroad and the number of converts which the church machinery has been able to bring to Utah. We have seen that the announcement of polygamy as a necessary belief of the church was a blow to the organization in Europe. The misrepresentation made to converts abroad to induce them to migrate to Utah, as illustrated in the earlier years of the church, has always been continued, and naturally many of the deceived immigrants have sent home accounts of their deception. A book could be filled with stories of the experiences of men and women who have gone to Utah, accepting the promises held out to them by the missionaries,--such as productive farms, paying business enterprises; or remunerative employment,--only to find their expectations disappointed, and themselves stranded in a country where they must perform the hardest labor in order to support themselves, if they had not the means with which to return home. The effect of such revelations has made some parts of Europe an unpleasant field for the visits of Mormon missionaries.
The government at Washington, during the operation of the Perpetual Emigration Fund organization, realized the evil of the introduction of so many Mormon converts from abroad. On August 9, 1879, Secretary of State William M. Evarts sent out a circular to the diplomatic officers of the United States throughout the world, calling their attention to the fact that the organized shipment of immigrants intended to add to the number of law-defying polygamists in Utah was "a deliberate and systematic attempt to bring persons to the United States with the intent of violating their laws and committing crimes expressly punishable under the statute as penitentiary offences," and instructing them to call the attention of the governments to which they were accredited to this matter, in order that those governments might take such steps as were compatible with their laws and usages "to check the organization of these criminal enterprises by agents who are thus operating beyond the reach of the law of the United States, and to prevent the departure of those proposing to come hither as violators of the law by engaging in such criminal enterprises, by whomsoever instigated." President Cleveland, in his first message, recommended the passage of a law to prevent the importation of Mormons into the United States. The Edmunds-Tucker law contained a provision dissolving the Perpetual Emigration Company, and forbidding the Utah legislature to pass any law to bring persons into the territory. Mormon authorities have informed me that there has been no systematic immigration work since the prosecutions under the Edmunds law. But as it is conceded that the Mormons make practically no proselytes among then Gentile neighbors, they must still look largely to other fields for that increase of their number which they have in view.
As a part of their system of colonizing the neighboring states and territories, they have made settlements in the Dominion of Canada and in Mexico. Their Canadian settlement is situated in Alberta. A report to the Superintendent of Immigration at Ottawa, dated December 30, 1899, stated that the Mormon colony there comprised 1700 souls, all coming from Utah; and that "they are a very progressive people, with good schools and churches." When they first made their settlement they gave a pledge to the Dominion government that they would refrain from the practice of polygamy while in that country. In 1889 the Department of the Interior at Ottawa was informed that the Mormons were not observing this pledge, but investigation convinced the department that this accusation was not true. However, in 1890, an amendment to the criminal law of the Dominion was enacted (clause 11, 53 Victoria, Chap. 37), making any person guilty of a misdemeanor, and liable to imprisonment for five years and a fine of $500, who practises any form of polygamy or spiritual marriage, or celebrates or assists in any such marriage ceremony.
The Secretario de Fomento of Mexico, under date of May 4, 1901, informed me that the number of Mormon colonists in that country was then 2319, located in seven places in Chihuahua and Sonora. He added: "The laws of this country do not permit polygamy. The government has never encouraged the immigration of Mormons, only that of foreigners of good character, working people who may be useful to the republic. And in the contracts made for the establishment of those Mormon colonies it was stipulated that they should be formed only of foreigners embodying all the aforesaid conditions."
No student of the question of polygamy, as a doctrine and practice of the Mormon church, can reach any other conclusion than that it is simply held in abeyance at the present time, with an expectation of a removal of the check now placed upon it. The impression, which undoubtedly prevails throughout other parts of the United States, that polygamy was finally abolished by the Woodruff manifesto and the terms of statehood, is founded on an ignorance of the compulsory character of the doctrine of polygamy, of the narrowness of President Woodruff's decree, and of the part which polygamous marriages have been given, by the church doctrinal teachings, in the plan of salvation. The sketch of the various steps leading up to the Woodruff manifesto shows that even that slight concession to public opinion was made, not because of any change of view by the church itself concerning polygamy, but simply to protect the church members from the loss of every privilege of citizenship. That manifesto did not in any way condemn the polygamous doctrine; it simply advised the Saints to submit to the United States law against polygamy, with the easily understood but unexpressed explanation that it was to their temporal advantage to do so. How strictly this advice has since been lived up to--to what extent polygamous practices have since been continued in Utah--it is not necessary, in a work of this kind, to try to ascertain. The most intelligent non-Mormon testimony obtainable in the territory must be discarded if we are to believe that polygamous relations have not been continued in many instances. This, too, would be only what might naturally be expected among a people who had so long been taught that plural marriages were a religious duty, and that the check to them was applied, not by their church authorities, but by an outside government, hostility to which had long been inculcated in them.
It must be remembered that it is a part of the doctrine of polygamy that woman can enter heaven only as sealed to some devout member of the Mormon church "for time and eternity," and that the space around the earth is filled with spirits seeking some "tabernacles of clay" by means of which they may attain salvation. Through the teaching of this doctrine, which is accepted as explicitly by the membership of the Mormon church at large as is any doctrine by a Protestant denomination, the Mormon women believe that the salvation of their sex depends on "sealed" marriages, and that the more children they can bring into the world the more spirits they assist on the road to salvation. In the earlier days of the church, as Brigham Young himself testified, the bringing in of new wives into a family produced discord and heartburnings, and many pictures have been drawn of the agony endured by a wife number one when her husband became a polygamist. All the testimony I can obtain in regard to the Mormonism of today shows that the Mormon women are now the most earnest advocates of polygamous marriages. Said one competent observer in Salt Lake City to me, "As the women of the South, during the war, were the rankest rebels, so the women of Mormondom are to-day the most zealous advocates of polygamy."
By precisely what steps the church may remove the existing prohibition of polygamous marriages I shall not attempt to decide. It is easy, however, to state the one enactment which would prevent the success of any such effort. This would be the adoption by Congress and ratification by the necessary number of states of a constitutional amendment making the practice of polygamy an offence under the federal law, and giving the federal courts jurisdiction to punish any violators of this law. The Mormon church recognizes this fact, and whenever such an amendment comes before Congress all its energies will be directed to prevent its ratification. Governor Wells's warning in his message vetoing the Utah Act of March, 1901, concerning prosecutions for adultery, that its enactment would be the signal for a general demand for the passage of a constitutional amendment against polygamy, showed how far the executive thought it necessary to go to prevent even the possibility of such an amendment. One of the main reasons why the Mormons are so constantly increasing their numbers in the neighboring states is that they may secure the vote of those states against an anti-polygamy amendment. Whenever such an amendment is introduced at Washington it will be found that every Mormon influence--political, mercantile, and railroad--will be arrayed against it, and its passage is unlikely unless the church shall make some misstep which will again direct public attention to it in a hostile manner.
The devout Mormon has no more doubt that his church will dominate this nation eventually than he has in the divine character of his prophet's revelations. Absurd as such a claim appears to all non-Mormon citizens, in these days when Mormonism has succeeded in turning public attention away from the sect, it is interesting to trace the church view of this matter, along with the impression which the Mormon power has made on some of its close observers. The early leaders made no concealment of their claim that Mormonism was to be a world religion. "What the world calls Mormonism' will rule every nation," said Orson Hyde. "God has decreed it, and his own right arm will accomplish it."* Brigham Young, in a sermon in the Tabernacle on February 15, 1856, told his people that their expulsion from Missouri was revealed to him in advance, as well as the course of their migrations, and he added: "Mark my words. Write them down. This people as a church and kingdom will go from the west to the east."
* Journal of Discourses, Vol. VII, pp. 48-53.
Tullidge, whose works, it must be remembered, were submitted to church revision, in his "Life of Brigham Young" thus defines the Mormon view of the political mission of the head of the church: "He is simply an apostle of a republican nationality, manifold in its genius; or, in popular words, he is the chief apostle of state rights by divine appointment. He has the mission, he affirms, and has been endowed with inspiration to preach the gospel of a true democracy to the nation, as well as the gospel for the remission of sins, and he believes the United States will ultimately need his ministration in both respects . . . . They form not, therefore, a rival power as against the Union, but an apostolic ministry to it, and their political gospel is state rights and self-government. This is political Mormonism in a nutshell."*
* p. 244.
Tullidge further says in his "History of Salt Lake City" (writing in 1886): "The Mormons from the first have existed as a society, not as a sect. They have combined the two elements of organization--the social and the religious. They are now a new society power in the world, and an entirety in themselves. They are indeed the only religious community in Christendom of modern birth."*
* p. 387.
Some of the closest observers of the Mormons in their earlier days took them very seriously. Thus Josiah Quincy, after visiting Joseph Smith at Nauvoo, wrote that it was "by no means impossible" that the answer to the question, "What historical American of the nineteenth century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destiny of his countrymen," would not be, "Joseph Smith." Governor Ford of Illinois, who had to do officially with the Mormons during most of their stay in that state, afterward wrote concerning them: "The Christian world, which has hitherto regarded Mormonism with silent contempt, unhappily may yet have cause to fear its rapid increase. Modern society is full of material for such a religion . . . . It is to be feared that, in the course of a century, some gifted man like Paul, some splendid orator who will be able by his eloquence to attract crowds of the thousands who are ever ready to hear and be carried away by the sounding brass and tinkling cymbal of sparkling oratory, may command a hearing, may succeed in breathing a new life into this modern Mohammedanism, and make the name of the martyred Joseph ring as loud, and stir the souls of men as much, as the mighty name of Christ itself."*
* Ford, "History of Illinois," p. 359.
The close observers of Mormonism in Utah, who recognize its aims, but think that its days of greatest power are over, found this opinion on the fact that the church makes practically no converts among the neighboring Gentiles; and that the increasing mining and other business interests are gradually attracting a population of non-Mormons which the church can no longer offset by converts brought in from the East and from foreign lands. Special stress is laid on the future restriction on Mormon immigration that will be found in the lack of further government land which may be offered to immigrants, and in the discouraging stories sent home by immigrants who have been induced to move to Utah by the false representations of the missionaries. Unquestionably, if the Mormon church remains stationary as regards wealth and membership, it will be overshadowed by its surroundings. What it depends on to maintain its present status and to increase its power is the loyal devotion of the body of its adherents, and its skill in increasing their number in the states which now surround Utah, and eventually in other states.
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