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The question whether Congress has the power, or having it ought to exercise the power of passing laws for the prohibition, or for the protection of particular institutions in the territories is one upon which there is, has been, and possibly will always be a variety of opinions. The Mormons, however, are not dangerous to the peace of the Union only because of their polygamy. That is a social evil, which, however infamous and dangerous it may be, is nevertheless one which is confined within their own territorial limits, and to their own people, There is a large class of people who seem to be horrified at the existence of slavery in some of the states, and who do not hesitate to attribute to that institution a character as revolting in many respects as is attributed to polygamy. Indeed the Republican party have in their platform linked slavery and polygamy as "twin relics of barbarism," which ought to be rooted out by all constitutional means. They disclaim all purpose of interfering with slavery in the states, and we suppose would be equally forbearing to polygamy in the same localities. But against both in the territories they propose to wage a constant war-an "irrepressible conflict."
These men represent that in the slaveholding states, marriage is an institution unknown amongst slaves, and that owners have, and exercise the power of giving slave women to men as wives, and then of separating them, and forming new arrangements by which the husband of one woman is transferred to other women, and the wives of certain men transferred to other men. The anti-slavery orators affect to see but little difference between the moral statutes established amongst slaves, and that existing under the polygamons institutions of the Mormons. Hence, they style them, "those twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery," against whose existence in the territories there must ever exist an "irrepressible conflict.” The Supreme Court has decided that any act of Congress prohibiting slavery in the territories must be void, but no decision in terms that such a power exercised against polygamy has been made. Where the power to prohibit slavery is denied, and where the power to prohibit polygamy is granted to Congress by the Constitution, is a question for constitutional lawyers to determine. The Democratic party unanimously agree that Congress possesses no such power to prohibit slavery; and Congress having no power over one of the "twin relics,"
it is yet to be determined whether the party agree that Congress has the power to prohibit the other "twin relic." If Congress has no power to prohibit slavery, yet has the power to prohibit polygamy or other intercourse between the sexes unless sanctioned by marriage, then Congress may, we presume, legislate upon the marriage relations to be preserved amongst all the slaves who may be taken to the territories, and if Congress may legislate respecting the marriage relations between slaves in the territories, Congress will shortly find that, from the same source whence it derives that authority, it can also obtain the authority to legislate upon the relation between slaves and the white people, and between slaves and their owners. The ultimate end to which the doctrine of intervention by Congress with the internal affairs of the people of the territory must lead is evident. It can not be exercised in one case without necessarily carrying with it an expression of authority to exercise it in all cases. The only safe rule is to abstain from the exercise of all doubtful powers and to leave the people of the territories, as long as they remain faithful to their political obligations, alone to work out their own destiny. But, it may be asked, is there no remedy for the evils in Utah? Must these Mormons go on in their works of evil wholly unchecked and unrestrained by any authority. To these questions it is only necessary to say that polygamy is not the only crime which the Mormons commit against the peace, law, and good order of the republic. They set up their ecclesiastical government in open and direct hostility to the government of the United States; they set up the decrees of their apostles as the "higher law," which it is their duty as well as their pleasure to obey, even when the laws and their obligations as citizens of the United States require a different rule of government. In short, the Mormons, though living upon the soil of the United States, are not of the United States; though living nominally under the government of the United States, that government is not their government, but their government is another established by themselves, of a social and religious character, to which they submit in preference and to the exclusion of all other governments. They are a people and a government wholly independent in all things of the people and government of the United States, and recognize no authority on the part of the government, laws or Constitution
of the United States to require of them the performance of any duty, or abstinence from any acts made unlawful by United States law. They are in organization, sentiment and feeling, as much and as essentially aliens to the United States as if they resided upon the plains of Asia. A territorial government was established in 1850 for the people of Utah, but it was designed and prepared for a people knowing no allegiance on earth save to the American Union. It was not intended for a people who repudiate the Constitution and the Union, declare themselves free and independent of United States authority, and claim for their apostles a power civil and religious far above that of the Constitution and government of the United States.
The searcher after an appropriate remedy for the evils in Utah will not find a practicable or a sufficient one in the exercise of the doubtful power of prohibiting polygamy. Let him go further and he will find the primal cause for all the abominations of Utah, and that cause is the entire disloyalty of the people; their utter repudiation of the American Constitution and laws, and their total want of political fidelity. The territorial government was designed for a portion of the American people; the people of Utah are not Americans in any sense of the word, they are a distinct race and a separate people, having no relations with any other race or people. They are a Mormon people, who bid defiance to, and hold in scorn and contempt, all other people; their government is a Mormon government, having no relations of any kind, much less allegiance to any other government on earth. The existing territorial government is used by these men only to draw money from the Federal treasury—“ quartering upon the Gentiles”—and to cover up and hide as far as possible their enormities. The Act of Congress making polygamy a crime will be treated as a farce. The jurors and sheriffs and witnesses must be Mormons. The party accused of polygamy must be indicted by a grand jury each member of which has from five to twenty wives; he must next be tried by a jury each member of which has a dozen wives. That will be the practical execution of the act to prohibit one of the twin relics of barbarism. The barbarians will be the judges of each other's barbarity.
The only practical remedy for these evils is to treat these
alien barbarians as the government would treat any other nation of aliens who, settling upon American soil, would raise the standard of independence, declare themselves a nation of themselves, and free of all allegiance to the government or people of the United States. Since the Mormons will not become American citizens, will not subject themselves to American laws and American authority, let the territorial government be abolished; let the Mormons become as all other aliens would become, mere residents of the territory which is under the exclusive control and jurisdiction of the United States, and subject beyond all question to the laws of Congress.
As long ago as June, 1857, Mr. Douglas foresaw the evils to result from the persistent refusal of the Mormons to Americanize themselves, and he then proposed a remedy which time has proved to be the only effective one. In his famous speech at Springfield, on the 12th of June, 1857, after having spoken of Kansas affairs and the Dred Scott decision, he thus referred to matters in Utah:
Mr. President, I will now respond to the call which has been made upon me for my opinion of the condition of things in Utah, and the appropriate remedy for existing evils.
The Territory of Utah was organized under one of the acts known as the Compromise measures of 1850, on the supposition that the inhabitants were American citizens, owing and acknowledging allegiance to the United States, and consequently entitled to the benefits of self-government while a territory, and to admission into the Union, on an equal footing with the original states, so soon as they should number the requisite population. It was conceded on all hands, and by all parties, that the peculiarities of their religious faith and ceremonies interposed no valid and constitutional objection to their reception into the Union, in conformity with the federal Constitution, so long as they were in all other respects entitled to admission. Hence the great political parties of the country indorsed and approved the Compromise measures of 1850, including the act for the organization of the Territory of Utah, with the hope and in the confidence that the inhabitants would conform to the Constitution and laws, and prove themselves worthy, respectable and law-abiding citizens. If we are permitted to place credence in the rumors and reports from that country (and it must be admitted that they have increased and strengthened, and assumed consistency and plausibility by each succeeding mail), seven years' experience has disclosed a state of facts entirely different from that which was supposed to exist when Utah was organized. These rumors and reports would seem to justify the belief that the following facts are susceptible of proof:
1st. That nine tenths of the inhabitants are aliens by birth, who have refused to become naturalized, or to take the oath of allegiance, or to do any other act recognizing the government of the United States as the paramount authority in that territory.
2d. That all the inhabitants, whether native or alien born, known as Mormons (and they constitute the whole people of the territory), are bound by
horrid oaths and terrible penalties to recognize and maintain the authority of Brigham Young, and the government of which he is the head, as paramount to that of the United States, in civil as well as religious affairs; and that they will, in due time, and under the direction of their leaders, use all means in their power to subvert the government of the United States, and resist its authority.
3d. That the Mormon government, with Brigham Young at its head, is now forming alliances with the Indian tribes of Utah and the adjoining territories-stimulating the Indians to acts of hostility-and organizing bands of his own followers, under the name of "Danites or Destroying Angels," to prosecute a system of robbery and murder upon American citizens, who support the authority of the United States, and denounce the infamous and disgusting practices and institutions of the Mormon government.
If, upon a full investigation, these representations shall prove true, they will establish the fact that the inhabitants of Utah, as a community, are outlaws and alien enemies, unfit to exercise the right of self-government under the organic act, and unworthy to be admitted into the Union as a state, when their only object in seeking admission is to interpose the sovereignty of the state as an invincible shield to protect them in their treason and crime, debauchery and infamy. (Applause.)
Under this view of the subject, 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 the discharge of their duties, and to enforce the laws of the land. (Applause.)
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. (Applause.) No temporizing policy-no half-way measure will then answer. It has been supposed by those who have not thought deeply upon the subject, that an act of Congress prohibiting murder, robbery, polygamy, and other crimes, with appropriate penalties for those offenses, would afford adequate remedies for all the enormities complained of. Suppose such a law to be on the statute-book, and I believe they have a criminal code, providing the usual punishments for the entire catalogue of crimes, according to the usages of all civilized and Christian countries, with the exception of polygamy, which is practiced under the sanction of the Mormon church, but is neither prohibited nor authorized by the laws of the territory.
Suppose, I repeat, that Congress should pass a law prescribing a criminal code and punishing polygamy among other offences, what effect would it have what good would it do? Would you call on twenty-three grand jurymen with twenty-three wives each, to find a bill of indictment against a poor miserable wretch for having two wives? (Cheers and laughter.) Would you rely upon twelve petit jurors with twelve wives each to convict the same loathsome wretch for having two wives? (Continued applause.) Would you expect a grand jury composed of twenty-three "Danites" to find a bill of indictment against a brother "Danite" for having, under their direction, murdered a Gentile, as they call all American citizens? Much less would you expect a jury of twelve "destroying angels" to find another "destroying angel" guilty of the crime of murder, and cause him to be hanged for no other offense than that of taking the life of a Gentile! No. If there is any truth in the reports we receive from Utah, Congress may pass what laws it chooses, but you can never rely upon the local tribunals and juries