Benjamin G. Ferris

Utah and the Mormons

(NYC, Harper and Brothers 1854, 56)

  • Contents

  • Chap. 1-5

  • Chap. 6-10

  • Chap. 11-22

  • Appendix

  • Transcriber's Comments


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    the Mormon hierarchy, and probably forms a more perfect blending of Church and State than the world has ever yet seen. The temporal affairs of the community and all its members are governed by its ecclesiastical organization, which, in practice, is absolute, stern, unrelenting, and cruel. A Saint can neither marry, or get divorced, or sell his property, or successfully transact business, or leave the Great Basin, without the consent or against the advice of council." The laws of Japan are not more minute and searching in their operations.




    Legislative Assembly. -- Governor's Message, 1852. -- Legislation proceeds from the Church. -- No Freedom of the Ballot-box. -- Crimes. -- Murder of Hatch. -- Case of Goodyear. -- Joe Bankhead. -- Better Treatment of Emigrants. -- Thieving. -- Different Classes of Mormons.

    THE Territory of Utah is organized as such under an act of Congress, and, theoretically at least, the laws of the United States applicable to territories are therein administered. Under the organic act, a Legislative Assembly was elected in the summer of 1851, and held a session in the following autumn and winter. At this session they passed a small body of laws, embracing the usual range of legislative action -- the organization of the courts of justice -- the punishment of crime (except bigamy) -- the administration of estates -- the incorporation of cities -- the construction of roads and bridges the training of the militia; &c., &c.

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    (under construction)


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    (pages 187-199 under construction)


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    the dwelling, and asked her if that would ever literally subside into a plane. "Yes, indeed," was her response; "I expect to see that mountain literally made low, for the last days are at hand, and the Bible says that 'every valley shall be exulted, and every mountain made low,' and the Bible means exactly what it says." Of her sincerity there was no room for doubt.

    This class constitutes about two thirds of the entire Mormon community, and furnishes the reliable power -- the grand lever -- by which the whole is governed. They are generally industrious and honest to an exemplary degree, and manifest on ordinary occasions the kindly instincts and sympathies of humanity. But their fanaticism renders them blind instruments in the hands of "council" for the perpetration of any atrocity, however criminal or revolting.

    A community so made up requires the exercise of much adroitness and cunning to keep them under obedient control, and the wits of the leaders are well sharpened in this respect. But, with all the management and chicanery at their command, Mormondom has ever been like a region of moving sand, which loses in a given time on one side as much as it has gained on the other.


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    Idea of "Last Day." -- Inspiration of Mormon Apostles. -- Doctrines as contained in Book of "Doctrines and Covenants." -- Faith the controlling Principle. -- Rebellion of Lucifer. -- Great Efficacy of Baptism. -- Syllabus of Doctrines. -- Damnation and Salvation.

    THE Mormon creed is a curious piece of checkered and incongruous patchwork. Joseph Smith, the founder, claimed to be the divinely authorized discoverer and translator of the sacred writings of an ancient people on this continent -- alleged to have been writtten on golden plates, and reserved until these last days for the use of "the Church of Latter-day Saints" -- called the Book of Mormon.

    The cardinal starting-point of Mormonism is, that the last days are at hand, and that the Mormons are Latter-day Saints. The controlling idea is, that the general judgment is to come soon; by which is not meant an indefinite series of ages, but within the lifetime of the present generation. As early as Junnary, 1833, the prophet announced as follows:

    "And now I am prepared to say, by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away before thc United States shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the history of our nation; pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquakes will sweep the wicked of this gencration from off the face of the land, to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country. The

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    (pages 202-215 under construction)


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    and his angels to eternity." The devil and his angels are those who voted in the minority at the election before referred to, and were cast down. Whether this appendix to the infernal regions was satisfactory to the Universalist, we have no means of knowing.

    The salvation, as well as damnation, of the Saints possesses many curious features. The grossest materialism will be found to be the underlying formation on which the conglomerated stratum rests. There are three degrees of salvation, or glories, as they are sometimes called -- the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial, corresponding to the sun, moon, and stars. The celestial is the highest, and those who attain it are to have celestial bodies, and are the priests of the order of Melchisedek. The terrestrial is a degree lower. It is made up of the "spirits in prison" who receive the Gospel when it is there preached to them: these have only terrestrial bodies. The telestial is the lowest of all, and is made up of those who in the first instance are cast into hell, but, after roasting a while, are finally redeemed from the devil in the last resurrection. These have telestial bodies, and occupy, as it were, the basement story of this singular theological edifice. The bodies for these degrees, though differently named, all agree in being material; that being, according to Mormon estimation the entire composition of all things, divine, human, and infernal.


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    Doctrinal Sermons. -- The Resurrection Saints to have Farms and Become Gods. -- Pre-existence of Spirits. -- Pantheism. -- Propagation of Gods. -- Holy Spirit. -- Angels. -- Materialism.

    IN the summer of 1852, discourses were delivered by Orson Pratt and Brigham Young, in which some of the eccentric features of the Mormon creed, in reference to the salvation and glory of the Saints, are distinctly set forth.

    They believe, it appears, that. by the sin of Adam eating the fruit contrary to the divine command, the penalty of the death of the body was brought upon all men; and that, without any future redemption, the soul and the body would eternally lie in the grave. The death of Christ, however, satisfied the original sin, and by it man will have a resurrection from the grave only.

    "You will be redeemed from the original sin with no works on your part whatever. Jesus had died to redeem you from it, and you are as sure to be redeemed as you live upon the face of the earth." "If you have murdered all the days of your life, and committed all the sins the devil would prompt you to commit, you will get a resurrection -- your spirit will be restored to your body; and if Jesus had not come, all of us would have slumbered in the grave." (Pratt's Sermon, Deseret News, Aug. 21, 1852.)

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    (pages 218-231 under construction)


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    "There is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that are in them." (Book of Mormon, p. 69.)

    Afterward we find the prophet, in the very last sermon he preached, using the following language:

    "The head God called together the gods, and sat in grand council. The grand counselors sat in yonder heavens, and contemplated the creation of the worlds that were created at that time." (Times and Seasons, p. 614.)

    But Mormonism claims to be a progressive Church, and what was truth yesterday is discovered to be false to-day, and the new principle is destined to be exploded to-morrow.


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    Early Notions on Marriage -- Introduction of Polygamy. -- Existed at first as a secret Institution. -- Jesuitism of Missionaries on the Subject. -- Polygamy an Element of Salvation. -- The Gods are Polygamists.

    AT an early period, their views in relation to marriage were in conformity to the rest of the civilized world. This, in fact, was one of the few subjects which was plainly expressed in the Book of Mormon.

    "And now I make an end of speaking unto you concerning this pride. And were it not that I must speak unto you concerning a grosser crime, my heart would rejoice exceedingly because of you. But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord, this people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the Scriptures; for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son. Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph; wherefore I, the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord;

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    (pages 234-245 under construction)


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    and these consisted in having a plurality of wives and concubines. The heavens are nothing more than one or more earths purified by fire, and it has gone through this process merely that it may be a place for the propagation of spirits for earthly tabernacles elsewhere begotten. Thus time and eternity are but the unvarying cycles of the lusts of the flesh and of worldly grandeur, and earth and heaven but the vast receptacles of the debauchee and the strumpet; and as all who do "the works of Abraham" are to become gods, he is destined to be the greatest god who has the largest harem and claims paternity to the greatest number of bastards.


    Prevalence of Polygamy. -- Its Effects on Population. -- Arguments in its Favor. -- Its Effects on Morals. -- Frightful Licentiousness. -- Its Influence on the first Wife. -- Divisions and Hatred in Families.

    As a matter of civil polity, it would seem, at this age of the world, as though the founders of communities and states might regard polygamy as a settled question. It existed among the Jews, with other questionable practices, by divine permission, on account of the hardness of their hearts. The fruits of polygamy among them were such as might readily be supposed by any one knowing any thing of the relation of cause and effect. Each individual case presents a picture of family dissensions, divisions, and misery. Sarah, after giving Hagar to Abraham (not by divine command, as Smith would have his dupes believe), turns her

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    off, after the birth of Ishmael, in a fit of jealousy and rage.

    "The increasing wealth of the Hebrews under the patriarchal government, which forwarded its temporal power, was, however, morally counteracted in its influence by polygamy, the fatal tendency of which was soon discovered in the domestic misery distracting the family and embittering the days of the fondest, as he was the most unfortunate of fathers. The jealousies of the sisters, Rachael and Leah, for supremacy in their husband's affections, and the contentions of the sons of Bilhah and of Zilpah, produced those dark divisions which finally ended in the expulsion of Joseph.

    "The envious brothers, who hated Joseph for his virtues, who meditated his murder, sold him to slavery., &c., were such sons and brothers as Oriental despotism produces down to the present day -- where woman is still the servant and man the master, and where polygamy is still the ruling institution of the land." ( Woman and her Master, vol. i., p. 56.)

    No nation of ancient or modern times, in which polygamy has existed as a part of its political or religious institutions, has exhibited a permanent degree of vigor or prosperity. It did not prevail, except in one or two extraordinary instances, among the Greeks, nor at all among the Romans until, for a period, during the corruptions of the Empire. The modern nations of Europe are free from this scourge. It belongs now to the indolent and opium-eating Turks and Asiatics, the miserable Africans, the North American savages, and the Latter-day Saints. It is the offspring of lust, and its legitimate results are soon manifest in the rapid degeneracy of races.

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    (pages 248-261 under construction)


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    Brigham Young, for some reason or other, desired to involve Eldridge in the meshes of spiritual wife-ism, and repeatedly importuned him on the subject. Eldridge told him he was living, very happily with his wife, and that to bring another into the family would almost kill her. Young replied that, if his wife was opposed to the order of the Church, "the quicker she was damned, the better." He also stated, among other things, that he was about to go off on an exploring tour in the Territory with a party (naming some of them); that he and the rest intended each to take each a new wife; that he (Eldridge) had better do so too and they would have "a nice time of it." Eldridge finally yielded, and so worked upon his wife as to compel her to give her consent to his being sealed to a miserable drab selected for this occasion. From this period he became a perfect brute in the treatment of his wife; turned her from the best room in the house to make room for his concubine; and she, thoroughly crushed and despairing, realizes that her once peaceful and happy home has been changed into a domestic hell. This is fair history of the fate of the first wife.

    Instances of brutal insensibility on the part of the men are common, and excite but little attention. A man connected with the stage, having a number of wives, came home one evening (January, 1853) from rehearsing his part, and found one of them dead. This trifling circumstance, however, did not in the least interfere with his engagement at the theatre; he performed his part that evening; buried his deceased wife the next day; and kept on at the theatre as though nothing, extraordinary had happened.

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    It may excite surprise that so many females can be found who are willing to be made the ready instruments of debauchery; but they are generally young. exceedingly ignorant, and are made to believe that their salvation depends upon it, and it is regarded as no disgrace in the community in which they live. This community is so completely isolated as to form a world by itself, and its habits and morals are borrowed from the cock-pit and third tier of more civilized regions. The greatest opposition comes from the first wives: there are a few instances in which they advocate it; but these are divorcees from the States, and are somewhat familiar with having "things in common."

    Many of the older sealed ones are women who have been seduced to leave their husbands and families in the States. These, of course, become thorough-paced strumpets, and, when too old for use, are noted devotees. A fair type of this class is a Mrs. Cobb, whose race would embellish the pages of Peregrine Pickle. This woman was living in Boston with her husband and family when Brigham Young visited that city as a missionary. He was at that time a good-looking man, and Madam Cobb made up her mind that to aid Brigham in building up a celestial kingdom was far preferable to the humdrum of her domestic duties. She accordingly raced off, taking one of her children (a young girl), was divorced from her husband, and afterward duly sealed to Brigham. She was the reigning sultana for a time, and queened it with a high hand; but he finally tired of her, and she is now a full-blown devotee; talks solemnly of being sealed to Joseph Smith and other dead prophets; and tries hard, by the extravagance

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    of her nonsense, to make herself a mother in Israel. Her daughter, in the mean time, has grown up handsome in face, and accomplished in the peculiar graces which belong to female Mormondom. The mother and daughter deal frequently in crimination and recrimination with each other, calling things by their right names in choice Billingsgate; and the parent is in a fair way of draining to the bottom that cup of bitterness which she has prepared for her own lips.


    Book of Mormon. -- Proofs of its modern Origin. -- Its Style. -- Arguments in Favor of the System.

    THE Book of Mormon claims to be "the history of the inhabitants of America, who are a branch of the house of Israel, of the tribe of Joseph, of whom the Indians are still a remnant; but the principal nation of them having fallen in battle in the fourth or fifth century, one of their prophets, whose name was Moroni [sic], saw fit to make an abridgment of their history, their prophecies, and their doctrines, which he engraved on plates, and afterward being slain, the records fell into the hands of his son Moroni, who, being hunted by his enemies, was directed to deposit them safely in the earth," &c. In other words, the Book of Mormon professes to be the Bible of this ancient people, which has been exhumed by Joseph Smith for the use of "these last days," and it is upon this foundation that the whole Mormon structure has been built.

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    Upon examination, however, it will be seen that the book itself never could have sustained the superincumbent weight; it required certain adjuncts, such as the gift of prophecy, seership, miracles, tongues, and other popular marvels, to give any thing like success to the scheme.

    There is probably no book in the world which contains within itself so many proofs of its real origin, and one but partially read in the history of human credulity is struck with wonder that the imposture should have fastened itself upon such numbers; and that, too, with such strength, that no incongruity, inconsistency, or absurdity which can be pointed out can make the least impression. At the very outset we are met with a most surprising fact: a portion of the Israelites are alleged to have found their way, in a marvelous manner, to the shores of America, and they and their descendants write a long book, in which there is not one word of the Hebrew tongue: it proves to be in a language so wholly lost as to require a miraculous translation, through the aid of a huge pair of spectacles. In addition to this, not a single Hebrew word or character can be found in the languages of these descendants of Israel upon the American continent. Miracles become very suspicious characters when they start into existence without necessity or apparent object.

    A reader of the Book of Mormon will not be disposed to deny, very strenuously, that the authors must, at times, have possessed the gift of strange tongues. The religious portions are especially encumbered with gross grammatical errors, to say nothing of violations of good

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    (pages 266-297 under construction)


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    happy, that he managed to keep all knowledge of it from her, which certainly presents the amiability of his disposition in a favorable light. His wife died in Nauvoo, after which the doctor took unto himself a goodly number of concubines, under the universal plea that it was a divinely authorized order of the Church. Was he sincere, or did he all the while suspect that the inspiration of Joseph was from a class of spirits similar to those with whom Dr. Faustus was, in popular credulity, supposed to have been in league when he invented type? He will not live with his concubines, but furnishes them with separate stalls, as a farmer would his favorite cows, and continues to reside with a maiden sister. He is an instance of an easy, good-natured man, spoiled by a profane religious system and vicious associations. His obesity and habits will soon remove him to a state where all that is good and evil, recorded in his book of life, will be fully explored.

    Another medium of instruction, through the agency of which the Saints are kept in a high degree of illumination, is the "Deseret Almanac," a concern got up by W. W. Phelps, editor of the "Morning and Evening Star" when Zion was located in Missouri, since Speaker of the House of Representatives at the first session of the Legislative Assembly, and who sometimes calls himself the "King's Jester." This man, as already stated, was a broken-down political hack, who resided for a time at Cortland, and also at Canandaigua, in the State of New York. There were too many screws loose in his mind to make him efficient in any thing rational, and, soon after Smith appeared upon the

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    stage with Spaulding's book, and his own machinery of seer-stones and miracles, Phelps was irresistibly attracted, and became an early convert. When the troubles came on in Missouri, and Joseph and Hyrum were arrested for treason, he apostatized, and, as a witness before Judge King, made some ugly disclosures. He was afterward restored to the bosom of the Church, and now figures among the great men of the Latter-day Saints. In the secret penetralia of Mormon Temple mysteries, he plays the part of the serpent-devil in the garden of Eden; and on such occasions, wriggles and hisses so much like a real snake, that his services are looked upon as indispensable by all true believers.

    An almanac made up by such a genius must, of course, have its peculiarities. In the one for 1852 occurs the following scrap of sublime doctrine:

    "The nearest 'fixed star' must be Mount Paran, mentioned in Habakkuk, the fruitful world of glory where the 'Holy One' came from; or, rather, Kolob, where our Father in the heavens resides in the midst of his glory and kingdoms. The next 'fixed star,' also mentioned by Habakkuk, must be Tamen, the world of perfection, where God came from to do the works of his Father spoken of by John the Revelator (Rev., i., 6); which Father of God and grandfather of Jesus Christ must now be living in one of the eternity of eternities, which closes the Lord's Prayer in the Greek version, and is mentioned by John (Rev., xix., 3, &c.)."

    This idea of matrimony and pedigree among the Mormon gods is kept up in the Almanac for the present year, as will be seen by the following specimen page;

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    (pages 300-339 under construction)


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    Territorial Changes. -- Policy of appointing Brigham Young. -- Difficulty with Secretary Harris and other Officers. -- Change of Tactics. -- Appointment and Declination of Colonel Steptoe. -- Efforts of Brigham to retain Office. -- His Manifesto and Present Policy. -- Mormons excite Indian Hostilities. -- Trial and Escape of the Murderers of Captain Gunnison. -- Population. -- Decline of Missionary Efforts in the United States. -- Papers started to advocate Polygamy, &c. -- Degrading Effects. -- What is to be done?

    THE rapid march of events would seem to be fast bringing the Mormon community once more in close contiguity with civilized life.

    It will be recollected that the intense hatred which they bore to the government and people of the United States induced them to leave the country and establish themselves in Mexican territory. Their principal object, if we are to credit William Smith, the brother of the prophet, corroborated by contemporaneous circumstances, was to erect an independent government west of the Rocky Mountains. This design was frustrated by the result of the Mexican war, which added a large portion of Northern Mexico, with its newly acquired population of Saints, to the victorious republic. But they have since cherished the idea of being admitted

    * This chapter is written for the second edition of the work. that the reader may have the benefit of the principal events connected with the Mormons which have occurred since the author's residence among them.

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    into the Union as a Mormon state, and dread the influx of a population alien to their faith.

    The discovery of gold in California produced a rush of adventurous spirits in that direction, and the Mormon settlements were found to be in the direct line of travel from the great east to the great west. The Saints had unconsciously built up a half-way house for the accommodation of the increasing tide of western emigration. Gold has since been discovered, in sufficient abundance to attract attention, in the Valley of Carson River, a region otherwise fertile and productive, and a Gentile population is rapidly accumulating in the western portion of Utah Territory.

    Subsequently, that widely-expanded region, lying between Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota on the east, and the Rocky Mountains on the west, has been erected into the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska. All that part of Utah embracing the valleys of Green and Grand Rivers, and their confluents, have been added to, and now form portions of the new territories. By this change an immense country has been thrown open to the occupation of the white man, and emigrants are pouring in by thousands. The region taken from Utah and added to Kansas and Nebraska is fertile, well watered, and some portions well wooded, and is destined to be settled by an industrious farming population. A cordon of "Gentiles" is thus gradually drawing itself around this strange and secluded community in their mountain home, and it remains to be seen whether scenes of violence, similar to those which occurred in Missouri and Illinois, are to be re-enacted.

    The position of the Mormon community in relation

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    to the government has been in some degree changed since the first organization of the Territory. After they found themselves within the limits of the republic, they were anxious that all the civil officers to be appointed by the President should be of their own faith. This desire was partially gratified in the appointment of Brigham Young as governor; one of the judges, the district attorney, the marshal, and the postmaster, were also of the Mormon Church; the other two judges and the secretary were Gentiles.

    Whatever may be thought now of the propriety of allowing polygamists to hold office under an enlightened Christian government, and receive their pay from its treasury, there can be no doubt that the appointments were made in the exercise of a prudent policy. In the first place, the Saints had not at that period openly proclaimed their infamy in avowing the existence of polygamy among them, but, on the other hand, had strenuously, and even indignantly, denied the fact. In the next place, in view of the annoyances to which the emigrants to California arid Oregon might be subjected, and the necessities to which they might be reduced in passing through Utah, it was very desirable that the hatred of the Saints toward the Gentiles should be as much as possible softened.

    That the exercise of this prudent policy had a beneficial object, there can be no reasonable doubt; but Brigham Young, was very much annoyed that the secretary and a majority of the judges should be Gentiles. He desired the purse and the judiciary to be wholly under the control of the Church; and he, as the Lord's prophet, is the embodiment -- the incarnation of

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    the Church. He made up his mind, therefore, that those officers -- Judges Perry, E. Brocchus, and Lemuel G. Brandebury, and Secretary B. D. Harris * -- should not remain. They repaired to their post in 1851; and the following, from a statement published by Judge Brocchus, will show in what temper they were received:

    "Having arrived at the place of my destination, instead of realizing the pleasant state of things that my imagination had placed before me, I found that all my favorable opinions of the Mormons were entirely erroneous. Instead of exhibiting feelings of gratitude toward the general government for the establishment of their Territory, and the bestowal of many of its offices upon their own people, I found them ready to treat the territorial organization as a farce, and all the official components thereof, excepting such as were Mormons, with marked contempt. Instead of finding the governor of the Territory ready to exercise a cordial co-operation with the judiciary in the discharge of its legitimate functions, I learned, to my surprise and regret, that he was averse to the establishment of judicial tribunals there, over which "Gentile" judges were to preside, and had been actively engaged in exciting the prejudice of the masses against them; having declared that none others than d---d rascals would have come there as judges, unless they were Mormons, and

    * Among the many friendly criticisms elicited by the appearance of the author's work is one by an editor in Baltimore, in which from the similarity of the names, the author is confounded with Secretary Harris, and it is conjectured that some of the statements which appear incredible to the critic had their origin in feelings soured by his forced expulsion from the Territory.

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    that they should not try a cause if he could prevent it. His whole course subsequently proved the sincerity of his declarations, and a malignant determination to render the situations of all the officers of the government, excepting such as belonged to his Church, so unpleasant that they could not remain there with a proper sense of self-respect, with a becoming regard for the commissions they held, or a correct estimation of their duty as American citizens."

    Judge Brocchus farther states that the governor and other leading members of the community had been industrious in poisoning the minds of the people against the government and people of the United States, and against him and his associates. He had been authorized by the managers of the Washington Monument Association to ask of the people of the Territory a block of marble, or other stone, as an offering to the memory of the "Father of his Country," and, obtaining permission from the all-potent Brigham to address a large audience on the subject, took advantage of the occasion to correct, if possible, ~ the prevailing errors of opinion, which were assuming a fearful reign over the minds of the people.,'

    This effort, according to the testimony of those resident Gentiles who happened to be present, was a creditable one, and entirely free from any thing that ought to have given offense. Brigham, however, had made up his mind not only to be offended himself, but that the people should be offended too. He watched his opportunity, and catching hold of some general expressions about "public and private virtue," which form so common a staple in popular oratory, and perverting

                                  UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              345

    them into an attack upon the "peculiar institutions" existing in his dominions, he lashed himself into a rage. In a long and rambling tirade, he poured forth a torront of abuse, from a mind richly stored in this respect, not only upon the newly-arrived officers, but all the rest of creation outside of Mormondom, in the course of which he declared that "General Taylor was in hell, and he knew it, and that the officers of the government were a pack of d---d corrupt scoundrels."

    The multitude, before well enough pleased, were of course turned about like a weathercock by this fierce "norther," and ready at a word to tear the Gentile intruders to pieces. But to this extremity he had no idea of proceeding. He merely wished to make them apprehensive for their personal safety, in which he effectually succeeded; and they fled from the Valley, having barely time to reach the States before the commencement of winter. Brigham then endeavored to soften down the effect which this bold experiment might have upon the government, laboring hard to befog the whole matter, and make out a case of willful desertion on the part of the fugitives. In a recent speech, however, delivered by him at the Tabernacle, he exults, as follows, in having punished these officers, and substantially corroborates the statements made by Judge B.:

    "When a man professes to be my friend and the friend of this people, he will take my counsel instead of stirring up strife and practicing iniquity. I dislike the willfully corrupt, and by-and-by I will come out thunder like, as I have done upon others when practicing iniquity, and as I did upon a certain individual

    346                              UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              

    when he made his glorious speech, and insulted this people from the highest to the lowest. I chastised him, and he ran off and reported as my sayings those which I did not say. It was told him, while he was on the Plains, that President Zachary Taylor was dead and damned, and it has gone through the States, from side to side, that I said so. It was first given out that the Mormons said so, and then that Brigham said so. Well, I backed it up, because I knew it was true."

    This muss, to call it by no more dignified term, was sufficiently embarrassing to the administration then in power. It is an old saying, that "A cat in a garret may be more troublesome than a lion in a desert." The idea of a Mormon war had nothing very glorious in it, and was not to be entertained without a stronger necessity than seemed to exist. A new set of officers were quietly appointed, to replace those who had been driven away. The Honorable L. Shaver as associate justice, and the author as secretary, reached the Territory in October, 1852. The chief justice, Honorable L. H. Head, * did not get there until May, 1853.

    Brigham had gained nothing by the flare-up except staving off, for a time the influence of the Federal judiciary within the bounds of his pontificate; which, all things considered, can not amount to much, in controversies involving questions of fact, because his seership and gift of prophecy give him a complete control over Mormon juries, in defiance of any instructions they may receive from the bench. As a drawback to this advantage, not a dollar of the public funds had been disbursed in the Territory in payment of its current

    * Since deceased.

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    expenses, Mr. Harris having been driven away in too much haste to allow him to enter on the discharge of his duties.

    His Mormon excellency now changed his tack. it was quite evident the President was not to be forced into the appointment of any more Saints, and they were sadly in want of funds. He accordingly received and continued to treat the new officers with friendly courtesy, and matters have since gone on harmoniously. The author left the Territory in the summer of 1853, in pursuance of previous arrangements, and in as good odor with the Saints as can reasonably be expected of a Gentile.

    In the mean time, the administration of the general government was changed by the election which placed General Pierce in the presidential chair; and almost concurrently with this event, the Mormons, falsifying their previous declarations, came out with the shame less avowal and justification of polygamy. The question has since been propounded by the public, in a tone which can not be disregarded, whether the disgraceful state of things existing in Utah is to be sustained by the patronage of the government -- whether Brigham Young, a polygamist as well as an ecclesiastical pontiff, can be permitted longer to hold the most important office in the Territory, and draw from the treasury of the nation the means of supporting his harem. On this point the President has manifested a disposition to make suitable changes as fast as practicable. He has reformed the bench; appointed a "Gentile" district attorney in the place of Blair, a man of twelve wives; and made all reasonable efforts to remove the Mormon

    348                              UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              

    prophet from the governorship. If he has not succeeded in the latter, it has been owing to circumstances beyond his control. Colonel Steptoe was sent to Utah in the fall of 1854, with a small command, charged with the commission of overawing, the Indians, and of capturing and bringing to justice the murderers of Captain Gunnison. In the ensuing winter, this capable officer, in pursuance, doubtless, of a previous understanding, was nominated as governor; but, unfortunately, the Senate, in confirming the nomination, required him to resign his military command. His commission has been sent to him, but he has felt compelled to declare its acceptance, clogged with such a condition. The effect of this is, that Brigham still remains in office; but it is understood to be the determination of the President to remove him, and it is probable the appointment will be conferred upon J. F. Kinney, the present chief justice.

    While these things were in progress, it has been amusing to witness the maneuvers of Brigham to retain his civil post. He has gone through with all the curious contortions of Mormon policy. He has bullied, flattered, coaxed, and wheedled, to convince the world in general, and the President in particular, that he was de facto and de jure the Governor of Utah, and ought so to remain. The case is pressing; the three thousand and odd dollars which he draws from the public treasury go a great ways to keep the numberless Mrs. Youngs in provender. When he found that Colonel Steptoe had been appointed, but would not accept, he exalted him to the skies as one of the most honorable and virtuous gentleman living, and declared his willingness

                                  UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              349

    to take off his hat and deliver up the seals of office to so wonderful a man. He then made a great feast in honor of the Gentile officers, and in the genial "flow of soul" incident to the occasion, obtained from them toasts and speeches complimentary to Utah and its chief magistrate. Their complaisance even went so far as to sign a paper, recommending his continuance in office.

    As a last resort, he has recently (February 18, 1855) put forth a remarkable document -- a sort of prophetic pronunciamento, concocted, doubtless, in one of those celestial councils which exist in the imagination of all good saints. Judging from the general scope of this production, the heavenly powers are much more amenable to reason than in the time of the prophet Smith.

    This document was reduced to writing, and read in the Tabernacle by Elder Bullock, the private secretary, and has made its appearance in the leading journals of the day. In the first place, it seeks to excite the waning sympathies of the country by going into a review of the past persecutions of the Latter-day Israel -- of the unjust suspicions entertained of their tampering with slaves and Indians -- of the hardships to which they were subjected under the requisition to furnish a battalion for the Mexican war, and of their great patriotism in yielding to the demand. It discourses feelingly of their devoted love of the Constitution of the United States, which is alleged to have been given by inspiration; and claims that their religion, with all its appurtenances, is covered by its protecting shield -- reminding one forcibly of the multitude of sins which find shelter under the broad mantle of charity.

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    In the next place, as a conclusion from these interesting promises, it is claimed that Utah belongs exclusively to the Saints:

    "We have surmounted the difficulties of a banishment from the abodes of civilization and this world's enlightenment, and established ourselves in these distant vales, where, until we came hither, there was nothing, either in soil, climate, or productions to attract the notice of even the adventurous and enterprising in a country which offered no inducements worthy of consideration to any people but us.

    "If the people of the United States do not like our religious institutions, they are not compelled to mix in our society, or associate with us or with our children. There is nothing here to tempt their cupidity, their avarice, or their lust. Then let them remain at home, or, if they wish to roam in quest of new locations, there are none less desirable than this for any other purpose than the one for which we have selected it -- not for its intrinsic value in a pecuniary point of view, but in order that we might enjoy our religion in peace, preserve our youth in virtue, and be freed from the insults, abuse, and persecution of our enemies."

    But the most remarkable feature of the manifesto is the claim that the mission of the Saints is to put down vice and exalt virtue. Upon this subject the prophet Brigham is peculiarly pointed and emphatic:

    "This, then, is our position toward the government of the United States, and toward the world, to put down iniquity and exalt virtue, to declare the word of God which he revealed unto us, and build up his kingdom upon the earth And know all men, governments,

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    nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that this is our calling, intention, and design.

    "Should not those officials who have been sent among us by the United States be an example in point of morality, virtue, and good behavior, and do honor to those laws which they came here to execute and administer? And shall they so far forget themselves as to spend their time in licentiousness, gambling, and seducing the innocent and unsuspecting, and in a variety of ways sew the seeds of sin and immorality with impunity, and no man dare utter his protest? I tell you nay. With me, with this people you will have war, if needs be, upon this principle. It is incumbent upon us to use our influence for the preservation of ourselves, our wives, our children, our brethren, our sisters, and all of our society, from the contaminating influence of vice, sin, immorality, and iniquity, let it emanate from where it will. If it exists in high places, so much the more need of rebuking it, for from thence it will do the most harm."

    In passing, it may be well to remind the uninitiated reader that the moral code has undergone a revision at Salt Lake; that a man with one wife, who goes abroad in search of forbidden pleasures, is vicious; but when he gathers all his harlots under his own roof, goes through with a ceremony of marriage, and makes his wife the chief sultana of the establishment, he becomes purity itself. It is difficult to perceive how much difference there can be between the man who keeps himself soaked with liquor from a cask in his cellar and the one who produces the same result by tippling at all the grog-shops within convenient distance

    352                              UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              

    The whole secret, however, lies in making the one lawful and the other unlawful by legislation, or adopting it as a part of one's religious creed. The Anabaptists of Munstcr, in the time of the Emperor Charles V., were quite as virtuous upon paper, and made quite as much noise about the corruptions of the world around them.

    The written discourse was altogether too moderate in substance and phraseology to suit the temper or the taste of Brigham, and, as might have been anticipated, after Brother Bullock got through, he arose and poured forth an extemporaneous and voluminous postscript, in which he relieved his pent-up feelings, and, to use a common phrase, "pitched into" all and sundry in his happiest vein. He is careful, however, to preface the precious tirade with a qualification:

    "In my conversation, I shall talk and act as I please. Still, I am always aware, when speaking in public, that there are those present who are disposed to find fault with this people, and to try to raise a prejudice against them; and they will pick up isolated words and sentences, and put them together to suit themselves, and send forth a garbled version to prejudice the world against us. Such a course I never care any thing about; for I have frequently said, spoken words are but wind, and when they are spoken are gone; consequently, I take liberties in speaking which I do not allow when I commit my sentiments to writing."

    In this appendix he comes out with even greater emphasis in favor of upholding virtue and suppressing vice. It is really refreshing to see what a holy horror of sin in all its forms, and especially in the form of

                                  UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              353

    licentiousness, this man seems to entertain. He is more virtuous than an anchorite -- more vociferous on the subject than the clamorous "Stop thief!" under which the fugitive offender seeks to escape pursuit.

    "We have some of the most corrupt, damnable, mean curses here that ever disgraced the earth; some who even wish to carry the holy sanctuary in one hand, and a jug full of whisky in the other, and follow a w---e, and have a Saint trail behind them to hold up their garments to prevent their drabbling.

    "Now I will tell you one thing that I am opposed to, and that this people are opposed to: it is to a man's coming here as an officer, with a bit of sheep's skin in his pocket having some great man's name to it, and beginning to set up his rules of discipline for the people, and saying, 'I am a gentleman; I am a highminded gentleman: can you tell me where I can find a woman to sleep with me to-night?' and setting up gambling-shops, and drinking, and carousing, and stirring up strife, and hatching up lawsuits; hunting out disaffected spirits, and then lecturing the people on immorality, wishing them to become like other communities, and saying to Mrs. Such-a-one, or Miss Such-a-one, 'Won't you ride with me? Won't you take a sleigh-ride to-night with me? I am a high-minded gentleman.' A prudent father or husband says, 'Come home here; this is your place; you have no business with strangers.' What is the result of this? Why, from most of the high-minded gentlemen you can hear, 'God d--n the Mormons! they are opposed to the Federal government because they will not let us sleep with their wives and daughters!' I am opposed

    354                              UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              

    to such men, and am after them with the barbed arrows of the Almighty. To what extent? Let them intrude upon the chastity of my family, and, so help me God! I will use them up." (all the congregation said "Amen.") "Such characters may cry 'Aliens! aliens! the Mormons are all hostile to the government; and they may cry it until they are in hell."

    This fiery indignation and wrath is as natural as, and not very dissimilar to, that of the rooster in the barn-yard, when his monopoly is threatened by a rival chanticleer. Brigham's spurs are no doubt especially sharpened for such occasions.

    Those two documents, standing in the relationship to each other of text and commentary, are, of course, to be regarded as one and the same thing; and the main point involved, it must be remembered, is whether the prophet is to hold on to the governorship in spite of the powers that hold rule in Washington. This important point he talks at and about, but finally comes to in the following announcement:

    "The newspapers are teeming with statements that I said 'President Pierce and all hell could not remove me from office.' I will tell you what I did say, and what I now say: the Lord reigns and rules in the armies of the heavens, and does his pleasure among the inhabitants of the earth. He sets up a kingdom here, and pulls down another there, at his pleasure. He walks in the midst of the people, and they know it not. He makes kings, presidents, and governors at his pleasure. Hence I conclude that I shall be Governor of Utah Territory just as long as He wants me to be; and for that time, neither the President of the United

                                  UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              355

    States nor any other power can prevent it. Then, brethren and sisters, be not worried about my being dismissed from office; for when the President appoints another man to be Governor of Utah Territory, you may acknowledge that the Lord has done it, for we should acknowledge his hand in all things."

    We have therefore the comfortable assurance that, when Judge Kinney presents his parchment with the great seal and the sign manual of the President, Brigham will consider it the act of the Lord and yield. But he regards this as a master-stroke of policy. He thinks an expression of his willingness to give place to another will ward off the blow altogether.

    Apprehensions have often been expressed that the Saints will give serious trouble to the country; that they are a hardy, warlike population, in the possession of the fastnesses of the mountains; and that, in fine, we are to have a Mormon war, quite as expensive and troublesome as that of the Indians in Florida. There is some reason to believe that they have entertained the idea of placing themselves in a situation to resist the government; at least there are facts which it is difficult to explain upon any other hypothesis.

    In the summer of 1853 they had trouble with Wachor, the chief of the Utes, which led to some scenes of violence, and nearly ripened into a regular war; and under the pretext of protecting themselves from being surprised by the Indians, they commenced building a wall around Great Salt Lake City. This wall has been frequently spoken of as in a state of rapid progress, in a way which manifested the intention to carry it on to a completion. Such a work is entirely unnecessary

    356                              UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              

    for the purpose which has been expressed. The city can not now contain a population of less than ten thousand. It has within itself abundant means of resistance against all the half-naked savages that can be brought against it; spreads over a great surface; and the expenses of placing it in a condition to sustain a siege would seem to be sufficient to drive all the Indians from the Territory. On the other hand, the idea of resisting regular forces by such a rampart is sufficiently preposterous. The high grounds on the north side of the city would enable an attacking force to pour in a plunging fire, over a wall higher than the Saints will be able to erect in the next half century, and thus easily reduce the place to subjection.

    Whatever may have been the thoughts of resistance vaguely entertained by the Saints, it is undoubtedly the present policy of Brigham Young to mollify the disposition of the government toward them. He has not the remotest idea of open rebellion to the federal authorities. He is fully sensible of the power of the United States. He has, too, a wholesome recollection of former defeats sustained in Missouri and Illinois, and knows full well that a crusade against them would be as popular as that preached by Peter the Hermit; that thousands would rush to the fray as to a banquet, and rejoice in the opportunity of taking possession of the cultivated farms of the valleys of Utah. This accounts for the subdued tone in which the late manifesto is written, forming a strong contrast to the bold denunciations of the prophet Smith. The oral appendix, to be sure, is a strange mixture of complaint, coaxing, abuse, and defiance, but he is careful to }have

                                  UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              357

    it understood that this is mere sound and fury -- a mere letting off; as it were, the extra steam, as Newman Noggs was in the habit of beating the imaginary form of Ralph Nickleby just to relieve his feelings.

    The true course of the Mormons unquestionably is to promote a friendly intercourse with the Gentiles, and, by encouraging emigration through the Territory to California and Oregon, furnish themselves with a market for their surplus produce. This, if pursued with prudent forecast, would go far to make the public less observant of the worst features of their imposture. But they never had any thing like a settled and sagacious policy; it has ever been, and probably ever will be, narrow, purblind, contradictory, and mousing, acting only on the impulses of vulgar appetites and vengeful hatred. They hate the government and people of the United States because their own system is utterly at war with free institutions, and they are continually striving to hedge in their own seclusion with all the means in their power. They are willing enough to sell their produce to wayfarers at high prices, but they are at the same time fearful of having the Territory opened up for settlement by strangers to their faith.

    This complication of hatred and fear induces them not only to resort to the various annoyances and impositions, of which abundant complaint has been made, but to persevere in exciting the hostility of the savages. They have always endeavored to impress the natives with the idea that there was a great difference between Mormons and Americans -- that the former

    358                              UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              

    were their 'friends' and the latter their enemies. The author, while at Salt Lake, was more than once asked by the Indians if he were a Mormon, saying, "Mormon good, American bad." There is a well-grounded belief that Captain Gunnison and his party owe their deaths to their persevering efforts in this direction. They had no good-will to him or to the objects of his expedition, and his murder would gratify their own vengeance, and at the same time stimulate the thirst for blood on the part of the savages.

    This policy, however, is well calculated to defeat its own object, inasmuch as the very difficulties which they excite will compel the government to establish military posts and concentrate troops in the interior of the continent, within convenient reach of any disaffection among themselves.

    But, though there need be no serious apprehensions of civil war, yet there are some troublesome points of antagonism which force themselves upon our attention. Nothing can more forcibly exhibit the theocratic nature of the Mormon government than the written and spoken addresses which we have been considering. Brigham Young, can, and undoubtedly will, be superseded as the civil governor of the Territory, but he will nevertheless remain the ruler of the Mormon people; and, as they constitute the mass of the inhabitants, will exercise more real power than he who is regularly commissioned. He will, in effect, control every thing that is to be effected through the agency of the members of the Church. He will control the judiciary, provided the judges are Mormons; and if not he will control all cases that belong to a jury. He will walk

                                  UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              359

    into the post-office, and read and suppress letters at his pleasure while the postmaster is a Mormon. Every Latter-day Saint is sworn to obey blindly the directions of " Council," and the reigning prophet is the head and mouthpiece of that formidable tribunal.

    This has been fully illustrated in the late trial of the Indians engaged in the massacre of Captain Gunnison. It will be recollected that this officer and a small surveying party under his command were murdered by a band of Utes, in the neighborhood of Little Salt Lake, in October, 1853. For the purpose, among other things, of bringing these offenders to justice, Colonel Steptoe, of the United States Army, with a sufficient force under his command, crossed the plains in 1854, and spent the ensuing winter at Great Salt Lake. Acting with great prudence and discretion, he succeeded in obtaining an interview with the chief of the tribe, and inducing him to deliver up six Indians alleged to have been engaged in the murder. Three of these were discharged, and the other three indicted and brought to trial at Nephi, in Juab county, before Chief Justice Kinney, in March, 1855. The case was clearly made out; no rebutting evidence was offered; the counsel for the prisoners appears to have rested the defense mainly on the ground that they were ignorant savages. The jury were properly instructed by the court, but, to the surprise of the "Gentiles," brought in a verdict of manslaughter in the third degree. They were sentenced to three years' imprisonment in the penitentiary, the extent of the law, but were shortly afterward permitted to escape.

    The United States District Attorney, in his official

    360                              UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              

    report of the trial, pretty broadly hints at an outside influence; and letter-writers plainly allege that the result was owing to the interference of Brigham Young. One of them states as follows:

    "It has been openly stated, since the trial, by old and well-informed Mormons, that 'the oath of supremacy to Brigham Young, their prophet, is paramount to every other,' and that 'the jury acted by Brigham's counsel, and they were right in so doing, for Brigham Young is the 'mouth-piece of God.' We are gravely told that Brigham had a revelation the evening before the court left Salt Lake City for Nephi City, where it was to sit, and that the next morning, in accordance with his instructions from his elder brother, Jesus Christ, Brigham dispatched a special messenger with instructions to the jury."

    It is not at all likely that the chief would so readily have delivered up the offenders except upon the assurance from the "Lord s prophet" that they would be permitted to escape.

    What may be the present Mormon population of Utah is a point upon which we can not pretend to be strictly accurate. Their missionaries are in the habit of rounding it off at 50,000; but they are accustomed to put forth exaggerated statements of their numbers and prosperity to aid in the business of proselyting. They claimed 35,000 in 1852, which proved to be a large per centage above the truth. In October, 1853, this population, according to a statement made at their semi-annual conference, did not exceed 18,500. The immigration of that year was about 7000. How many of these had already arrived when their census was

                                  UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              361

    taken, and were included in the enumeration, we have no means of knowing; it would be fair however, to assume that it amounted to one half, which would give 22,000 as the population of 1853.

    In 1854 the immigration was about 3500, which would make their numbers in the fall of that year 25,500.

    It may perhaps, be suggested that there must have been a large natural increase. That there was some such increase is no doubt true; but it must have been less than in other communities of the same magnitude, inasmuch as the effect of polygamy has been to retard the ordinary progress of population. For instance, Brigham Young has fifty wives, Heber C. Kimball thirty, Parley P. Pratt eight, Seth Blair twelve, and Daniel H. Wells seven. Without enumerating farther, here are five men to one hundred and seven women; and supposing the sexes to be equal, one hundred and two men are without wives, to accommodate these five; and, consequently, there are one hundred and two families less on the same account. It has already been shown that the children of polygamous connections receive less care and are subject to greater mortality than those born in lawful wedlock.

    The Mormon community too, has always been subject to a wasting process large numbers making their way to California and Oregon; and last year it is known that at least one party of nearly one hundred men and women made their escape from the Valley, and returned over the Plains to the States. It is fair, therefore, to assume that the waste has at least been sufficient to balance the natural increase.

    362                              UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              

    The immigration of this year (1855) will not vary much from that of last. The Mormon agent in Liverpool reports 3600 shipped from that port, of whom 1500, as we learn by a published letter of Elder Richards, president of the Church in Europe, have been sent to New Orleans; the remainder have landed or are about to land, in New York and Philadelphia. The ships "S. Curling" and "William Stetson" have already landed in New York 871 passengers, and the "Juventer" 572 in Philadelphia. Of these, some are compelled to remain in the States the present season for want of funds. We have reliable intelligence derived from the Mormon agency at St. Louis, that the actual emigration over the Plains this season is intended to be about 3000, which will swell the population in the fall of the present year to 28,500, a much smaller figure than is generally imagined.

    When a ship comes into port with four or five hundred new-made Saints, on their way to the land of Promise, the fact finds its way into the public journals and attracts universal attention. They are kept together by the attending elders with peculiar ceremonies, and their progress through the country, by cars and steamboats, is in like manner brought to public notice. They finally rendezvous at Kanesville, on the Missouri. for the journey over the Plains, and are again the subject of newspaper paragraphs, creating the impression that almost a moiety of mankind are making their way to Salt Lake. In this way the Mormon immigration, like a small sum of money, which passing from hand to hand, pays a great many debts, is made to assume in the public mind a magnitude far beyond its true dimensions.

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    One journal, upon this kind of data, estimates it for the year at 30,000, when, in all human probability, the entire population of the Territory will fall below that number at the commencement of 1856.

    Great Britain and Denmark are the only countries at present in which the Saints are engaged in active missionary efforts. Our own country seems to be partially abandoned in this respect. The great mass of recruits are from England, and those landing at the several ports this year are described as belonging to the poorer classes, consisting of colliers, mechanics, and laborers -- lamentably ignorant, but generally industrious. But, though the United States are no longer the field for extensive missionary efforts, yet they have a great work to perform here in reconciling the public to polygamy, and in producing the conviction that there is nothing in their system incompatible with the provisions of the Constitution. Success in this labor of love is quite necessary before they can hope to be admitted into the Union as a state.

    In the fall of 1852, Orson Pratt, "the chiefest" of Latter-day Apostles, left Salt Lake, commissioned to proclaim and advocate polygamy by means of the press and otherwise. It was then quite extensively believed at the Mormon capital that the common mind in the United States would easily receive the new doctrine, and that its promulgation would be the means of a rapid increase. This particular champion, too, was supposed to possess such rare and commanding powers of producing conviction, that few would be able to resist him. He is the great Mormon essayist -- the writer of tracts -- the Latter-day polemic. He has little versatility,

    364                              UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              

    but is esteemed of healthy metal, and seldom skirmishes like the great Turkish gun, which could be loaded and fired but three times in one, day, he is supposed to smash all before him when he does go off. His mind is a perfect bumble-bee's nest, confusing every thing about which it reasons, and he is all the more admired because he is the least understood. He is the one who overthrew the theory of gravitation, and substituted the intelligence of matter in its place. If it be necessary to confuse any one on a given subject, Orson Pratt is the man to do it. The luckless mind yielding to the meshes of his logic would be in a fog so profound that extrication might be regarded as a hopeless task.

    This great apostle proceeded to Washington, and after advising with Doctor Bernhisel, the Territorial delegate in Congress, and, withal, the husband of three wives, who are not permitted to leave "Zion in the tops of the mountains," started a newspaper entitled "The Seer," which made its appearance every month, and zealously advocated the divine institution. The policy of establishing this paper at the capital was based partly on the assumption that the mass of the members of Congress were so utterly licentious that they would give the thing a hearty support; at least such was the reason given by some good Saints at Salt Lake.

    This publication threw no new light upon the subject. It was, in fact, a mere rehash of the mingled licentiousness, blasphemy, and nonsense which embellished "The Deseret News Extra" of August 12,1852. None of the members were found gross enough to

                                  UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              365

    swallow so vulgar a bait, and the odorous concern ceased for want of patronage after the lapse of about twelve months, without having made a single convert. In fine, the business of proselyting in the United States may be considered substantially at an end. Occasionally a man of desperate fortunes and reckless morality thinks to mend the one and give loose reins to the other by becoming a Latter-day Saint, but few, if any, are baptized into the faith from any conviction of the truth of the imposture.

    Since the failure of "The Seer," they have established a paper in New York, and are about to start one in Cincinnati, and another in San Francisco. The one in New York, called "The Mormon," is under the management of Elder John Taylor, who, it will be recollected (p. 239), as a missionary, promptly denied the existence of polygamy in 1850, though it had then been practiced for years, and he was one of its filthy participants. Without the deep profundity of Orson Pratt, he has more versatility in ad captandum efforts; and great hopes are entertained of his being able to sugar over the system to a degree acceptable to the popular taste.

    All these choice lights, so far as they have been permitted to shine, arc elucidating the mysterious virtues of plurality in a form more offensive and disgusting, if possible, than when the doctrine was first openly proclaimed. 'The system has produced an inconceivable degree of debasement in the minds of' those who have yielded to its seductions. Woman, as might have been expected, has been reduced to a low and degraded position She is regarded as serviceable in

    366                              UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              

    the economy of nature only in bearing and rearing children. It is strongly insisted that, inasmuch as the powers of production on the part of the male remain during the period intervening between the birth of one child and that of another, he should be provided with other wives, in order that he may be kept in activity. They claim that it is no part of his business to aid in bringing up children; that belongs to the mother: in fine, that his agency in the matter begins and ends like the animals kept for the convenience of farmers engaged in raising stock.

    In the mean time, the system, so far as it prevails, is continuing to manifest its disorganizing effects upon social order. That there is no such thing as female honor inside of a Mormon harem is evident from the savage and foul-mouthed denunciations of Brigham, already cited, against those who are disposed to invade its precincts. The inmates become thoroughly degraded and wretched. A letter-writer of February 25th, 1855, says:

    "I have detailed to you in previous letters the debased condition of the women of Utah. The Mormons, after their passions (or, as they call it, their holy desires to people the earth) are gratified, seldom pretend to support their numerous wives. Brigham Young declared last conference that he did not know how many wives he had. 'Tell the Gentiles,' said he, 'I do not know half of them when I see them.' The majority of these poor women are compelled to work for their daily bread, and many are in such a destitute condition that they are forced to seek the charity of strangers. It is an actual fact, that one of the wives of the

                                  UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              367

    chief of the apostles gains her livelihood by washing for the boarders of a public house in town. Indeed, it is nothing uncommon for these lords of creation to send their wives out in the canyons for wood; and any day you can see women chopping logs and driving cattle to the mountains."

    Aside from the advocacy of polygamy, these presses are laboring hard to prove that their religion, and all their practices under it, is protected by that clause in the Constitution which declares that 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." They allege that the Constitution was given by inspiration, but it is as they construe and understand it, and so construed and understood, it is made to shield the abominations of ancient Jewry or heathendom. Such a construction amounts to a general license to do any thing and every thing, provided it be sanctioned by the creed of the perpetrator. Under this they claim the liberty to strike down the Christian institution of marriage, restore concubinage as it existed among the Jews, and, by granting an unlimited facility for divorce, to in effect legalize almost universal prostitution. Such a latitude of construction would protect any enormity which might be introduced by the fanatic or the impostor -- would shield alike the Thug and the inquisitor -- entirely sap the foundations of social order, and eventually produce a state of violence, disorder, and riot, similar to that of the first French Revolution.

    The question is often put why the government does not suppress the gross violations of common morality and decency existing in Utah; but it would be well

    368                              UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              

    for the querist to point out the mode in which it is to be done. Crimes in this country must be punished in the usual course of the common law: first, the offender is to be indicted by a grand jury, and then tried by a traverse jury. No other mode is consistent with our free institutions. The government has no power to interfere with, or interrupt these salutary methods of dispensing justice. Just so long, therefore, as the juries are Mormon, will the prophet be able to control their action, and postpone the punishment due to polygamy.

    What, then, can be done to wipe out the unsightly blot upon the map of the country?. Very much. The entire patronage of the government can be taken from the Saints, and that will take from them not only the moral influence of office, but much of the means of supporting their expensive harems.

    A strong military post can be established in the vicinity of Salt Lake, as a convenient point to keep the Indians in check, and this would afford protection and encouragement to those who become disgusted with Mormonism, and save them from the grinding persecution with which they are usually visited. A late letter-writer mentions the following case:

    "It was but yesterday that a widow, with her daughters, called upon me, and, after asking me to lock the door of my room for fear she should be surprised in the house of a Gentile, unfolded her story of bitter wrongs and sufferings. The bishop of her ward had demanded her whole family, including herself, in marriage. She had given up all she had for tithes and other taxes. and was now in the dilemma of either

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    starving, or of being compelled to share an incestuous bed with the daughters of her own body. With tears in her eyes, she prayed me to afford her the means of going to California in the spring. These cases occur every day -- indeed, the spirit of dissatisfaction is universal. I have never conversed with a solitary woman who was not discontented with her situation and prospects."

    Had such a post existed there in the winter of 1852-3, the Gladdenites, who are opposed to polygamy, instead of being crushed by the tyranny of the Church, would have become of sufficient importance to serve as a counterpoise against its power.

    Lastly, the Mormon power may be frittered away, or neutralized, by dividing the Territory into parcels, and annexing them to New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oregon. This would leave them in a minority in each of these territories; place the machinery of government beyond their control; and prevent them from making civil functions the instruments of ecclesiastical oppression.

    We assume that the admission of Utah into the Union as a state, with her present government, is entirely out of the question. Such admission would be quite as consistent with our institutions as to open the door for the entrance of Thibet with her Grand Lama, or Rome with her Pope.


    370                              UTAH  AND  THE  MORMONS.                              


    (pages 370-377 under construction)

    (return to part 1)

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