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The Story of the Mormons: From the Date of their Origin to the Year 1901 by William Alexander Linn

Part 11 out of 15

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Do not court persecution. We have known Gladden Bishop for more
than twenty years, and know him to be a poor, dirty curse . . . .
I say again, you Gladdenites, do not court persecution, or you
will get more than you want, and it will come quicker than you
want it. I say to you Bishops, do not allow them to preach in
your wards." (After telling of a dream he had had, in which he
saw two men creep into the bed where one of his wives was lying,
whereupon he took a large bowie knife and cut one of their
throats from ear to ear, saying, "Go to hell across lots," he
continued:) "I say, rather than that apostates should flourish
here I will unsheath my bowie knife and conquer or die." (Great
commotion in the congregation, and a simultaneous burst of
feeling, assenting to the declaration.) "Now, you nasty
apostates, clear out, or judgment will be put to the line and
righteousness to the plummet." (Voices generally, "Go it," "go
it.") "If you say it is all right, raise your hand." (All hands
up.) "Let us call upon the Lord to assist us in this and every
good work." *

*Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, p. 82.

This was the practical end of Gladdenism.

Young's dictatorship was quite as broad and determined in things
temporal as in things spiritual. He made no concealment of the
fact that he was a moneygetter, only insisting on his readiness
to contribute to the support of church enterprises. The canons
through the mountains which shut in the valley were the source of
wood supply for the city, and their control was very valuable.
Young brought this matter before the Conference of October 9,
1852, speaking on it at length, and finally putting his own view
in the form of a resolution that the canons be placed in the
hands of individuals, who should make good roads through them,
and obtain their pay by taking toll at the entrance. After
getting the usual unanimous vote on his proposition, he said:
"Let the Judges of the County of Great Salt Lake take due notice
and govern themselves accordingly . . . . This is my order for
the judges to take due notice of. It does not come from the
Governor, but from the President of the church. You will not see
any proclamation in the paper to this effect, but it is a mere
declaration of the President of the Conference."* The
"declaration," of course, had all the effect of a law, and Young
got one of the best canons.

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, pp. 217, 218.

Very early in his rule Young defined his views about the property
rights of the Saints. "A man," he declared in the Tabernacle on
June 5, 1853, "has no right with property which, according to the
laws of the land, legally belongs to him, if he does not want to
use it . . . . When we first came into the valley, the question
was asked me if men would ever be allowed to come into this
church, and remain in it, and hoard up their property. I say,
no." *

* Ibid., Vol. I, pp. 252-253

Another view of property rights was thus set forth in his
discourse of December 5, 1853:--

"If an Elder has borrowed [a hundred or a thousand dollars from
you], and you find he is going to apostatize, then you may
tighten the screws on him. But if he is willing to preach the
Gospel without purse or scrip, it is none of your business what
he does with the money he has borrowed from you." *

* Ibid, Vol. I, p. 340.

Addressing the people in the trying business year of 1856, when
his own creditors were pushing him hard, Young said:

"I wish to give you one text to preach upon, 'From this time
henceforth do not fret thy gizzard.' I will pay you when I can
and not before. Now I hope you will apostatize if you would
rather do it."*

* Ibid., Vol. III, p. 4.

Kimball, in giving Young's order to some seventy men, who had
displeased him, to leave the territory, used these words: "When a
man is appointed to take a mission, unless he has a just and
honorable reason for not going, if he does not go he will be
severed from the church. Why? Because you said you were willing
to be passive, and, if you are not passive, that lump of clay
must be cut off from the church and laid aside, and a lump put on
that will be passive." *

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 242.

With this testimony of men inside the church may be placed that
of Captain Howard Stansbury, of the United Stated Topographical
Engineers, who arrived in the valley in August, 1849, under
instructions from the government to make a survey of the lakes of
that region. The Mormons thought that it was the intention of the
government to divide the land into townships and sections, and to
ignore their claim to title by occupation. In his official
report, after mentioning his haste to disabuse Young's mind on
this point, Captain Stansbury says, "I was induced to pursue this
conciliatory course, not only in justice to the government, but
also because I knew, from the peculiar organization of this
singular community, that, unless the 'President' was fully
satisfied that no evil was intended to his people, it would be
useless for me to attempt to carry out my instructions." The
choice between abject conciliation or open conflict was that
which Brigham Young extended to nearly every federal officer who
entered Utah during his reign.

The Mormons of Utah started in to assert their independence of
the government of the United States in every way. The rejection
of the constitution of Deseret by Congress did not hinder the
elected legislature from meeting and passing laws. The ninth
chapter of the "ordinances," as they were called, passed by this
legislature (on January 19, 1851) was a charter for Great Salt
Lake City. This charter provided for the election of a mayor,
four aldermen, nine councillors, and three judges, the first
judges to be chosen viva voce, and their successors by the City
Council. The appointment of eleven subordinate officers was
placed in the Council's hands. The mayor and aldermen were to be
the justices of the peace, with a right of appeal to the
municipal court, consisting of the same persons sitting together,
and from that to the probate court. The first mayor, aldermen,
and councillors were appointed by the governor of the State of
Deseret. Similar charters were provided for Ogden, Provo City,
and other settlements.

As soon as Salt Lake City was laid off into wards, Young had a
Bishop placed over each of these, and, always under his
direction, these Bishops practically controlled local affairs to
the date of the city charter. Each Bishop came to be a magistrate
of his ward,* and under them in all the settlements all public
work was carried on and all revenue collected. The High Council
of ten is defined by Tullidge as "a quorum of judges, in equity
for the people, at the head of which is the President of the

* Brigham Young testified in the Tabernacle as to the kind of
justice that was meted out in the Bishops' courts. In his sermon
of March 6, 1856, he said: "There are men here by the score who
do not know their right hands from their left, so far as the
principles of justice are concerned. Does our High Council? No,
for they will let men throw dirt in their eyes until you cannot
find the one hundred millionth part of an ounce of common sense
in them. You may go to the Bishops' courts, and what are they? A
set of old grannies. They cannot judge a case pending between two
old women, to say nothing of a case between man and man:' Journal
of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 225.

These men did not hesitate to attempt a currency of their own. On
the arrival of the Mormons in the valley, they first made their
exchanges through barter. Paper currency was issued in 1849 and
some years later. When gold dust from California appeared in
1849, some of it was coined in Salt Lake City by means of
homemade dies and crucibles. The denominations were $2.50, $5,
$10, and $20. Some of these coins, made without alloy, were
stamped with a bee-hive and eagle on one side, and on the reverse
with the motto, "Holiness to the Lord" in the so-called Deseret
alphabet. This alphabet was invented after their arrival in Salt
Lake Valley, to assist in separating the Mormons from the rest of
the nation, its preparation having been intrusted to a committee
of the board of regents in 1853. It contained thirty-two
characters. A primer and two books of the Mormon Bible were
printed in the new characters, the legislature in 1855 having
voted $2500 to meet the expense; but the alphabet was never
practically used, and no attempt is any longer made to remember
it. Early in 1849 the High Council voted that the Kirtland
bank-bills (of which a supply must have remained unissued) be put
out on a par with gold, and in this they saw a fulfilment of the
prophet's declaration that these notes would some day be as good
as gold.

Another early ordinance passed by the Deseret legislature
incorporated "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,"
authorizing the appointment of a trustee in trust to hold and
manage all the property of the church, which should be free from
tax, and giving the church complete authority to make its own
regulations, "provided, however, that each and every act or
practice so established, or adopted for law or custom, shall
relate to solemnities, sacraments, ceremonies, consecrations,
endowments, tithing, marriages, fellowship, or the religious
duties of man to his Maker, inasmuch as the doctrines,
principles, practices, or performances support virtue and
increase morality, and are not inconsistent with or repugnant to
the constitution of the United States or of this State, and are
founded on the revelations of the Lord." Thus early was the
ground taken that the practice of polygamy was a constitutional
right. Brigham Young was chosen as the trustee.

The second ordinance passed by this legislature incorporated the
University of the State of Deseret, at Salt Lake City, to be
governed by a chancellor and twelve regents.

The earliest non-Mormons to experience the effect of that
absolute Mormon rule, the consequences of which the Missourians
had feared, were the emigrants who passed through Salt Lake
Valley on their way to California after the discovery of gold, or
on their way to Oregon. The complaints of the Californians were
set forth in a little book, written by one of them, Nelson
Slater, and printed in Colona, California, in 1851, under the
title, "Fruits of Mormonism." The general complaints were set
forth briefly in a petition to Congress containing nearly two
hundred and fifty signatures, dated Colona, June 1, 1851, which
asked that the territorial government be abrogated, and a
military government be established in its place. This petition
charged that many emigrants had been murdered by the Mormons when
there was a suspicion that they had taken part in the earlier
persecutions; that when any members of the Mormon community,
becoming dissatisfied, tried to leave, they were pursued and
killed; that the Mormons levied a tax of two per cent on the
property of emigrants who were compelled to pass a winter among
them; that it was nearly impossible for emigrants to obtain
justice in the Mormon courts; that the Mormons, high and low,
openly expressed treasonable sentiments against the United States
government; and that letters of emigrants mailed at Salt Lake
City were opened, and in many instances destroyed.

Mr. Slater's book furnishes the specifications of these general

CHAPTER VII. The "Reformation"

Young soon had occasion to make practical use of the dictatorial
power that he had assumed. The character which those members of
the flock who had migrated from Missouri and Illinois had
established among their neighbors in those states was not changed
simply by their removal to a wilderness all by themselves. They
had no longer the old excuse that their misdeeds were reprisals
on persecuting enemies, but this did not save them from the
temptation to exercise their natural propensities. Again we shall
take only the highest Mormon testimony on this subject.

One of the first sins for which Young openly reproved his
congregation was profane swearing. He brought this matter
pointedly to their attention in an address to the Conference of
October 9, 1852, when he said: "You Elders of Israel will go into
the canons, and curse and swear--damn and curse your oxen, and
swear by Him who created you. I am telling the truth. Yes, you
rip and curse and swear as bad as any pirates ever did."*

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, p. 211.

Possibly the church authorities could have overlooked the
swearing, but a matter which gave them more distress was the
insecurity of property. This became so great an annoyance that
Young spoke out plainly on the subject, and he did not attempt to
place the responsibility outside of his own people. A few
citations will illustrate this.

In an address in the Tabernacle on June 5, 1853, noticing
complaints about the stealing and rebranding of cattle, he said:
"I will propose a plan to stop the stealing of cattle in coming
time, and it is this--let those who have cattle on hand join in a
company, and fence in about fifty thousand acres of land, and so
keep on fencing until all the vacant land is substantially
enclosed. Some persons will perhaps say, 'I do not know how good
or how high a fence it will be necessary to build to keep thieves
out.' I do not know either, except you build one that will keep
out the devil."* On another occasion, with a personal grievance
to air, he said in the Tabernacle: "I have gone to work and made
roads to get wood, and have not been able to get it. I have cut
it down and piled it up, and still have not got it. I wonder if
anybody else can say so. Have any of you piled up your wood, and,
when you have gone back, could not find it? Some stories could be
told of this kind that would make professional thieves

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, p. 252.

** Ibid., Vol. I, p. 213.

Young made no concealment of the fact that men high in the
councils of the church were among the peculators. In his
discourse of June 15, 1856, he said: "I have proof ready to show
that Bishops have taken in thousands of pounds in weight of
tithing which they have never reported to the General Tithing
Office. We have documents to show that Bishops have taken in
hundreds of bushels of wheat, and only a small portion of it has
come into the General Tithing Office. They stole it to let their
friends speculate upon."*

* Ibid., Vol. III, p. 342.

The new-comers from Europe also received his attention. Referring
to unkept promises of speedy repayment by assisted immigrants of
advances made to them, Young said, in 1855: "And what will they
do when they get here? Steal our wagons, and go off with them to
Canada, and try to steal the bake-kettles, fryingpans, tents, and
wagon-covers; and will borrow the oxen and run away with them, if
you do not watch them closely. Do they all do this? No, but many
of them will try to do it."* And again, a month later: "What
previous characters some of you had in Wales, in England, in
Scotland, and perhaps in Ireland. Do not be scared if it is
proven against some one in the Bishop's court that you did steal
the poles from your neighbor's garden fence. If it is proven that
you have been to some person's wood pile and stolen wood, don't
be frightened, for if you will steal it must be made manifest."
** J. M. Grant was quite as plain spoken. In an address in the
bowery in Salt Lake City in September, 1856, he declared that
"you can scarcely find a place in this city that is not full of
filth and abominations."***

* Ibid., Vol. III, p. 3.

** Ibid., Vol. III, p. 49.

*** Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 51.

Young's denunciations were not quietly accepted, but protests and
threats were alike wasted upon him. Referring to complaints of
some of the flock that his denunciation was more than they could
bear, he replied, "But you have got to bear it, and, if you will
not, make up your minds to go to hell at once and have done with
it." * On another occasion he said, "You need, figuratively, to
have it rain pitchforks, tines downward, from this pulpit, Sunday
after Sunday." On another occasion, alluding to letters he had
received, warning him against attacking men's characters, he
said, "When such epistles come to me, I feel like saying, I ask
no advice of you nor of all your clan this side of hell."**

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 49.

** Ibid, p. 50.

When mere denunciation did not reform his followers, Young became
still plainer in his language, and began to explain to them the
latitude which the church proposed to take in applying
punishment. In a remarkable sermon on October 6, 1855, on the
"stealing, lying, deceiving, wickedness, and covetousness" of the
elders in Israel, he spoke as follows:--

"Live on here, then, you poor miserable curses, until the time of
retribution, when your heads will have to be severed from your
bodies. Just let the Lord Almighty say, Lay judgment to the line
and righteousness to the plummet,* and the time of thieves is
short in this community. What do you suppose they would say in
old Massachusetts should they hear that the Latter-day Saints had
received a revelation or commandment to 'lay judgment to the line
and righteousness to the plummet'? What would they say in old
Connecticut? They would raise a universal howl of, 'How wicked
the Mormons are. They are killing the evil doers who are among
them. Why, I hear that they kill the wicked away up yonder in
Utah.' . . . What do I care for the wrath of man? No more than I
do for the chickens that run in my door yard. I am here to teach
the ways of the Lord, and lead men to life everlasting; but if
they have not a mind to go there, I wish them to keep out of my

* These words, from Isaiah xxviii. 17, are constantly used by
Young to denote the extreme punishment which the church might
inflict on any offender.

** Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 50.

From this time Young and his closest associates seemed to make
no concealment of their intention to take the lives of any
persons whom they considered offenders. One or two more citations
from his discourses may be made to sustain this statement. On
February 24, 1856, he declared, "I am not afraid of all hell, nor
of all the world, in laying judgment to the line when the Lord
says so."* In the following month he told his congregation: "The
time is coming when justice will be laid to the line and
righteousness to the plummet; when we shall take the old
broadsword and ask, Are you for God? And if you are not heartily
on the Lord's side, you will be hewn down."** Heber C. Kimball
was equally plain spoken. A year earlier he had said in the
Tabernacle: "If a man rebels, I will tell him of it, and if he
resents a timely warning, HE IS UNWISE . . . . I have never yet
shed man's blood, and I pray to God that I never may, unless it
is actually necessary."*** Sultans and doges have freely used
assassination as a weapon, but it seems to have remained for the
Mormon church under Brigham Young to declare openly its intention
to make whatever it might call church apostasy subject to capital

*Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 241.

** Ibid., p. 266.

*** Ibid., pp, 163-164.

Out of the lawless condition of the Mormon flock, as we have thus
seen it pictured, and out of this radical view of the proper
punishment of offenders, resulted, in 1856, that remarkable
movement still known in Mormondon as "The Reformation "--a
movement that has been characterized by one writer as "a reign of
lust and fanatical fury unequalled since the Dark Ages," and by
another as "a fanaticism at once blind, dangerous, and terrible."
During its continuance the religious zealot, the amorous priest,
the jealous lover, the man covetous of worldly goods, and the
framers of the church policy, from acknowledged Apostle to secret
Danite, all had their own way. " Were I counsel for a Mormon on
trial for a crime committed at the time under consideration, I
should plead wholesale insanity," said J. H. Beadle. It was
during this period that that system was perfected under which the
life of no man,--or company of men,--against whom the wrath of
the church was directed, was of any value; no household was safe
from the lust of any aged elder; no person once in the valley
could leave it alive against the church's consent.

The active agent in starting "The Reformation" was the inventor
of "blood atonement," Jedediah M. Grant.* That his censure of a
Bishop and his counsellors at Kayesville was the actual origin of
the movement, as has been stated,** cannot be accepted as proven,
in view of the preparation made for the era of blood, as
indicated in the church discourses. Lieutenant Gunnison, for whom
the Mormons in later years always asserted their friendship,
writing concerning his observations as early as 1852, said:--

* A correspondent of the. New York Times at this date described
Grant as "a tall, thin, repulsive-looking man, of acute, vigorous
intellect, a thorough-paced scoundrel, and the most essential
blackguard in the pulpit. He was sometimes called Brigham's
sledge hammer."

** "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 293.

"Witnesses are seldom put on oath in the lower courts, and there
is nothing known of the 'law's delay,' and the quibbles whereby
the ends of truth and justice may be defeated. But they have a
criminal code called 'The Laws of the Lord,' which has been given
by revelation and not promulgated, the people not being able
quite to bear it, or the organization still too imperfect. It is
to be put in force, however, before long, and when in vogue, all
grave crimes will be punished and atoned for by cutting off the
head of the offender. This regulation arises from the fact that
without shedding of blood there is no remission."*

* "History of the Mormons," Book 1, Chapter X.

Gunnison's statement furnishes indisputable proof that this legal
system was so generally talked of some four years before it was
put in force that it came to the ears of a non-Mormon temporary

After the condemnation of the Kayesville offenders and their
rebaptism, the next move was the appointment of missionaries to
hold services in every ward, and the sending out of what were
really confessors, appointed for every block, to inquire of
all--young and old--concerning the most intimate details of their
lives. The printed catechism given to these confessors was so
indelicate that it was suppressed in later years. These prying
inquisitors found opportunity to gain information for their
superiors about any persons suspected of disloyalty, and one use
they made of their visitations was to urge the younger sisters to
be married to the older men, as a readier means of salvation than
union with men of their own age. That there was opposition to
this espionage is shown by some remarks of H. C. Kimball in the
Tabernacle, in March, 1856, when he said: "I have heard some
individuals saying that, if the Bishops came into their houses
and opened their cupboards, they would split their heads open.

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 271.

Some of the information secured by the church confessional was
embarrassing to the leaders. At a meeting of male members in
Social Hall, Young, Grant, and others denounced the sinners in
scathing terms, Young ending his remarks by saying, "All you who
have been guilty of committing adultery, stand up." At once more
than three-quarters of those present arose.* For such confessors
a way of repentance was provided through rebaptism, but the
secretly accused had no such avenue opened to them.

* "A leading Bishop in Salt Lake City stated to the author that
Brigham was as much appalled at this sight as was Macbeth when he
beheld the woods of Birnam marching on to Dunsinane. A Bishop
arose and asked if there were not some misunderstanding among the
brethren concerning the question. He thought that perhaps the
elders understood Brigham's inquiry to apply to their conduct
before they had thrown off the works of the devil and embraced
Mormonism; but upon Brigham reiterating that it was the adultery
committed since they had entered the church, the brethren to a
man still stood up:"--"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 296.

One of the first victims of the reformers was H. J. Jarvis, a
reputable merchant of Salt Lake City. He was dragged over his
counter one evening and thrown into the street by men who then
robbed his store and defiled his household goods, giving him as
the cause of the visitation the explanation that he had spoken
evil of the authorities, and had invited Gentiles to supper. His
two wives could not secure even a hearing from Young in his
behalf.* This, however, was a minor incident.

* "Rocky Mountain Saints;" p. 297.

That Young's rule should be objected to by some members of the
church was inevitable. There were men in the valley at that early
day who would rebel against such a dictatorship under any name;
others--men of means--who were alarmed by the declarations about
property rights, and others to whom the announcement concerning
polygamy was repugnant. When such persons gave expression to
their discontent, they angered the church officers; when they
indicated their purpose to leave the valley, they alarmed them.
Anything like an exodus of the flock would have broken up all of
Young's plans, and have undone the scheme of immigration that had
cost so much time and money. Accordingly, when this movement for
"reform" began, the church let it be known that any desertion of
the flock would be considered the worst form of apostasy, and
that the deserter must take the consequences. To quote Brigham
Young's own words: "The moment a person decides to leave this
people, he is cut off from every object that is desirable for
time and eternity. Every possession and object of affection will
be taken from those who forsake the truth, and their identity and
existence will eventually cease."*

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. IV, p. 31.

The almost unbreakable hedge that surrounded the inhabitants of
the valley at this time, under the system of church espionage,
has formed a subject for the novelist, and has seemed to many
persons, as described, a probable exaggeration. But, while Young
did not narrate in his pulpit the tales of blood which his
instructions gave rise to, there is testimony concerning them
which leaves no reasonable doubt of their truthfulness.


The murders committed during the "Reformation" which attracted
most attention, both because of the parties concerned, the effort
made by a United States judge to convict the guilty, and the
confessions of the latter subsequently obtained, have been known
as the Parrish, or Springville, murders. The facts concerning
them may be stated fairly as follows:--

William R. Parrish was one of the most outspoken champions of the
Twelve when the controversy with Rigdon occurred at Nauvoo after
Smith's death, and he accompanied the fugitives to Salt Lake
Valley. One evening, early in March, 1857, a Bishop named Johnson
(husband of ten wives), with two companions, called at Parrish's
house in Springville, and put to him some of the questions which
the inquisitors of the day were wont to ask--if he prayed,
something about his future plans, etc. It had been rumored that
Parrish's devotion to the church had cooled, and that he was
planning to move with his family--a wife and six children--to
California; and at a meeting in Bishop Johnson's council house a
letter had been read from Brigham Young directing them to
ascertain the intention of certain "suspicious characters in the
neighborhood,"* and if they should make a break and, being
pursued, which he required, he 'would be sorry to hear a
favorable report; but the better way is to lock the stable door
before the horse is stolen.' This letter was over Brigham's
signature."** This letter was the real cause of the Bishop's
visit to Parrish. At a meeting about a week later, A. Durfee and
G. Potter were deputed to find out when the Parrishes proposed to
leave the territory. Accordingly, Durfee got employment with
Parrish, and both of them gave him the idea that they sympathized
with his desire to depart. One morning, about a week later,
Parrish discovered that his horses had been stolen, and efforts
to recover them were fruitless.

* "There had been public preaching in Springville to the effect
that no Apostles would be allowed to leave; if they did, hog-
holes in the fences would be stopped up with them. I heard these
sermons."--Affidavit of Mrs. Parrish; appendix to "Speech of Hon.
John Cradlebaugh".

** Confession of J. M. Stewart, one of the Bishop's counsellors
and precinct magistrate.

Meanwhile, Parrish, unsuspicious of Potter and Durfee,* was
telling them of his continued plans to escape, how constantly his
house was watched, and how difficult it was for him to get out
the few articles required for the trip. Finally, at Parrish's
suggestion, it was arranged that he and Durfee should walk out of
the village in the daytime, as the method best calculated to
allay suspicion.

* Durfee's confession, appendix to Cradlebaugh's speech.

They carried out this plan, and when they got to a stream called
Dry Creek, Parrish asked Durfee to go back to the house and bring
his two sons, Beason and Orrin, to join him. When Durfee returned
to the house, at about sunset, he found Potter there, and Potter
set off at once for the meeting-place, ostensibly to carry some
of the articles needed for the journey.

Potter met Parrish where he was waiting for Durfee's return, and
they walked down a lane to a fence corner, where a Mormon named
William Bird was lying, armed with a gun. Here occurred what
might be called an illustration of "poetic justice." In the
twilight, Bird mistook his victim, and fired, killing Potter. As
Bird rose and stepped forward, Parrish asked if it was he who had
fired the unexpected shot. For a reply Bird drew a knife,
clenched with Parrish, and, as he afterward expressed it, "worked
the best he could in stabbing him." He "worked" so well that, as
afterward described by one of the men concerned in the plot,* the
old man was cut all over, fifteen times in the back, as well as
in the left side, the arms, and the hands. But Bird knew that his
task was not completed, and, as soon as the murder of the elder
Parrish was accomplished, taking his own and Potter's gun, he
again concealed himself in the fence corner, awaiting the
appearance of the Parrish boys. They soon came up in company with
Durfee, and Bird fired at Beason with so good aim that he dropped
dead at once. Turning the weapon on Orrin, the first cap snapped,
but he tried again and put a ball through Orrin's cartridge box.
The lad then ran and found refuge in the house of an uncle.

* Affidavit of J. Bartholemew before Judge Cradlebaugh.

The outcome of this crime? The arrest of ORRIN and Durfee as the
murderers by a Mormon officer; a farcical hearing by a coroner's
jury, with a verdict of assassins unknown; distrusted
participants in the crime themselves the object of the Mormon
spies and would-be assassins; the robbery of a neighbor who dared
to condemn the crime; a vain appeal by Mrs. Parrish to Brigham
Young, who told her he "would have stopped it had he known
anything about it," and who, when she persisted in seeking
another interview, had her advised to "drop it," and a failure by
the widow to secure even the stolen horses. "The wife of Mr.
Parrish told me," said Judge Cradlebaugh, when he charged the
jury concerning this case, "that since then at times she had
lived on bread and water, and still there are persons in this
community riding about on those horses."

The effort to have the men concerned in this and similar crimes
convicted, forms a part of the history of Judge Cradlebaugh's
judicial career after the "Mormon War," but it failed. When the
grand jury would not bring in indictments, he issued bench
warrants for the arrest of the accused, and sent the United
States marshal, sustained by a military posse, to serve the
papers. It was thus that the affidavits and confessions cited
were obtained. Then followed a stampede among the residents of
the Springville neighborhood, as the judge explained in his
subsequent speech, in Congress, the church officials and civil
officers being prominent in the flight, and, when their houses
were reached, they were occupied only by many wives and many
children. "I am justified," he told the House of Representatives,
"in charging that the Mormons are guilty, and that the Mormon
church is guilty, of the crimes, of murder and robbery, as taught
in their books of faith."*

* "I say as a fact that there was no escape for any one that the
leaders of the church in southern Utah selected as a victim....
It was a rare thing for a man to escape from the territory with
all his property until after the Pacific Railroad was built
through Utah."--LEE, "Mormonism Unveiled," pp. 275, 287.

Charles Nordhoff, in a Utah letter to the New York Evening Post
in May, 1871, said: "A friend said to me this afternoon, 'I saw a
great change in Salt Lake since I was there three years ago. The
place is free; the people no longer speak in whispers. Three
years ago it was unsafe to speak aloud in Salt Lake City about
Mormonism, and you were warned to be cautious.'"

Another of the murders under this dispensation, which Judge
Cradlebaugh mentioned as "peculiarly and shockingly prominent,"
was that of the Aikin party, in the spring of 1857. This party,
consisting of six men, started east from San Francisco in May,
1857, and, falling in with a Mormon train, joined them for
protection against the Indians. "When they got to a safer
neighborhood, the Californians pushed on ahead. Arriving in
Kayesville, twenty-five miles north of Salt Lake City, they were
at once arrested as federal spies, and their animals (they had an
outfit worth in all, about $25,000) were put into the public
corral. When their Mormon fellow-travellers arrived, they scouted
the idea that the men even knew of an impending "war," and the
party were told that they would be sent out of the territory. But
before they started, a council, held at the call of a Bishop in
Salt Lake City, decided on their death.

Four of the party were attacked in camp by their escort while
asleep; two were killed at once, and two who escaped temporarily
were shot while, as they supposed, being escorted back to Salt
Lake City. The two others were attacked by O. P. Rockwell and
some associates near the city; one was killed outright, and the
other escaped, wounded, and was shot the next day while under the
escort of "Bill" Hickman, and, according to the latter, by
Young's order. *

* Brigham's "Destroying Angel," p. 128.

A story of the escape of one man from the valley, notwithstanding
elaborate plans to prevent his doing so, has been preserved, not
in the testimony of repentant participants in his persecution,
but in his own words.*

* Leavenworth, Kansas, letter to New York Times, published May 1,

Frederick Loba was a prosperous resident of Lausanne,
Switzerland, where for some years he had been introducing a new
principle in gas manufacture, when, in 1853, some friends called
his attention to the Mormons' professions and promises. Loba was
induced to believe that all mankind who did not gather in Great
Salt Lake Valley would be given over to destruction, and that,
not only would his soul be saved by moving there, but that his
business opportunities would be greatly advanced. Accordingly he
gave up the direction of the gas works at Lausanne, and reached
St. Louis in December, 1853, with about $8000 worth of property.
There he was made temporary president of a Mormon church, and
there he got his first bad impression of the Mormon brotherhood.
On the way to Utah his wife died of cholera, leaving six
children, from six to twelve years old. Welcomed as all men with
property were, he was made Professor of Chemistry in the
University, and soon learned many of the church secrets. "These,"
to quote his own words, "opened my eyes at once, and I saw at a
glance the terrible position in which I was placed. I now found
myself in the midst of a wicked and degraded people, shut up in
the midst of the mountains, with a large family, and deprived of
all resources with which to extricate myself. The conviction had
been forced upon my mind that Brigham himself was at the bottom
of all the clandestine assassinations, plundering of trains, and
robbing of mails." The manner, too, in which polygamy was
practised aroused his intense disgust.

He married as his second wife an English woman, and his family
relations were pleasant; but the church officers were distrustful
of him. He was again and again urged to marry more wives, being
assured that with less than three he could not rise to a high
place in the church. "This neglect on my part," he explained,
"and certain remarks that I made with respect to Brigham's
friends, determined the prophet to order my private execution, as
I am able to prove by honest and competent witnesses." Loba
adopted every precaution for his own safety, night and day. Then
came the news of the Parrish murders, and there was so much alarm
among the people that there was talk of the departure of a great
many of the dissatisfied. To check this, when the plain threats
made in the Tabernacle did not avail, Young had a band of four
hundred organized under the name of "Wolf Hunters" (borrowed from
their old Hancock County neighbors), whose duty it was to see
that "the wolves" did not stray abroad.

Loba now communicated his fears to his wife, and found that she
also realized the danger of their position, and was ready to
advise the risk of flight. The plan, as finally decided on, was
that they two should start alone on April l, leaving the children
in care of the wife's mother and brother, the latter a recent
comer not yet initiated in the church mysteries.

At ten o'clock on the appointed night Loba and his wife--the
latter dressed in men's clothes--stole out of their house. Their
outfit consisted of one blanket, twelve pounds of crackers, a
little tea and sugar, a double-barrelled gun, a sword, and a
compass. They were without horses, and their route compelled them
to travel the main road for twenty-five miles before they reached
the mountains, amid which they hoped to baffle pursuit. They were
fortunate enough to gain the mountains without detention. There
they laid their course, not with a view to taking the easiest or
most direct route, but one so far up the mountain sides that
pursuit by horsemen would be impossible. This entailed great
suffering. The nights were so cold that sometimes they feared to
sleep. Add to this the necessity of wading through creeks in ice-
cold water, and it is easy to understand that Loba had difficulty
to prevent his companion from yielding to despair.

Their objective point was Greene River (170 miles from Salt Lake
City by road, but probably almost 300 by the route taken), where
they expected to find Indians on whose mercy they would throw
themselves. Two days before that river was reached they ate the
last of their food, and they kept from freezing at night by
getting some sage wood from underneath the snow, and using Loba's
pocket journal for kindling. Mrs. Loba had to be carried the
whole of the last six miles, but this effort brought them to a
camp of Snake Indians, among whom were some Canadian traders, and
there they received a kindly welcome. News of their escape
reached Salt Lake City, and Surveyor General Burr sent them the
necessary supplies and a guide to conduct them to Fort Laramie,
where, a month later, all the rest of the family joined them, in
good health, but entirely destitute.

They then learned that, as soon as their flight was discovered,
the church authorities sent out horsemen in every direction to
intercept them, but their route over the mountains proved their

* Referring to the frequent Mormon declarations that there were
fewer deeds of violence in Utah than in other pioneer settlements
of equal population, the Salt Lake Tribune of January 25, 1876,
said: "It is estimated that no less than 600 murders have been
committed by the Mormons, in nearly every case at the instigation
of their priestly leaders, during the occupation of the
territory. Giving a mean average of 50,000 persons professing
that faith in Utah, we have a murder committed every year to
every 2500 of population. The same ratio of crime extended to the
population of the United States would give 16,000 murders every

The Messenger, the organ of the Reorganized Church in Salt Lake
City, said in November, 1875: "While laying the waste pipes in
front of the residence of Brigham Young recently the skeleton of
a man--a white man--was dug up. A similar discovery was made last
winter in digging a cellar in this city. What can have been the
necessity of these secret burials, without coffins, in such


As early as 1853 intimations of the doctrine that an offending
member might be put out of the way were given from the Tabernacle
pulpit. Orson Hyde, on April 9 of that year, spoke, in the form
of a parable, of the fate of a wolf that a shepherd discovered in
his flock of sheep, saying that, if let alone, he would go off
and tell the other wolves, and they would come in; "whereas, if
the first should meet with his just deserts, he could not go back
and tell the rest of his hungry tribe to come and feast
themselves on the flock. If you say the priesthood, or
authorities of the church here, are the shepherd, and the church
is the flock, you can make your own application of this figure."

In September, 1856, there was a notable service in the bowery in
Salt Lake City at which several addresses were made. Heber C.
Kimball urged repentance, and told the people that Brigham
Young's word was "the word of God to this people." Then Jedediah
M. Grant first gave open utterance to a doctrine that has given
the Saints, in late years, much trouble to explain, and the
carrying out of which in Brigham Young's days has required many a
Mormon denial. This is, what has been called in Utah the doctrine
of "blood atonement," and what in reality was the doctrine of
human sacrifice.

Grant declared that some persons who had received the priesthood
committed adultery and other abominations, "get drunk, and wallow
in the mire and filth." "I say," he continued, "there are men and
women that I would advise to go to the President immediately, and
ask him to appoint a committee to attend to their case; and then
let a place be selected, and let that committee shed their blood.
We have those amongst us that are full of all manner of
abominations; those who need to have their blood shed, for water
will not do; their sins are too deep for that."* He explained
that he was only preaching the doctrine of St. Paul, and
continued: "I would ask how many covenant breakers there are in
this city and in this kingdom. I believe that there are a great
many; and if they are covenant breakers, we need a place
designated where we can shed their blood.... If any of you ask,
Do I mean you, I answer yes. If any woman asks, Do I mean her, I
answer yes.... We have been trying long enough with these people,
and I go in for letting the sword of the Almighty be unsheathed,
not only in word, but in deed."**

* Elder C. W. Penrose made an explanation of the view taken by
the church at that time, in an address in Salt Lake City on
October 12, 1884, that was published in a pamphlet entitled
"Blood Atonement as taught by Leading Elders." This was deemed
necessary to meet the criticisms of this doctrine. He pleaded
misrepresentation of the Saints' position, and defined it as
resting on Christ's atonement, and on the belief that that
atonement would suffice only for those who have fellowship with
Him. He quoted St. Paul as authority for the necessity of blood
shedding (Hebrews ix. 22), and Matthew xii. 31, 32, and Hebrews
x. 26, to show that there are sins, like blasphemy against the
Holy Ghost, which will not be forgiven through the shedding of
Christ's blood. He also quoted 1 John v. 16 as showing that the
apostle and Brigham Young were in agreement concerning "sins unto
death," just as Young and the apostle agreed about delivering men
unto Satan that their spirits might be saved through the
destruction of their flesh (1 Corinthians v. 5). Having justified
the teaching to his satisfaction, he proceeded to challenge proof
that any one had ever paid the penalty, coupling with this a
denial of the existence of Danites.

Elder Hyde, in his "Mormonism," says (p. 179): "There are several
men now living in Utah whose lives are forfeited by Mormon law,
but spared for a little time by Mormon policy. They are certain
to be killed, and they know it. They are only allowed to live
while they add weight and influence to Mormonism, and, although
abundant opportunities are given them for escape, they prefer to
remain. So strongly are they infatuated with their religion that
they think their salvation depends on their continued obedience,
and their 'blood being shed by the servants of God.' Adultery is
punished by death, and it is taught, unless the adulterer's blood
be shed, he can have no remission for this sin. Believing this
firmly, there are men who have confessed this crime to Brigham,
and asked him to have them killed. Their superstitious fears make
life a burden to them, and they would commit suicide were not
that also a crime."

** Journal of Discourses, Vol. IV, pp. 49, 50.

Brigham Young, who followed Grant, said that he would explain how
judgment would be "laid to the line." "There are sins," he
explained, "that men commit, for which they cannot receive
forgiveness in this world nor in that which is to come; and, if
they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would
be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground,
that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven for their sins...I
know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off
from the earth, that you consider it a strong doctrine; but it is
to save them, not to destroy them."

That these were not the mere expressions of a sudden impulse is
shown by the fact that Young expounded this doctrine at even
greater length a year later. Explaining what Christ meant by
loving our neighbors as ourselves, he said: "Will you love your
brothers and sisters likewise when they have committed a sin that
cannot be atoned for without the shedding of blood? Will you love
that man or woman well enough to shed their blood? That is what
Jesus Christ meant.... I have seen scores and hundreds of people
for whom there would have been a chance (in the last resurrection
there will be) if their lives had been taken, and their blood
spilled on the ground as a smoking incense to the Almighty, but
who are now angels to the devil."*

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. IV, pp. 219, 220.

Stenhouse relates, as one of the "few notable cases that have
properly illustrated the blood atonement doctrine," that one of
the wives of an elder who was sent on a mission broke her
marriage vows during his absence. On his return, during the
height of the "Reformation," she was told that "she could not
reach the circle of the gods and goddesses unless her blood was
shed," and she consented to accept the punishment. Seating
herself, therefore, on her husband's knee, she gave him a last
kiss, and he then drew a knife across her throat. "That kind and
loving husband still lives near Salt Lake City (1874), and
preaches occasionally with great zeal."*

* "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 470.

John D. Lee, who says that this doctrine was "justified by all
the people," gives full particulars of another instance. Among
the Danish converts in Utah was Rosmos Anderson, whose wife had
been a widow with a grown daughter. Anderson desired to marry his
step-daughter also, and she was quite willing; but a member of
the Bishop's council wanted the girl for his wife, and he was
influential enough to prevent Anderson from getting the necessary
consent from the head of the church. Knowing the professed horror
of the church toward the crime of adultery, Anderson and the
young woman, at one of the meetings during the "Reformation,"
confessed their guilt of that crime, thinking that in this way
they would secure permission to marry. But, while they were
admitted to rebaptism on their confession, the coveted permit was
not issued and they were notified that to offend would be to
incur death. Such a charge was very soon laid against Anderson
(not against the girl), and the same council, without hearing
him, decided that he must die. Anderson was so firm in the Mormon
faith that he made no remonstrance, simply asking half a day for
preparation. His wife provided clean clothes for the sacrifice,
and his executioners dug his grave. At midnight they called for
him, and, taking him to the place, allowed him to kneel by the
grave and pray. Then they cut his throat, "and held him so that
his blood ran into the grave." His wife, obeying instructions,
announced that he had gone to California.*

* "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 282.

As an illustration of the opportunity which these times gave a
polygamous priesthood to indulge their tastes, may be told the
story of "the affair at San Pete." Bishop Warren Snow of Manti,
San Pete County, although the husband of several wives, desired
to add to his list a good-looking young woman in that town When
he proposed to her, she declined the honor, informing him that
she was engaged to a younger man. The Bishop argued with her on
the ground of her duty, offering to have her lover sent on a
mission, but in vain. When even the girl's parents failed to gain
her consent, Snow directed the local church authorities to
command the young man to give her up. Finding him equally
obstinate, he was one evening summoned to attend a meeting where
only trusted members were present. Suddenly the lights were put
out, he was beaten and tied to a bench, and Bishop Snow himself
castrated him with a bowie knife. In this condition he was left
to crawl to some haystacks, where he lay until discovered "The
young man regained his health," says Lee, "but has been an idiot
or quiet lunatic ever since, and is well known by hundreds of
Mormons or Gentiles in Utah."* And the Bishop married the girl.
Lee gives Young credit for being very "mad" when he learned of
this incident, but the Bishop was not even deposed.**

* Ibid., p. 285.

** Stenhouse quotes the following as showing that the San Pete
outrage was scarcely concealed by the Mormon authorities: "I was
at a Sunday meeting, in the spring of 1857, in Provo, when the
news of the San Pete incident was referred to by the presiding
Bishop, Blackburn. Some men in Provo had rebelled against
authority in some trivial matter, and Blackburn shouted in his
Sunday meeting--a mixed congregation of all ages and both sexes:
'I want the people of Provo to understand that the boys in Provo
can use the knife as well as the boys in San Pete. Boys, get your
knives ready.'" "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 302.

CHAPTER X. The Territorial Government--Judge Brocchus's

In March, 1851, the two houses of the legislature of Deseret,
sitting together, adopted resolutions "cheerfully and cordially"
accepting the law providing a territorial government for Utah,
and tendering Union Square in Salt Lake City as a site for the
government buildings. The first territorial election was held on
August 4, and the legislative assembly then elected held its
first meeting on September 22. An act was at once passed
continuing in force the laws passed by the legislature of Deseret
(an unauthorized body) not in conflict with the territorial law,
and locating the capital in the Pauvan Valley, where the town was
afterward named Fillmore* and the county Millard, in honor of the

* Only one session of the legislature was held at Fillmore
(December, 1855). The lawmakers afterward met there, but only to
adjourn to Salt Lake City.

The federal law, establishing the territory, provided that the
governor, secretary, chief justice and two associate justices of
the Supreme Court, the attorney general, or state's attorney, and
marshal should be appointed by the President of the United
States. President Fillmore on September 22, 1850, filled these
places as follows: governor, Brigham Young; secretary, B. D.
Harris of Vermont; chief justice, Joseph Buffington of
Pennsylvania; associate justices, Perry E. Brocchus and
Zerubbabel Snow; attorney general, Seth M. Blair of Utah;
marshal, J. L. Heywood of Utah, Young, Snow, Blair, and Heywood
being Mormons. L. G. Brandebury was later appointed chief
justice, Mr. Buffington declining that office.

The selection of Brigham Young as governor made him, in addition
to his church offices, ex-officio commander-in-chief of the
militia and superintendent of Indian affairs, the latter giving
him a salary of $1000 a year in addition to his salary of $1500
as governor. Had the character of the Mormon church government
been understood by President Fillmore, it does not seem possible
that he would, by Young's appointment, have so completely united
the civil and religious authority of the territory in one man;
or, if he had had any comprehension of Young's personal
characteristics, it is fair to conclude that the appointment
would not have been made.

The voice which the President listened to in the matter was that
of that adroit Mormon agent, Colonel Thomas L. Kane. Kane's part
in the business came out after these appointments were announced,
and after the Buffalo (New York) Courier had printed a
communication attacking Young's character on the ground of his
record both in Illinois and Utah. President Fillmore sent these
charges to Kane (on July 4, 1851) with a letter in which he said,
"You will recollect that I relied much upon you for the moral
character of Mr. Young," and asking him to "truly state whether
these charges against the moral character of Governor Young are
true." Kane sent two letters in reply, dated July 11. In a short
open one he said: "I reiterate without reserve the statement of
his excellent capacity, energy, and integrity, which I made you
prior to the appointment. I am willing to say that I VOLUNTEERED
to communicate to you the facts by which I was convinced of his
patriotism and devotion to the Union. I made no qualification
when I assured you of his irreproachable moral character, because
I was able to speak of this from my own intimate personal

The second letter, marked "personal," went into these matters
much more in detail. It declared that the tax levied by Young on
non-Mormons who sold goods in Salt Lake City was a liquor tax,
creditable to Mormon temperance principles. Had the President
consulted the report of the debate on Babbitt's admission as a
Delegate, he would have discovered that this was falsehood number
one. The charges against Young while in Illinois, including
counterfeiting, Kane swept aside as "a mere rehash of old
libels," and he cited the Battalion as an illustration of Mormon
patriotism. The extent to which he could go in falsifying in
Young's behalf is illustrated, however, most pointedly in what he
had to say regarding the charge of polygamy: "The remaining
charge connects itself with that unmixed outrage, the spiritual
wife story; which was fastened on the Mormons by a poor ribald
scamp whom, though the sole surviving brother and representative
of their Jo. Smith, they were literally forced to excommunicate
for licentiousness, and who therefore revenged himself by editing
confessions and disclosures of savor to please the public that
peruses novels in yellow paper covers."* In regard to William
Smith, the fact was that he opposed polygamy both before and
after his expulsion from the church. Kane's stay among the
Mormons on the Missouri must have acquainted him with the
practically open practice of polygamy at that time. His entire
correspondence with Fillmore stamps him as a man whose word could
be accepted on no subject. It would have been well if President
Buchanan had availed himself of the existence of these letters.
Fillmore stated in later years that at that time neither he nor
the Senate knew that polygamy was an accepted Mormon doctrine.

* For correspondence in full, see Millennial Star, Vol. XIII, pp.

Young took the oath of office as governor in February, 1851. The
non-Mormon federal officers arrived in June and July following,
and with them came Babbitt, bringing $20,000 which had been
appropriated by Congress for a state-house, and J. M. Bernhisel,
the first territorial Delegate to Congress, with a library
purchased by him in the East for which Congress had provided. The
arrival of the Gentile officers gave a speedy opportunity to test
the temper of the church in regard to any interference with, or
even discussion of, their "peculiar" institutions or Young's

Their first welcome was cordial, with balls and dinners at the
Bath House at the Hot Springs at which, for their special
benefit, says a local historian, was served "champagne wine from
the grocery," with home-brewed porter and ale for the rest. When
Judge Brocchus reached Salt Lake City, his two non-Mormon
associates had been there long enough to form an opinion of the
Mormon population and of the aims of the leading church officers.
They soon concluded that "no man else could govern them against
Brigham Young's influence, without a military force,"* and they
heard many expressions, public and private, indicating the
contempt in which the federal government was held. The
anniversary of the arrival of the pioneers, July 24, was always
celebrated with much ceremony, and that year the principal
addresses were made by "General" D. H. Wells and Brigham Young.
Some of the new officers occupied seats on the platform. Wells
attacked the government for "requiring" the Battalion to enlist.
Young paid especial attention to President Taylor, who had
recently died, and whose course toward the Mormons did not please
them, closing this part of his remarks with the declaration, "but
Zachary Taylor is dead and in hell, and I am glad of it," adding,
"and I prophesy in the name of Jesus Christ, by the power of the
priesthood that's upon me, that any President of the United
States who lifts his finger against this people, shall die an
untimely death, and go to hell."

* Report of the three officers to President Fillmore, Ex. Doc.
No. 25, 1st Session, 32d Congress.

Judge Brocchus had been commissioned by the Washington Monument
Association to ask the people of the territory for a block of
stone for that structure, and, on signifying a desire to make
known his commission, he was invited to do so at the General
Conference to be held on September 7 and 8. The judge thought
that, with the life of Washington as a text, he could read these
people a lesson on their duty toward the government, and could
correct some of the impressions under which they rested. The idea
itself only showed how little he understood anything pertaining
to Mormonism.

There was no newspaper in Salt Lake City in that time, and for a
report of the judge's address and of Brigham Young's reply, we
must rely on the report of the three federal officers to
President Fillmore, on a letter from Judge Brocchus printed in
the East, and on three letters on the subject addressed to the
New York Herald (one of which that journal printed, and all of
which the author published in a pamphlet entitled "The Truth for
the Mormons",) by J. M. Grant, first mayor of Salt Lake City,
major general of the Legion, and Speaker of the house in the
Deseret legislature.

Judge Brocchus spoke for two hours. He began with expressions of
sympathy for the sufferings of the Mormons in Missouri and
Illinois, and then referred to the unfriendliness of the people
toward the federal government, pointing out what he considered
its injustice, and alluding pointedly to Brigham Young's remarks
about President Taylor. He defended the President's memory, and
told his audience that, "if they could not offer a block of
marble for the Washington Monument in a feeling of full
fellowship with the people of the United States, as brethren and
fellow citizens, they had better not offer it at all, but leave
it unquarried in the bosom of its native mountain." The officers'
report to President Fillmore says that the address "was entirely
free from any allusions, even the most remote, to the peculiar
religion of the community, or to any of their domestic or social
customs." Even if the Mormons had so construed it, the rebuke of
their lack of patriotism would have aroused their resentment, and
Bernhisel, in a letter to President Fillmore, characterized it as
"a wanton insult."

But the judge did make, according to other reports, what was
construed as an uncomplimentary reference to polygamy, and this
stirred the church into a tumult of anger and indignation.
According to Mormon accounts,* the judge, addressing the ladies,
said: "I have a commission from the Washington Monument
Association, to ask of you a block of marble, as a test of your
citizenship and loyalty to the government of the United States.
But in order to do it acceptably you must become virtuous, and
teach your daughters to become virtuous, or your offering had
better remain in the bosom of your native mountains."

* The report of what follows, including Young's address, is taken
from Grant's pamphlet...

Mild as this language may seem, no Mormon audience, since the
marrying of more wives than one had been sanctioned by the
church, had ever listened to anything like it. To permit even
this interference with their "religious belief" was entirely
foreign to Young's purpose, and he took the floor in a towering
rage to reply. "Are you a judge," he asked, "and can't even talk
like a lawyer or a politician?" George Washington was first in
war, but he was first in peace, too, and Young could handle a
sword as well as Washington. "But you [addressing the judge]
standing there, white and shaking now at the howls which you have
stirred up yourself--you are a coward.... Old General Taylor,
what was he?* A mere soldier with regular army buttons on; no
better to go at the head of brave troops than a dozen I could
pick out between here and Laramie." He concluded thus:--

* In a discourse on June 19, 1853, Young said that he never heard
of his alleged expression about General Taylor until Judge
Brocchus made use of it, but he added: "When he made the
statement there, I surely bore testimony to the truth of it. But
until then I do not know that it ever came into my mind whether
Taylor was in hell or not, any more than it did that any other
wicked man was there," etc.--Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p.

"What you have been afraid to intimate about our morals I will
not stoop to notice, except to make my particular personal
request to every brother and husband present not to give you back
what such impudence deserves. You talk of things you have on
hearsay since your coming among us. I'll talk of hearsay then--
the hearsay that you are discontented, and will go home, because
we cannot make it worth your while to stay. What it would satisfy
you to get out of us I think it would be hard to tell; but I am
sure that it is more than you'll get. If you or any one else is
such a baby-calf, we must sugar your soap to coax you to wash
yourself of Saturday nights. Go home to your mammy straight away,
and the sooner the better."

This was the language addressed by the governor of the territory
and the head of the church, to one of the Supreme Court judges
appointed by the President of the United States!

Young alluded to his reference to the judge's personal safety in
a discourse on June 19, 1853, in which, speaking of the judge's
remarks, he said: "They [the Mormons] bore the insult like saints
of God. It is true, as it was said in the report of these
affairs, if I had crooked my little finger, he would have been
used up, but I did not bend it. If I had, the sisters alone felt
indignant enough to have chopped him in pieces." A little later,
in the same discourse, he added: "Every man that comes to impose
on this people, no matter by whom they are sent, or who they are
that are sent, lay the axe at the root of the tree to kill
themselves. I will do as I said I would last conference.
Apostates, or men who never made any profession of religion, had
better be careful how they come here, lest I should bend my
little finger."*

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, p. 187.

If the records of the Mormon church had included acts as well as
words, how many times would we find that Young's little finger
was bent to a purpose?

Bold as he was, Young seems to have felt that he had gone too far
in his abuse of Judge Brocchus, and on September 19 he addressed
a note to him, inviting him to attend a public meeting in the
bowery the next Sunday morning, "to explain, satisfy, or
apologize to the satisfaction of the ladies who heard your
address on the 8th," a postscript assuring the judge that "no
gentleman will be permitted to make any reply." The judge in
polite terms declined this offer, saying that he had been, at the
proper time, denied a chance to explain, "at the peril of having
my hair pulled or my throat cut." He added that his speech was
deliberately prepared, that his sole design was "to vindicate the
government of the United States from those feelings of prejudice
and that spirit of defection which seemed to pervade the public
sentiment," and that he had had no intention to offer insult or
disrespect to his audience. This called out, the next day, a very
long reply from Young, of which the following is a paragraph:
"With a war of words on party politics, factions, religious
schisms, current controversy of creeds, policy of clans or state
clipper cliques, I have nothing to do; but when the eternal
principles of truth are falsified, and light is turned into
darkness by mystification of language or a false delineation of
facts, so that the just indignation of the true, virtuous,
upright citizens of the commonwealth is aroused into vigilance
for the dear-bought liberties of themselves and fathers, and that
spirit of intolerance and persecution which has driven this
people time and time again from their peaceful homes, manifests
itself in the flippancy of rhetoric for female insult and
desecration, it is time that I forbear to hold my peace, lest the
thundering anathemas of nations, born and unborn, should rest
upon my head, when the marrow of my bones shall be ill prepared
to sustain the threatened blow."*

* For correspondence in full, see Tullidge's "History of Salt
Lake City," pp. 86--91.

Judge Brocchus wrote to a friend in the East, on September 20:
"How it will end, I do not know. I have just learned that I have
been denounced, together with the government and officers, in the
bowery again to-day by Governor Young. I hope I shall get off
safely. God only knows. I am in the power of a desperate and
murderous sect."

The non-Mormon federal officers now announced their determination
to abandon their places and return to the East. Young foresaw
that so radical a course would give his conduct a wide
advertisement, and attract to him an unpleasant notoriety. He,
therefore, called on the offended judges personally, and urged
them to remain.* Being assured that they would not reconsider
their determination, and that Secretary Harris would take with
him the $24,000 appropriated for the pay and mileage of the
territorial legislature, Young, on September 18, issued a
proclamation declaring the result of the election of August 4,
which he had neglected to do, and convening the legislature in
session on September 22. "So solicitous was the governor that the
secretary and other non-Mormon officers should be kept in
ignorance of this step," says the report of the latter to
President Fillmore, "that on the 19th, two days after the date of
a personal notice sent to members, he most positively and
emphatically denied, as communicated to the secretary, that any
such notice had been issued."

* Young to the President, House Doc. No. 25, 1st Session, 32d

As soon as the legislature met, it passed resolutions directing
the United States marshal to take possession of all papers and
property (including money) in the hands of Secretary Harris, and
to arrest him and lock him up if he offered any resistance. On
receipt of a copy of this resolution, Secretary Harris sent a
reply, giving several reasons for refusing to hand over the money
appropriated for the legislature, among them the failure of the
governor to have a census taken before the election, as provided
by the territorial act, the defective character of the governor's
proclamation ordering the election, allowing aliens to vote, and
the governor's failure to declare the result of the election, his
delayed proclamation being pronounced "worthless for all legal

On September 28 the three non-Mormon officers took their
departure, carrying with them to Washington the disputed money,
which was turned over to the proper officer.*

* Tullidge, in his "History of Salt Lake City," says: "Under the
censure of the great statesman, Daniel Webster, and with ex- Vice
President Dallas and Colonel Kane using their potent influence
against them, and also Stephen A. Douglas, Brandebury, Brocchus,
and Harris were forced to retire." As these officers left the
territory of their own accord, and contrary to Brigham Young's
urgent protest, this statement only furnishes another instance of
the Mormon plan to attack the reputation of any one whom they
could not control. The three officers were criticized by some
Eastern newspapers for leaving their post through fear of bodily
injury, but Congress voted to pay their salaries.

All the correspondence concerning the failure of this first
attempt to establish non-Mormon federal officers in Utah was
given to Congress in a message from President Fillmore, dated
January 9, 1852. The returned officers made a report which set
forth the autocratic attitude of the Mormon church, the open
practice of polygamy,* and the non-enforcement of the laws, not
even murderers being punished. Of one of the allegations of
murder set forth,--that a man from Ithaca, New York, named James
Munroe, was murdered on his way to Salt Lake City by a member of
the church, his body brought to the city and buried without an
inquest, the murderer walking the streets undisturbed, H. H.
Bancroft says, "There is no proof of this statement."** On the
contrary, Mayor Grant in his "Truth for the Mormons" acknowledges
it, and gives the details of the murder, justifying it on the
ground of provocation, alleging that while Egan, the murderer,
was absent in California, Munroe, "from his youth up a member of
the church, Egan's friend too, therefore a traitor," seduced
Egan's wife.

* J. D. Grant, following the example of Colonel Kane, had the
affrontery to say of the charge of polygamy, in one of his
letters to the New York Herald: "I pronounce it false.... Suppose
I should admit it at once? Whose business is it? Does the
constitution forbid it?"

** "History of Utah," p. 460, note.

Young, in a statement to the President, defended his acts and the
acts of the territorial legislature, and attacked the character
and motives of the federal officers. The legislature soon after
petitioned President Fillmore to fill the vacancies by appointing
men "who are, indeed, residents amongst us."


The next federal officers for Utah appointed by the President (in
August, 1852) were Lazarus H. Reid of New York to be chief
justice, Leonidas Shaver, associate justice, and B. G. Ferris,
secretary. Neither of these officers incurred the Mormon wrath.
Both of the judges died while in office, and the next chief
justice was John F. Kinney, who had occupied a seat on the Iowa
Supreme Bench, with W. W. Drummond of Illinois, and George P.
Stiles, one of Joseph Smith's counsel at the time of the
prophet's death, as associates. A. W. Babbitt received the
appointment of secretary of the territory.*

* Some years later Babbitt was killed. Mrs. Waite, in "The Mormon
Prophet" (p. 34) says: "In the summer of 1862 Brigham was
referring to this affair in a tea-table conversation at which
judge Waite and the writer of this were present. After making
some remarks to impress upon the minds of those present the
necessity of maintaining friendly relations between the federal
officers and the authorities of the church, he used language
substantially as follows: 'There is no need of any difficulty,
and there need be none if the officers do their duty and mind
their affairs. If they do not, if they undertake to interfere
with affairs that do not concern them, I will not be far off.
There was Almon W. Babbitt. He undertook to quarrel with me, but
soon afterward was killed by Indians."

The territorial legislature had continued to meet from time to
time, Young having a seat of honor in front of the Speaker at
each opening joint session, and presenting his message. The most
important measure passed was an election law which practically
gave the church authorities control of the ballot. It provided
that each voter must hand his ballot, folded, to the judge of
election, who must deposit it after numbering it, and after the
clerk had recorded the name and number. This, of course, gave the
church officers knowledge concerning the candidate for whom each
man voted. Its purpose needs no explanation.

In August, 1854, a force of some three hundred soldiers, under
command of Lieutenant Colonel E. J. Steptoe of the United States
army, on their way to the Pacific coast, arrived in Salt Lake
City and passed the succeeding winter there. Young's term as
governor was about to expire, and the appointment of his
successor rested with President Pierce. Public opinion in the
East had become more outspoken against the Mormons since the
resignation of the first federal officers sent to the territory,
the "revelation" concerning polygamy having been publicly avowed
meanwhile, and there was an expressed feeling that a non- Mormon
should be governor. Accordingly, President Pierce, in December,
1854, offered the governorship to Lieutenant Colonel Steptoe.

Brigham Young, just before and after this period, openly declared
that he would not surrender the actual government of the
territory to any man. In a discourse in the Tabernacle, on June
19, 1853, in which he reviewed the events of 1851, he said, "We
have got a territorial government, and I am and will be governor,
and no power can hinder it, until the Lord Almighty says,
'Brigham, you need not be governor any longer.'"* In a defiant
discourse in the Tabernacle, on February 18, 1855, Young again
stated his position on this subject: "For a man to come here [as
governor] and infringe upon my individual rights and privileges,
and upon those of my brethren, will never meet my sanction, and I
will scourge such a one until he leaves. I am after him."
Defining his position further, and the independence of his
people, he said: "Come on with your knives, your swords, and your
faggots of fire, and destroy the whole of us rather than we will
forsake our religion. Whether the doctrine of plurality of wives
is true or false is none of your business. We have as good a
right to adopt tenets in our religion as the Church of England,
or the Methodists, or the Baptists, or any other denomination
have to theirs."**

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 187.

** Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 187-188.

Having thus defied the federal appointing power, the nomination
of Colonel Steptoe as Young's successor might have been expected
to cause an outbreak; but the Mormon leaders were always
diplomatic--at least, when Young did not lose his temper. The
outcome of this appointment was its declination by Steptoe, a
petition to President Pierce for Young's reappointment signed by
Steptoe himself and all the federal officers in the territory,
and the granting of the request of these petitioners.

Mrs. C. B. Waite, wife of Associate Justice C. B. Waite, one of
Lincoln's appointees, gives a circumstantial account of the
manner in which Colonel Steptoe was influenced to decline the
nomination and sign the petition in favor of Young.* Two women,
whose beauty then attracted the attention of Salt Lake City
society, were a relative by marriage of Brigham Young and an
actress in the church theatre. The federal army officers were
favored with a good deal of their society. When Steptoe's
appointment as governor was announced, Young called these women
to his assistance. In conformity with the plan then suggested,
Young one evening suddenly demanded admission to Colonel
Steptoe's office, which was granted after considerable delay.
Passing into the back room, he found the two women there, dressed
in men's clothes and with their faces concealed by their hats. He
sent the women home with a rebuke, and then described to Steptoe
the danger he was in if the women's friends learned of the
incident, and the disgrace which would follow its exposure.
Steptoe's declination of the nomination and his recommendation of
Young soon followed.

President Pierce's selection of judicial officers for Utah was
not made with proper care, nor with due regard to the dignity of
the places to be filled. Chief Justice Kinney took with him to
Utah a large stock of goods which he sold at retail after his
arrival there, and he also kept a boarding-house in Salt Lake
City. With his "trade" dependent on Mormon customers, he had
every object in cultivating their popularity. Known as a "Jack-
Mormon" in Iowa, Mrs. Waite declared that his uniform course, to
the time about which she wrote, had been "to aid and abet Brigham
Young in his ambitious schemes," and that he was then "an open
apologist and advocate of polygamy." Judge Drummond's course in
Utah was in many respects scandalous. A former member of the
bench in Illinois writes to me: "I remember that when Drummond's
appointment was announced there was considerable comment as to
his lack of fitness for the place, and, after the troubles
between him and the Mormon leaders got aired through the press,
members of the bar from his part of the state said they did not
blame the Mormons--that it was an imposition upon them to have
sent him out there as a judge. I never heard his moral character
discussed." If the Mormon leaders had shown any respect for the
government at Washington, or for the reputable men appointed to
territorial offices, more attention might be paid to their
hostility manifested to certain individuals.

* "The Mormon Prophet," p. 36, confirmed by Beadle's "Life in
Utah," p. 171.

A few of the leading questions at issue under the new territorial
officers will illustrate the nature of the government with which
they had to deal. The territorial legislature had passed acts
defining the powers and duties of the territorial courts. These
acts provided that the district courts should have original
jurisdiction, both civil and criminal, wherever not otherwise
provided by law. Chapter 64 (approved January 14, 1864) provided
as follows: "All questions of law, the meaning of writings other
than law, and the admissibility of testimony shall be decided by
the court; and no laws or parts of laws shall be read, argued,
cited, or adopted in any courts, during any trial, except those
enacted by the governor and legislative assembly of this
territory, and those passed by the Congress of the United States,
WHEN APPLICABLE; and no report, decision, or doings of any court
shall be read, argued, cited, or adopted as precedent in any
other trial." This obliterated at a stroke the whole body of the
English common law. Another act provided that, by consent of the
court and the parties, any person could be selected to act as
judge in a particular case. As the district court judges were
federal appointees, a judge of probate was provided for each
county, to be elected by joint ballot of the legislature. These
probate courts, besides the authority legitimately belonging to
such tribunals, were given "power to exercise original
jurisdiction, both civil and criminal, as well in chancery as at
common law." Thus there were in the territory two kinds of
courts, to one of which alone a non-Mormon could look for
justice, and to the other of which every Mormon would appeal when
he was not prevented.

The act of Congress organizing the territory provided for the
appointment of a marshal, approved by the President; the
territorial legislature on March 3, 1852, provided for another
marshal to be elected by joint ballot, and for an attorney
general. A nonMormon had succeeded the original Mormon who was
appointed as federal marshal, and he took the ground that he
should have charge of all business pertaining to the marshal's
office in the United States courts. Judge Stiles having issued
writs to the federal marshal, the latter was not able to serve
them, and the demand was openly made that only territorial law
should be enforced in Utah. When the question of jurisdiction
came before the judge, three Mormon lawyers appeared in behalf of
the Mormon claim, and one of them, James Ferguson, openly told
the judge that, if he decided against him, they "would take him
from the bench d--d quick." Judge Stiles adjourned his court, and
applied to Governor Young for assistance; but got only the reply
that "the boys had got their spunk up, and he would not
interfere," and that, if Judge Stiles could not enforce the
United States laws, the sooner he adjourned court the better.*
All the records and papers of the United States court were kept
in Judge Stiles's office. In his absence, Ferguson led a crowd to
the office, seized and deposited in a safe belonging to Young the
court papers, and, piling up the personal books and papers of the
judge in an outhouse, set fire to them. The judge, supposing that
the court papers were included in the bonfire, innocently made
that statement in an affidavit submitted on his return to
Washington in 1857.

* This account is given in Mrs. Waite's "The Mormon Prophet."
Tullidge omits the incident in his "History of Salt Lake City."

Judge Drummond, reversing the policy of Chief Justice Kinney and
Judge Shaver, announced, before the opening of the first session
of his court, that he should ignore all proceedings of the
territorial probate courts except such as pertained to legitimate
probate business. This position was at once recognized as a
challenge of the entire Mormon judicial system,* and steps were
promptly taken to overthrow it. There are somewhat conflicting
accounts of the method adopted. Mrs. Waite, in her "Mormon
Prophet," Hickman, in his confessions, and Remy, in his
"Journey," have all described it with variations. All agree that
a quarrel was brought about between the judge and a Jew, which
led to the arrest of both of them. "During the prosecution of the
case," says Mrs. Waite, "the judge gave some sort of a
stipulation that he would not interfere any further with the
probate courts."

* A member of the legislature wrote to his brother in England, of
Drummond: He has brass to declare in open court that the Utah
laws are founded in ignorance, and has attempted to set some of
the most important ones aside,... and he will be able to
appreciate the merits of a returned compliment some day."

* Tullidge, "History of Salt Lake City," p. 412.

Judge Stiles left the territory in the spring of 1857, and gave
the government an account of his treatment in the form of an
affidavit when he reached Washington. Judge Drummond held court a
short time for Judge Stiles in Carson County (now Nevada)* in the
spring of 1857, and then returned to the East by way of
California, not concealing his opinion of Mormon rule on the way,
and giving the government a statement of the case in a letter
resigning his judgeship.

* The settlement of what is now Nevada was begun by both Mormons
and non-Mormons in 1854, and, the latter being in the majority,
the Utah legislature organized the entire western part of the
territory as one county, called Carson, and Governor Young
appointed Orson Hyde its probate judge. Many persons coming in
after the settlement of California, as miners, farmers, or
stock-raisers, the Mormons saw their majority in danger, and
ordered the non-Mormons to leave. Both sides took up arms, and
they camped in sight of each other for two weeks. The Mormons,
learning that their opponents were to receive reenforcements from
California, agreed on equal rights for all in that part of the
territory; but when the legislature learned of this, it repealed
the county act, recalled the judge, and left the district without
any legal protection whatever. Thus matters remained until late
in 1858, when a probate judge was quietly appointed for Carson
Valley. After this an election was held, but although the
non-Mormons won at the polls, the officers elected refused to
qualify and enforce Mormon statutes.--Letter of Delegate-elect J.
M. Crane of Nevada, "The Mormon Prophet," pp. 4l-45.

After the departure of the non-Mormon federal judges from Utah,
the only non-Mormon officers left there were those belonging to
the office of the surveyor general, and two Indian agents. Toward
these officers the Mormons were as hostile as they had been
toward the judges, and the latest information that the government
received about the disposition and intentions of the Mormons came
from them.

The Mormon view of their title to the land in Salt Lake Valley
appeared in Young's declaration on his first Sunday there, that
it was theirs and would be divided by the officers of the
church.* Tullidge, explaining this view in his history published
in 1886, says that this was simply following out the social plan
of a Zion which Smith attempted in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois,
under "revelation." He explains: "According to the primal law of
colonization, recognized in all ages, it was THEIR LAND if they
could hold and possess it. They could have done this so far as
the Mexican government was concerned, which government probably
never would even have made the first step to overthrow the
superstructure of these Mormon society builders. At that date,
before this territory was ceded to the United States, Brigham
Young, as the master builder of the colonies which were soon to
spread throughout these valleys, could with absolute propriety
give the above utterances on the land question."**

* "They will not, however, without protest, buy the land, and
hope that grants will be made to actual settlers or the state,
sufficient to cover their improvements. If not, the state will be
obliged to buy, and then confirm the titles already given."--
Gunnison. "The Mormons," 1852, p. 414.

** Captain Gunnison, who as lieutenant accompanied Stansbury's
surveying party and printed a book giving his personal
observations, was murdered in 1853 while surveying a railroad
route at a camp on Sevier River. His party were surprised by a
band of Pah Utes while at breakfast, and nine of them were
killed. The charge was often made that this massacre was inspired
by Mormons, but it has not been supported by direct evidence.

When the act organizing the territory was passed, very little of
the Indian title to the land had been extinguished, and the
Indians made bitter complaints of the seizure of their homes and
hunting-grounds, and the establishment of private rights to
canons and ferries, by the people who professed so great a regard
for the "Lamanites." Congress, in February, 1855, created the
office of surveyor general of Utah and defined his duties. The
presence of this officer was resented at once, and as soon as
Surveyor General David H. Burr arrived in Salt Lake City the
church directed all its members to convey their lands to Young as
trustee in trust for the church, "in consideration of the good
will which---- have to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints." Explaining this order in a discourse in the Tabernacle
on March 1, 1857, H. C. Kimball said: "I do not compel you to do
it; the trustee in trust does not; God does not. But He says that
if you will do this and the other things which He has counselled
for our good, do so and prove Him.... If you trifle with me when
I tell you the truth, you will trifle with Brother Brigham, and
if you trifle with him you will also trifle with angels and with
God, and thus you will trifle yourselves down to hell."*

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. IV, pp. 249, 252.

The Mormon policy toward the surveyors soon took practical shape.
On August 30, 1856, Burr reported a nearly fatal assault on one
of his deputies by three Danites. Deputy Surveyor Craig reported
efforts of the Mormons to stir up the Indians against the
surveyors, and quoted a suggestion of the Deseret News that the
surveyors be prosecuted in the territorial court for trespass. In
February, 1857, Burr reported a visit he had had from the clerk
of the Supreme Court, the acting district attorney, and the
territorial marshal, who told him plainly that the country was

They showed him a copy of a report that he had made to
Washington, charging Young with extensive depredations, warned
him that he could not write to Washington without their
knowledge, and ordered that such letter writing should stop. "The
fact is," Burr added, "these people repudiate the authority of
the United States in this country, and are in open rebellion
against the general government.... So strong have been my
apprehensions of danger to the surveyors that I scarcely deemed
it prudent to send any out.... We are by no means sure that we
will be permitted to leave, for it is boldly asserted we would
not get away alive."* He did escape early in the spring.

* For text of reports, see House Ex. Doc. No. 71, 1st Session,
35th Congress.

The reports of the Indian agents to the commissioner at
Washington at this time were of the same character. Mormon
trespasses on Indian land had caused more than one conflict with
the savages, but, when there was a prospect of hostilities with
the government, the Mormons took steps to secure Indian aid. In
May, 1855, Indian Agent Hurt called the attention of the
commissioner at Washington to the fact that the Mormons at their
recent Conference had appointed a large number of missionaries to
preach among the "Lamanites"; that these missionaries were "a
class of lawless young men," and, as their influence was likely
to be in favor of hostilities with the whites, he suggested that
all Indian officers receive warning on the subject. Hurt was
added to the list of fugitive federal officers from Utah, deeming
it necessary to flee when news came of the approach of the troops
in the fall of 1857. His escape was quite dramatic, some of his
Indian friends assisting him. They reached General Johnston's
camp about the middle of October, after suffering greatly from
hunger and cold.

The Mormon leaders could scarcely fail to realize that a point
must be reached when the federal government would assert its
authority in Utah territory, but they deemed a conflict with the
government of less serious moment than a surrender which would
curtail their own civil and criminal jurisdiction, and bring
their doctrine of polygamy within reach of the law. A specimen of
the unbridled utterances of these leaders in those days will be
found in a discourse by Mayor Grant in the Tabernacle, on March
2, 1856:--

"Who is afraid to die? None but the wicked. If they want to send
troops here, let them come to those who have imported filth and
whores, though we can attend to that class without so much
expense to the Government. They will threaten us with United
States troops! Why, your impudence and ignorance would bring a
blush to the cheek of the veriest camp-follower among them. We
ask no odds of you, you rotten carcasses, and I am not going to
bow one hair's breadth to your influence. I would rather be cut
into inch pieces than succumb one particle to such filthiness
.... If we were to establish a whorehouse on every corner of our
streets, as in nearly all other cities outside of Utah, either by
law or otherwise, we should doubtless then be considered good

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, pp. 234-235

Two weeks later Brigham Young, in a sermon in the same place,
said, "I said then, and I shall always say, that I shall be
governor as long as the Lord Almighty wishes me to govern this

* Ibid., p. 258.

In January, 1853, Orson Pratt, as Mormon representative, began
the publication in Washington, D.C., of a monthly periodical
called The Seer, in which he defended polygamy, explained the
Mormon creed, and set forth the attitude of the Mormons toward
the United States government. The latter subject occupied a large
part of the issue of January, 1854, in the shape of questions and
answers. The following will give an illustration of their tone:--

"Q.--In what manner have the people of the United States treated
the divine message contained in the Book of Mormon?

"A.--They have closed their eyes, their ears, their hearts and
their doors against it. They have scorned, rejected and hated the
servants of God who were sent to bear testimony of it.

"Q.--In what manner has the United States treated the Saints who
have believed in this divine message?

"A.--They have proceeded to the most savage and outrageous
persecutions;... dragged little children from their
hiding-places, and, placing the muzzles of their guns to their
heads, have blown out their brains, with the most horrid oaths
and imprecations. They have taken the fair daughters of American
citizens, bound them on benches used for public worship, and
there, in great numbers, ravished them until death came to their

Further answers were in the shape of an argument that the federal
government was responsible for the losses of the Saints in
Missouri and Illinois.


The government at Washington and the people of the Eastern states
knew a good deal more about Mormonism in 1856 than they did when
Fillmore gave the appointment of governor to Young in 1850. The
return of one federal officer after another from Utah with a
report that his office was untenable, even if his life was not in
danger, the practical nullification of federal law, and the light
that was beginning to be shed on Mormon social life by
correspondents of Eastern newspapers had aroused enough public
interest in the matter to lead the politicians to deem it worthy
of their attention. Accordingly, the Republican National
Convention, in June, 1856, inserted in its platform a plank
declaring that the constitution gave Congress sovereign power
over the territories, and that "it is both the right and the duty
of Congress to prohibit in the territories those twin relics of
barbarism--polygamy and slavery."

A still more striking proof of the growing political importance
of the Mormon question was afforded by the attention paid to it
by Stephen A. Douglas in a speech in Springfield, Illinois, on
June 12, 1856, when he was hoping to secure the Democratic
nomination for President. This former friend of the Mormons,
their spokesman in the Senate, now declared that reports from the
territory seemed to justify the belief that nine-tenths of its
inhabitants were aliens; that all were bound by horrid oaths and
penalties to recognize and maintain the authority of Brigham
Young; and that the Mormon government was forming alliances with
the Indians, and organizing Danite bands to rob and murder
American citizens. "Under this view of the subject," said he, "I
think it is the duty of the President, as I have no doubt it is
his fixed purpose, to remove Brigham Young and all his followers
from office, and to fill their places with bold, able, and true
men; and to cause a thorough and searching investigation into all
the crimes and enormities which are alleged to be perpetrated
daily in that territory under the direction of Brigham Young and
his confederates; and to use all the military force necessary to
protect the officers in discharge of their duties and to enforce
the laws of the land. When the authentic evidence shall arrive,
if it shall establish the facts which are believed to exist, it
will become the duty of Congress to apply the knife, and cut out
this loathsome, disgusting ulcer."*

* Text of the speech in New York Times of June 23, 1856.

This, of course, caused the Mormons to pour out on Judge Douglas
the vials of their wrath, and, when he failed to secure the
presidential nomination, they found in his defeat the
verification of one of Smith's prophecies.

The Mormons, on their part, had never ceased their demands for
statehood, and another of their efforts had been made in the
preceding spring, when a new constitution of the State of Deseret
was adopted by a convention over which the notorious Jedediah M.
Grant presided, and sent to Washington with a memorial pleading
for admission to the Union, "that another star, shedding mild
radiance from the tops of the mountains, midway between the
borders of the Eastern and Western civilization, may add its
effulgence to that bright light now so broadly illumining the
governmental pathway of nations"; and declaring that "the loyalty
of Utah has been variously and most thoroughly tested." Congress
treated this application with practical contempt, the Senate
laying the memorial on the table, and the chairman of the House
Committee on Territories, Galusha A. Grow, refusing to present
the constitution to the House.

Alarmed at the manifestations of public feeling in the East, and
the demand that President Buchanan should do something to
vindicate at least the dignity of the government, the Mormon
leaders and press renewed their attacks on the character of all
the federal officers who had criticized them, and the Deseret
News urged the President to send to Utah "one or more civilians
on a short visit to look about them and see what they can see,
and return and report." The value of observations by such "short
visitors" on such occasions need not be discussed.

President Buchanan, instead of following any Mormon advice, soon
after his inauguration directed the organization of a body of
troops to march to Utah to uphold the federal authorities, and in
July, after several persons had declined the office, appointed as
governor of Utah Alfred Cumming of Georgia. The appointee was a
brother of Colonel William Cumming, who won renown as a soldier
in the War of 1812, who was a Union party leader in the
nullification contest in Jackson's time, and who was a
participant in a duel with G. McDuffie that occupied a good deal
of attention. Alfred Cumming had filled no more important
positions than those of mayor of Augusta, Georgia, sutler in the
Mexican War, and superintendent of Indian affairs on the upper
Missouri. A much more commendable appointment made at the same
time was that of D. R. Eckles, a Kentuckian by birth, but then a
resident of Indiana, to be chief justice of the territory. John
Cradlebaugh and C. E. Sinclair were appointed associate justices,
with John Hartnett as secretary, and Peter K. Dotson as marshal.
The new governor gave the first illustration of his conception of
his duties by remaining in the East, while the troops were
moving, asking for an increase of his salary, a secret service
fund, and for transportation to Utah. Only the last of these
requests was complied with.

President Buchanan's position as regards Utah at this time was
thus stated in his first annual message to Congress (December 8,

"The people of Utah almost exclusively belong to this [Mormon]
church, and, believing with a fanatical spirit that he [Young] is
Governor of the Territory by divine appointment, they obey his
commands as if these were direct revelations from heaven. If,
therefore, he chooses that his government shall come into
collision with the government of the United States, the members
of the Mormon church will yield implicit obedience to his will.
Unfortunately, existing facts leave but little doubt that such is
his determination. Without entering upon a minute history of
occurrences, it is sufficient to say that all the officers of the
United States, judicial and executive, with the single exception
of two Indian agents, have found it necessary for their own
safety to withdraw from the Territory, and there no longer
remained any government in Utah but the despotism of Brigham
Young. This being the condition of affairs in the Territory, I
could not mistake the path of duty. As chief executive
magistrate, I was bound to restore the supremacy of the
constitution and laws within its limits. In order to effect this
purpose, I appointed a new governor and other federal officers
for Utah, and sent with them a military force for their
protection, and to aid as a posse comitatus in case of need in
the execution of the laws.

"With the religious opinions of the Mormons, as long as they
remained mere opinions, however deplorable in themselves and
revolting to the moral and religious sentiments of all
Christendom, I have no right to interfere. Actions alone, when in
violation of the constitution and laws of the United States,
become the legitimate subjects for the jurisdiction of the civil
magistrate. My instructions to Governor Cumming have, therefore,
been framed in strict accordance with these principles."

This statement of the situation of affairs in Utah, and of the
duty of the President in the circumstances, did not admit of
criticism. But the country at that time was in a state of intense
excitement over the slavery question, with the situation in
Kansas the centre of attention; and it was charged that Buchanan
put forward the Mormon issue as a part of his scheme to "gag the
North" and force some question besides slavery to the front; and
that Secretary of War Floyd eagerly seized the opportunity to
remove "the flower of the American army" and a vast amount of
munition and supplies to a distant place, remote from Eastern
connections. The principal newspapers in this country were
intensely partisan in those days, and party organs like the New
York Tribune could be counted on to criticise any important step
taken by the Democratic President. Such Mormon agents as Colonel
Kane and Dr. Bernhisel, the Utah Delegate to Congress, were doing
active work in New York and Washington, and some of it with
effect. Horace Greeley, in his "Overland journey," describing his
call on Brigham Young a few years later, says that he was
introduced by "my friend Dr. Bernhisel." The "Tribune Almanac"
for 1859, in an article on the Utah troubles, quoted as "too
true" Young's declaration that "for the last twenty-five years we
have trusted officials of the government, from constables and
justices to judges, governors, and presidents, only to be
scorned, held in derision, insulted and betrayed."* Ulterior
motives aside, no President ever had a clearer duty than had
Buchanan to maintain the federal authority in Utah, and to secure
to all residents in and travellers through that territory the
rights of life and property. The just ground for criticising him
is, not that he attempted to do this, but that he faltered by the

* Greeley's leaning to the Mormon side was quite persistent,
leading him to support Governor Cumming a little later against
the federal judges. The Mormons never forgot this. A Washington
letter of April 24, 1874, to the New York Times said: "When Mr.
Greeley was nominated for President the Mormons heartily hoped
for his election. The church organs and the papers taken in the

Book of the day: