Fruits of Mormonism
(Coloma, CA: Harmon & Springer, 1851
F R U I T S
M O R M O N I S M,
A FAIR AND CANDID STATEMENT OF FACTS
ILLUSTRATIVE OF MORMON PRINCIPLES,
MORMON POLICY, AND MORMON CHARACTER.
BY MORE THAN FORTY EYE-WITNESSES,
N. S L A T E R, A. M.
. . . . . . . . .
HARMON & SPRINGER.
[ ii ]
[ 1 ]
The California emigrants whose misfortune it was to be thrown into Salt Lake valley to spend the past winter, feeling aggrieved at the treatment they received at the hands of the mormons, intended, on reaching California, to write letters to their friends in the states, informing them of their grievances, and advising them not to come to Salt Lake valley to spend a winter so miserably as they had done, unless compeled by stern necessity. This was their intention until they reached Carson's valley, on the east side of the Nevada or California mountains, and for two weeks after the first trains began to arrive there.
But as the emigrants began to accumulate in that valley, waiting for the snow to settle upon the mountains so that the teams could cross over into California, and related to each other their personal experience in Salt Lake valley, and the astounding facts which had come to their knowledge, the idea was suggested to their minds that instead of each individual's writing his own private letter to his friends in the states, the better plan would be to embody the facts in the possession of all in a large pamphlet, containing brief reasonings and logical deductions from those facts, and send copies of the same to their friends at home. The considerations which led to this course were such as the following, viz:
1st, Such a work would give a more full and complete view of the state of things in Salt Lake valley than could be communicated in the compass of a single letter.
2nd. It would be more likely to gain credence and have influence, if the facts should be furnished by a great number of eye witnesses, than it would coming from the pen of a single individual.
( 2 )
It has been the design to admit none but authentic, reliable facts, such as the witnesses were willing to testify to under oath before any court of justice, if called upon to do so. Nor have we obtained only a small part of the facts which could have been, had we thought of doing so before we left the valley. But had we made the effort whilst there, we probably should not have been able to obtain only a small part of the characteristic facts which have heretofore transpired in reference to this most strange and notorious people. We are satisfied there are facts enough of the character which this pamphlet contains, could they be collected, to fill at least one large volume.
It is not the design of the following pages to give a full representation of either mormon principles, mormon policy or mormon character. Only a sketch is intended. Yet we trust it will be sufficient to enable the reader to form a just idea of the principles of action, policy and character, of the mormon people.
The emigrants in making these statements are not prompted by feelings of personal animosity, retaliation or revenge, but by a sense of duty which as United States citizens we owe to ourselves, our country and the world. Should the mormon people receive this testimony as kindly on their part, as it is given on ours, they would take heed to the reproof and amend their ways.
We do not wish needlessly to create a public sentiment against them. We wish simply to tell the truth. If it widens the breach between them and other people, we cannot help it. Their own conduct is the cause. It is not for the sake of persecution that these pages appear before the public. Were it not that the interests of the United States citizens in passing through Salt Lake valley, and especially in wintering there, are sensibly affected by the state of things in the mormon community, we should not trouble ourselves to make mention of them.
We do not wish to be understood that all the mormon people are equally bad. There are many individuals among them who are naturally kind, neighborly and obliging, and who if left to their own course uninfluenced by mormonism, would be worthy citizens, and would gain universal friendship among all who should become acquainted with them. For many of these we feel due respect. The good qualities they may have are not produced by mormonism, but are possessed in spite of it. It is not the genius of mormonism to make folks better but to make them worse. The system is worse than the practice of the members
( 3 )
would be independently of its influence. The leaders in forming such a system are far more to blame than the private members of the church, many of whom are sincere in their adherence to it.
Those emigrants who passed through Salt Lake valley last season and came on to California, being there only a few days or a few weeks, had but little reason, as a general thing, to complain. From policy, the mormons would treat them well, wishing a continuance of like patronage in time to come. Besides, the number of emigrants in the valley some of the time was so great (two or three thousand) as to exert a restraining influence upon the mormons by way of intimidation.
Nor do we complain of the treatment we received when we first arrived in the valley. The cloven foot did not appear until the winter had closed in upon us so that we could not get away. Some few individual emigrants fortunately fell into good hands and spent a very comfortable winter, but the great majority of them felt their condition to be no better than Egyptian bondage.
We suppose there may have been a few bad characters among the emigrants. But the emigrants generally were intelligent, respectable citizens from at least three fourths of the states of the American Union, and from a great number of places in those states, generally strangers to each other until thrown together in Salt Lake valley, and not having very good opportunities even there to become acquainted on account of being scattered throughout the mormon settlements, and the strict system of censorship exercised over them.
So far as any of the emigrants were guilty of misdemeanors, we disapproved of their conduct, and had no more disposition to uphold rascality in them than in mormons or any body else. Nor would we do the least thing to screen them from fair and impartial justice. Our motto is, let all stand or fall according to their intrinsic merits. And let all have a fair and equal chance for justice in all our civil courts according to the customs and usages of civilized nations.
It is not the design of this work to meddle with the religious system of the mormons. It is their civil aspect at which we look. Incidentally, some references will be made to some of their tenets when intimately connected with the subjects upon which we treat, and therefore unavoidable. It is their conduct in a social and civil point of view which we wish to discuss. It is one of the excellences of our republican government that it allows free toleration of all religious opinions. By its organization
( 4 )
all are allowed to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. We presume no one wishes to disturb or abridge the religious privileges of the mormons. We are perfectly willing they should enjoy them as freely as any other people. Among the emigrants who spent the winter in Salt Lake valley were persons of all religious opinions, and persons of no religious opinions. Any proposition to interfere with their religious system, as such, would not have been entertained by them.
The facts contained in this work have been furnished by a great number of eye witnesses. In receiving their testimony the same caution has been exercised to arrive at the truth which is employed in courts of justice in the examination of witnesses. Whenever there has been any discrepancy in the testimony of different individuals the whole testimony has been rejected. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, is what we have sought. We are perfectly satisfied the facts in the main are correct. If there are any deviations from the truth even in minor and unimportant points we have it yet to learn. If any misstatements have been made the blame belongs to those who related the facts.
If any persons should feel disposed to doubt any of the statements contained in these pages, we refer them to any of the witnesses who have given in their testimony, above refered to, who are now here in California, and whose names will be given if necessary; to the 450 emigrants now in California who spent the past winter in Salt Lake valley; to the 100 emigrants now in Oregon who spent the winter in Salt Lake valley; to all the emigrants who spent the past winter there, amounting to nearly 1000, and to all United States citizens who have been intimately acquainted with mormon conduct and mormon character for the last fifteen years, for the truth of the representation of the mormon people given in this work. We are willing to abide their decision. We ask the reader to give these pages a candid and careful perusal without either prejudice or prepossession, and judge for himself.
[ 5 ]
Among the thousands of United States citizens who left their homes for the California gold mines last season, quite a percentage were compelled by various causes to spend the winter in Salt Lake valley. These causes were such as the following, viz: sickness, failure of teams, scantiness of means, and lateness of the season. The mormon people held out great inducements to the emigrants to remain, by telling them what large amounts they could earn in the course of the winter, and promptly paying them cash, at first, for labor. Many by these specious encouragements were induced to tarry for the winter who otherwise would have gone on to California, their much desired destination.
Much enquiry was made by some of the emigrants respecting southern routes to California which might either shorten the time of reaching the Pacific coast, or at least, be safely traveled later in the season. One of these routes was that leading out west from the city along the south end of Salt Lake, across a saline marsh or desert seventy five or eighty miles in width, intersecting the northern route near the Humboldt mountains and the head waters of Mary's river. Another which had been represented to some of the emigrants before reaching the valley as practicable and the shortest of all, led from the city southwesterly along the southern portion of the great California Basin, and entered the southern part of California through Walker's Pass in the Nevada mountains. It is said this pass is better than any other over these lofty and much dreaded mountains, and can be traveled in the winter. The other southern route about which inquiry was made led from Salt Lake city about two hundred miles south over the southern rim of the great California Basin, and thence southerly along the northwest side of the Colorado river to Williams' Ranch and San Diego. On this route are three deserts, one fifty five miles wide, one thirty, and one twenty.
( 6 )
But invariably no encouragement was given by the mormons to any of these routes. The northern one around the north end of Salt Lake extending into the edge of Oregon, and passing over the Nevada mountains near the head waters of Carson's river, though having several deserts, the widest of which is forty miles without grass or water, was always recommended as being the only possible or practicable route by which to reach the gold diggings. It was also said and well known to the emigrants, that ordinarily it would be exceedingly perilous to be later than the first of October in crossing the Nevada mountains on this route. Consequently, unless the emigrants could leave Salt Lake valley sufficiently early to pass over by that time, they would be compelled to spend the winter there.
The mormons had ferries on the Weber and Bear rivers on the northern route, the first about forty, and the second about eighty miles from the city, at each of which from five to eight dollars were charged to the emigrants for each team, and for persons on horse back, on foot, and for loose stock, the prices were in proportion. These ferries were kept by individuals, but all the mormon members being required by the regulations of their church to pay in the form of tything, one tenth of all they make by the business they pursue into the church fund, and all belonging to this church being indirectly benefitted by the increase of that fund, would naturally use their influence to induce emigrants, if they could not retain them in the valley, to take the northern route.
Several motives influenced the minds of the mormons to make efforts to retain emigrants in the valley through the winter, at least such a number as they could easily control. A larger number than they could manage they did not want there at any one time. They wanted their services as laborers in the prosecution of the different kinds of business carried on by mormons in the valley. The emigrants being transient persons and not established in any permanent business, could be employed at lower rates of wages than those for which mormons were willing to labor, consequently those who had to employ large numbers of hands would make quite a speculation by such an operation. Besides, they were often better workmen in the various mechanic arts. A sufficient number of mormon hands could not be employed at any price in the early fall to answer the demand. More money could be made by business men in employing emigrants than in employing mormons not only by the lesser wages given, but by an easier mode of paying them, as the
( 7 )
reader will have opportunity to see in the perusal of the following pages.
Another motive which prompted efforts to retain emigrants, was the tax of two per cent on their property which they would have to pay to the mormon authorities if they should remain through the winter. The emigrants, however, had not the knowledge of this requisition, when they consented to remain, nor until the latter part of winter. The mormons also hoped that by remaining through the winter, numbers of them might embrace mormonism, join the church and become permanent settlers in the valley. A few individuals, generally supposed not from principle but from policy, did join the mormon church. The number however was quite small. Most of the emigrants had less and less disposition to do so, the longer they remained, and the more developments of the mysteries and fruits of the system they saw.
Notwithstanding the efforts made to either lead them around the north end of Salt Lake, or retain them in the valley through the winter, companies having obtained, by one means and another, some information respecting the southern route by Williams' Ranch, were frequently starting all the fall until the month of November. If the emigrants had generally had correct knowledge of this route on their arrival in the valley, the most of them would have made arrangements to leave Salt Lake some time in the fall and prosecute their journey to the Pacific coast. It is true, this route is longer than the northern one, and there is more desert country to be crossed, yet many of the emigrants would have prefered to travel that route in the winter season to remaining in the valley as they could thereby reach California much earlier in the spring, it being impossible to cross the Nevada mountains on foot or on horseback before May, and with wagons before June.
Some of the emigrants were the more easily persuaded to remain in the valley from having become very much wearied in the journey from the states thus far, and ardently desiring the repose of even a temporary stopping place. It seemed a great task to finish out the balance of so long and laborious a journey as that from Salt Lake to California, (about 800 miles the northern route to Sacramento City) without some respite in their toils and fatigues, especially to those who had not been accustomed to hardships in the states.
Such provisions as the soil produced were abundant in the valley. Emigrants had reason to believe that there was an ample supply for all
( 8 )
who should remain through the winter, and therefore if they had the means to purchase, they would not starve. The mormons repeatedly said business was dull in California, that there was a scarcity of provisions there, that it would be difficult for one to obtain his board the winter season for his services, and that the emigrants could reach that country as early in the spring as would be desirable. Every thing was said by the leaders publicly and privately that could well be said, to discourage both mormons and emigrants from going to California and persuade them to remain in the valley.
It was with great reluctance and repeated struggles of mind, that the emigrants finally surrendered their long cherished intention of going through to California the same season they started, and came to the conclusion to make Salt Lake valley their tarrying place through the winter. It was grievous to them to be disappointed in the calculations they made when they left the states, and thwarted in the accomplishment of their favorite plans. They still had a lurking belief that it would be better for them in a pecuniary point of view to reach California last fall, become acquainted with the country, earn what they could through the winter, and be ready for the successful prosecution of business in the spring, than to remain in Salt Lake valley through the winter, arrive in California late the following spring and have every thing to learn after their arrival. But all things weighed and balanced, they at length concluded to acquiesce in what appeared to them at the time to be the demand of preponderating circumstances, and while away the tedious months of winter as best they could.
The number of emigrants who thus spent the winter in Salt Lake valley in pursuance of such decision is not precisely known to us, but is supposed to have been at least, eight or nine hundred, and may possibly have been one thousand. One hundred including men women and children went to Oregon, and four hundred and fifty (three hundred and fifty men and one hundred women and children) came to California the northern route the past spring. We are informed that near two hundred emigrants went the southern route to the southern part of California along with a large train of 500 mormons. Some small companies went back to the states, and many remained in the valley not being able to get away for the want of means.
But the point of staying for the winter having been settled, the emigrants began immediately to cast about and make arrangements for the
( 9 )
prosecution of such kinds of business as were at hand. Some engaged in one thing, and some in another, finding employ wherever they could. Some engaged in the harvest field, some in cutting hay, some in carpenter and joiner work, some in blacksmithing, some in shoemaking, some in tayloring, some in drawing firewood from the caņons (in Salt Lake commonly spelt kanyons) of the mountains to the city, some in burning charcoal, some in ditching for fencing purposes, some in making shingles, some in cutting and drawing saw logs to the mills, some in teaching, some in the medical profession, &c. &c. Some persons resorted to manual labor who had not been much accustomed to it heretofore because there was nothing else to which they could turn their hands.
Thus distributed in the different avocations and employments which were at hand, they industriously busied themselves during the fall months. There was a general expectation among the emigrants that they would not only pay their current expenses by their labor whilst there, but would be able also to considerably better their circumstances over and above their living, so that they would be able to leave the valley with a greater amount of property than they brought into it. -- This, however, was not the fact. There was a very general disappointment among the emigrants as to the results of their winter's employ. They did not find themselves as well off in the spring as they expected in the fall they should be after having the avails of their winter's labor. As a general thing they not only did not make any thing, but left the valley poorer than they entered it. The reasons of this sad reverse of the reasonable expectations cherished in the fall will appear in the sequel.
The emigrants in the early part of the fall were quite well treated by most of the mormons. It is a universal custom among them to call each other brothers and sisters. The use of these endearing appellations in their social intercourse, naturally cultivates their social affections towards one another. Their clanishness, their isolated condition, to a great extent shut out from all other communities, and the genius of their society organization, containing multifarious offices and relationships, all contribute to heighten the force of affection and attach the people the more strongly to each other, to their fraternity, and to their system. When emigrants are among them most of the mormon members, if left to the untrameled exercise of the generous impulses of their social natures, would treat them kindly, transfering a part of their affections to
( 10 )
the emigrants which they were wont to bestow upon one another. This was the case for some time after our arrival in the valley. We then felt that we were among a social and kind people. But late in the fall and especially in the early winter an over reaching and hard hearted policy began to be manifested throughout the valley. The wages of emigrants were reduced, cash was withheld from them by counsel of the leaders in payment of their dues, there were fewer openings for business and less demand for labor. Many of the emigrants had more or less difficulty in finding situations where they could be employed through the winter, and some could scarcely find enough to do to pay for their board. The most of the emigrants were necessitated to labor for such compensation as the mormons saw fit to give, and for such kind of pay as they saw fit to make. There was no alternative. Some of the emigrants had sold the mormons property for which they were to receive their pay in the winter or spring.
The heads of the mormon church had become greatly alarmed at the vast amounts of money which their people had freely paid to the merchants for their commodities. In some instances four or five thousand dollars per day had been taken in for goods at individual stores when first opened. The people having been so long deprived of the opportunity of purchasing adequate supplies, rushed in large crowds to the stores from all parts of the settlements, even 20, 30, and 40 miles distant, to obtain such things as they wanted. The inhabitants were the more eager to purchase because they did not suppose there was a sufficient supply for the demand, especially of some kinds of goods, and knew that those who should come first would be first served. -- They paid their money the more freely to the merchants, because they had obtained a large proportion of it from the California emigrants who had passed early in the season by selling them such articles as they wanted at enormous prices, asking from twenty five cents to one dollar per pound for flour, and for other things in proportion. Having obtained their money easily it went freely.
The merchants who had brought their goods from the states must use the money they had received to either pay for the goods already purchased or others which they wished to purchase. In either case the money would go out of the valley to the states. This would diminish the amount in circulation and make it scarce among the people. Considerable effort was made by the mormon leaders to prevent the people from purchasing
( 11 )
so large amounts of goods, and the merchants from carrying off what they had already received. In order to pacify the leading mormons, be suffered to prosecute their wonted business with less hindrance, and secure a greater amount of patronage, some of the merchants joined the church.
But the balance of trade being unavoidably against the mormon people on account of their inland location, and consequently so far as that trade is carried on, necessarily draining the country of its circulating medium, the plan was devised of withholding from emigrants who were to tarry through the winter, all cash so far as it could be done under any plausible pretext. * This was designed to compensate in part for the large amounts already paid to the merchants. If the nearly 1000 emigrants in the valley should be paid their dues in cash, it would still further drain the country of its money. They wished to guard against this, and the leaders counseled the people not to pay the emigrants any money when they could possibly avoid it, and not suffer them to carry any out of the valley if they had any plausible excuse for getting it away from them. By this edict from head quarters, the sympathies of the mormon people were dried up, their attitude and their conduct towards the emigrants suddenly changed, and they seemed more disposed to injure than to befriend them.
Thus were the emigrants oppressed through the past winter. But the state of things grew worse and worse from fall to spring. Not only was there a diminution in the wages paid for labor, but there was a deterioration in the quality of the pay, and an increasing reluctance to pay any thing whatever. Many of the emigrants who had either loaned the mormons money, sold them property upon credit, or labored for them, were compelled to come away without their pay. Every expedient was resorted to, to draw upon the resources of the emigrants, and cripple them in getting sufficient outfits to leave the valley. Some could not get away without aid from their friends. Others, not able to get this aid, had to remain in the valley. Thus the emigrants were sorely abused and oppressed by a people professing to be religious, but who in point of fact, when under the influence of mormon edicts, are as clanish, hard-hearted,
* That there was a general concerted plan to this effect became apparent to the emigrants in the beginning of winter. They discovered that it was the design to either pay them in truck of one kind and another, or to defer payment until spring.
( 12 )
over reaching, and reckless of the rights of others, as either swindlers or robers.
This line of policy was adopted and pursued by the mormon church when it had large amounts of money in its treasury. They were more influenced by self than by the claims of justice. They would sooner hoard up the money to carry on their favorite plans of business, than to use it to pay their honest debts. One of their leading men the past spring stated to an emigrant that the church had $50,000 in coin on hand in its treasury to send to the states to aid poor brethren in moving to Salt Lake valley the present season. Cash was too good a species of property for California emigrants to bring away from Salt Lake valley, but it answered very well for the latter day saints to use in bringing in their brethren from the United States and from Europe.
Emigrants stand no chance of obtaining justice by legal process in the mormon courts when their opponent is a mormon. The mormon courts in all such cases invariably favor the mormon members even at the expense of justice, and contrary to all the evidence adduced. Some of the more candid and upright among them acknowledge this to be their policy and advise emigrants to avoid law suits with mormons on that account. There was a general impression among the emigrants that there was no manner of use in going to law with mormons in mormon courts for the recovery of debts. In almost every instance, those who resorted to the law to collect their dues, not only failed to collect any thing, but had either a part or the whole of the cost to pay also. It is one of the strangest of the most strange things that however the suit may issue, whether in favor of the one or the other of the parties, the emigrant is almost as certain to have either a part or all the cost to pay as the sun is to rise. If an emigrant is sued, and procures a non-suit he often has the cost to pay. If he sues a mormon and the evidence in his favor is so clear as to be irresistible, still he will, in some mysterious way, have either a part or all the cost to pay. The costs, too, especially where emigrants have them to pay, are enormous. Says an emigrant, who spent the winter in Salt Lake valley, "I have had some suits there and have become somewhat acquainted with their legal proceedings from which I have learned that the cost of a summons from a justice of the peace is six dollars, the service by a constable six dollars, the charge for mileage one dollar and fifty cents each mile, and other fees either in proportion or still more oppressive." He further adds, "In one
( 13 )
suit which I had, the court said I was not guilty, but should pay the cost of suit."
Some of the mormons who hold offices, said to certain emigrants, if they should not show favor to their brethren, but should administer impartial justice to emigrants as well as to mormons, they would lose their offices; that they were counseled from head quarters not only to favor their brethren, but also to endeavor to get away from the traveler passing through their country, his money and effects in every way in which it could be done, from common trade to highway robery and murder. These are startling allegations, but the emigrants have become thoroughly convinced of their truth by the most indubitable evidence furnished them in the process of their own bitter experience. They were disinclined to believe evil of the mormons faster than demonstrative evidence multiplying thick and fast around them irresistibly forced conviction upon their minds. They could not readily believe the evidence of their own eyes. Their belief did not keep pace with the evidence, but lingered in the rear. Especially was this the case with those who had had but little previous acquaintance with mormonism. They were not prepared to believe mormon principles and mormon policy as bad as they really were.
Patrick Kyler, a young man, and California emigrant, who came into Salt Lake valley last season, worked four months at the rate of $25 per month for a mormon who had just commenced the pottery business on the eastern border of the city. A week or two before he quit work he was sent by his employer to mill with a grist. Soon after he started, one of the neighbors came out as he was going by the house and asked him to take a little additional grain in his wagon to mill for him. He did so, but not returning until late in the evening, he took the entire load home. The next morning when he hitched up his team he took
( 14 )
the small grist of his neighbor home to his house. His employer asked him what he had been doing and he told the circumstances.
After his time was out he asked his employer for his wages who refused to pay him, and accused him of having stolen some of his flour and sold it to his neighbor. Mr. Kyler sued his employer for his wages, and proved on the trial by the man for whom he he took the small grist, the facts in the case as they were, that he took a small grist for him to the mill and brought it back after being ground, yet strange to tell, this testimony was disregarded and the young man was adjudged in the mormon courts guilty of stealing. He was punished for his crime by having the $100 due him for services taken to satisfy the mormon authorities and pay the costs of suit. He received nothing.
At the time the emigrants were leaving Salt Lake valley last spring, he had not means enough to come away. Some young men who owned a team offered to give him his passage to California if he could purchase his own provisions to eat on the way, but he had not the means to do it, and therefore was obliged to remain in Salt Lake valley.
Upon no principle of law or justice could this man be accused of theft. He was wrongfully, unjustly, and cruelly, accused. He was perfectly innocent of all crime and yet by means of this false accusation, he was swindled out of his four months wages. If such treatment of California emigrants is not iniquitous and oppressive, these terms are wholly without signification. This is no more nor less than a mormon trick to swindle an emigrant out of his just dues. Any thing for a pretext will answer their purpose. Such mormons are devoid not only of all sense of justice, but of every feeling of humanity. Let a young man labor all winter to get means to prosecute his journey to California in the spring under the bouyant expectation of being able to accomplish his design, and then most cruelly and suddenly blast all his hopes by swindling him out of all his means, and you will see an illustration of mormon principles and mormon policy.
During the past winter an emigrant was living in a house in Salt Lake city adjacent to another house occupied by a mormon family. On a certain morning a hen was found dead about mid way between the two houses. The mormon accused the emigrant's family of having killed the hen, and prosecuted the emigrant for the recovery of damages. The hen had no marks of violence upon it, and no proof could be adduced upon the trial, that any body killed it. The emigrant's wife made oath
( 15 )
that she did not kill it, yet without proof, the court rendered a verdict against the emigrant, Mr. Samuel Hammond, for $10 damages, and $8 cost. The common price of hens in the valley at the time was from 25 to 50 cents each. Why they should render a verdict of ten dollars damages for a hen worth no more than fifty cents, is marvelous; and why they should render a verdict at all against a man without evidence, is equally strange. This is another mormon trick to swindle an emigrant out of his property. The finding of the dead hen furnished a pretext for instituting a suit to recover any amount of damages the cupidity of a mormon might demand. Had forty or fifty dollars been demanded, it probably would have been granted on the same principle that the ten dollars were. It seems the verdict had no reference to the value of the hen. The verdict was rendered upon some other principle. The ten dollars were twenty times the value of the hen, and the amount might just as well have been fifty or one hundred times the hen's value. One would suppose that the idea would be suggested to this mormon's mind of buying up all the hens in Salt Lake valley if he could make nine dollars and fifty cents on each one by such a speculation. He could even afford to send to California for hens to take to Salt Lake, because they can be bought in Sacramento City for about $4 apiece, and in southern California for half that sum.
Dr. Vaughn of Missouri was shot last winter in one of the southern mormon settlements of Utah Territory by a mormon of the name of Hamilton. This was done at night near Mr. Hamilton's house. Mr. Hamilton borrowed a pistol and prepared it beforehand for the express purpose of killing Dr. V. The pretence was, a suspicion that Dr. Vaughn was too familiar with his wife.
The trial of Hamilton came off some time afterwards in Salt Lake City at the Bowery or mormon meeting house. On the trial, as it was called, which did not last more than fifteen minutes, not a single witness was sworn. A few questions were asked to persons not under oath, and whom Hamilton had brought with him for the purpose of telling a tale favorable to his interests. He furnished them with horses to ride to the city, and paid their board in the city. Immediately after the questions had been asked, and a few remarks had been made by one and another, in a desultory manner, without any organization of a court, or even of a business meeting, it was motioned and seconded that Mr. Hamilton be
( 16 )
acquitted. The motion unanimously carried. On this occasion not a word of proof was brought forward to show that Dr. V. was guilty of any crime whatever. Immediately after the acquittal those present uttered loud cheers, and said to Mr. Hamilton, God bless you brother Hamilton. Brigham Young attended as an advocate for Mr. Hamilton. He said he did not appear as the prophet of the Lord then, but only as Brigham Young.
This transaction shows the informality of legal proceedings among the mormons, that the supremacy of the law is not always maintained in Salt Lake valley, and that there is a power among them which is above and independent of law. They can try a man for his life without even the forms of law, and without juries, judges, or organized courts. Before Mr. Hamilton arrived in Salt Lake City for trial, Brigham Young had said that he must be cleared, and because whatever he says must be done in Salt Lake valley, generally is done, it was expected he would be cleared, though guilty of murder in the eye of the law of civilized nations. The acquittal of Mr. Hamilton was a justification of the act of killing Dr. Vaughn. The mormon leaders approved that act, not so much on account of their zeal for virtue, as from an avaricious desire to enrich the treasury of the church by the confiscation of his property after his death, and an appropriation of it to their own use. This confiscation they actually made.
Mr. William Galloway sued Mr. J. W. Goodell on account, before Capt. Brown, a justice of the peace in and for the county of Weber, situated in Salt Lake valley about forty miles north of Salt Lake City. -- These men had had a deal with each other. Mr. Goodell was owing Mr. Galloway $27.30. Mr. Galloway had borrowed an auger of Mr. Goodell and had lent three bushels of his wheat to a third person. Mr. Galloway, being in the city, sent for his pay intending to go soon the southern route to California. Mr. Goodell immediately sent him his pay, deducting out the value of the auger and wheat, estimating them at the prices which were current at the time and place when they were had by Galloway; well knowing that this was his only opportunity to get his pay, and that Galloway was the only man on whom he had any claim.
But Mr. Galloway was offended, went immediately to Brownsville and sued Mr. Goodell for the estimated value of the auger and wheat, $11, which he considered the unpaid balance of his demand. At the trial before the justice, a jury of six persons was called. Capt. Brown, the acting
( 17 )
justice in the case, lived at Brownsville, and invited Mr. Dana, a justice of the peace from Ogden, a few miles distant, to sit with him on the trial. After the testimony had been given and the lawyers on both sides had finished their pleas, Mr. Brown got up, and instead of giving a charge to the jury as is usual and as a justice ought to do, simply pettifogged for Galloway, stating to the jury they need not leave their seats to bring in their verdict, intimating unblushingly that it should be in favor of Galloway. Mr. Dana then arose and sustained Mr. Brown, urging upon the jury the same things. But the jury, notwithstanding the efforts of the justices, retired, and after deliberation, brought in their decision, no cause of action.
Galloway then appealed the suit to the county court of Weber county, before which it was tried. In this second trial the jury did not agree, four being in favor of no cause of action, and two thinking that an abatement of fifty cents should be made on each bushel of wheat lent, because it could be bought that much cheaper at the time of trial than when the wheat was taken from Mr. Goodell. This would have given Galloway $1.50, and thrown the cost upon Goodell. A new trial before the same court was granted, and a new jury was called which brought in no cause of action. * Mr. Galloway then took an appeal to the supreme court of Salt Lake City, and immediately after went to Capt. Brown, before whom the case was first tried, and swore out a writ of attachment on Mr. Goodell's property to secure the cost for the next court.
The sheriff was sent by Capt. Brown, to either attach Mr. Goodell's property and bring it to Brownsville, a distance of nearly twenty miles, or collect of Mr. Goodell half the costs which had been made in the three trials, amounting to all of $110. Mr. Goodell had previously left the frontier settlements in company with other emigrants and proceeded as far as Willow Creek for the double purpose of recruiting his animals preparatory to proceeding on his journey to Oregon, and also to get away from a community which he had found so intolerable as that of the mormons. No stock had eaten off the grass and it was better than could be found in the vicinity of the settlements. It was however so early (about the last of February or first of March) that the old snow covered a part of the ground and there were frequent fresh snows.
* On this last trial an effort was made to smuggle in accounts which were not on file at the first trial.
( 18 )
The sheriff called on Mr. Goodell and made known to him hid business. Mr. Goodell, though viewing it as unjust and illegal, offered to turn out his six yoke of fine oxen, his only team with which to go to Oregon, but the sheriff would not accept them without the wagons and their contents also, thus turning Mr. Goodell's family into the snow which was then eight inches deep, without either wagons or tents to shelter them from the merciless storms which, at that season of the year, were very severe in Salt Lake valley.
Mr. Goodell, rather than have his wagons torn from him, and his family of women and children turned out into the snow fifteen miles from the nearest settlement, finally consented to pay half the cost which had been made, and accordingly forked over fifty five dollars cash to satisfy the unjust and illegal demand.
Here was an effort made to oppress an emigrant. Not owing any thing, there was no cause of action against him. He was not legally holden to pay a cent's cost already incured, nor was he under any legal or moral obligation to jeopardize or encumber his property to secure any costs which might afterwards be made by Galloway's appeal. It legally belonged to him to secure the costs which might result from his own appeal. The issuing of an attachment for Mr. Goodell's property was illegal and unjust. There was no claim upon it, and the demand of $55, to pay one half of the cost was equally illegal and unjust. It was nothing but mere extortion. The inexorable demand of the sheriff, if he had had any legal claim upon Mr. Goodell, not being satisfied, with twelve oxen, worth about $500, to secure the costs to be made in an attempt to collect eleven dollars, but insisting on taking away his wagons and their contents, and turning his family into the snow, shows a want of sympathy and humanity. It shows a hard-heartedness and an extortionary disposition characteristic of the mormon people. It showed a wanton disposition to annoy, incommode, and needlessly distress an innocent and respectable family of a minister of the gospel, to gratify avarice and mormon intolerance.
A man by the name of Smith was sued to recover payment for driving eight head of cattle twelve miles. When the officer went to serve the summons upon Mr. Smith, he was gone away from home, and received no notice of the trial. Yet the summons was returned and the trial held [without] the knowledge of the defendant. A judgment of fifty dollars
( 19 )
was rendered, -- forty to pay for driving the cattle, and ten to cover the cost made by the justice and constable.
The trial being an exparte one, the judgment was illegal. Still an attachment was issued to secure the payment of the judgment. For this purpose the officer went and attached sixty two head of cattle, worth forty dollars each on an average, and in the aggregate, two thousand four hundred and eighty dollars! What an enormous sum to secure so small a debt! How unlike legal proceedings in civilized countries! -- If one day's work of one man driving cattle and a little service of a justice of the peace and a petty constable cost in Salt Lake valley $2480, or even jeopardizes that amount of property, we would recommend to people to transact their own business and not employ others to do it for them.
And what was the motive for attaching so large a number of Mr. Smith's cattle? Not surely to secure the debt; for two of the cattle would have more than secured the fifty dollars, and would have been deemed ample any where else but in Salt Lake valley. But the motive was simply this: the officer is allowed five cents per day for each head of stock he should attach to pay him for taking care of it, and the greater the number, the greater his fees. In this instance he would be allowed three dollars and ten cents per day for taking care of this stock over and above his other fees. Mr. Smith, although regarding the proceeding as illegal, and the demand extortionary and unjust, nevertheless reluctantly consented to pay it, being compelled by the force of circumstances.
This transaction also shows the illegality, informality, injustice and recklessness of legal proceedings in Salt Lake valley. It also shows the disposition which mormons there manifest to extort property from the emigrants and oppress them when in their power.
A Mr. Baker, a California emigrant, and a Mr. Gilbert, a mormon, started from the eastern part of Iowa near Montrose, last season to travel together as far as Salt Lake. The mormon, not having sufficient outfit of his own, needed some assistance. Mr. Baker neighborly and kindly lent him forty dollars in money, and a yoke of oxen to use on the journey, only requiring him to draw two hundred pounds of his flour as long as he should have the use of his oxen.
Mr. Baker had several passengers whom he was taking through to California, who occasionally ate pudding or mush and milk with the
( 20 )
family of the mormon as they prefered it to meat. The family had plenty of milk and corn meal and therefore could furnish these accommodations without serious inconvenience. But Mr. Baker, to compensate them for these neighborly acts, frequently gave them bacon, coffee, sugar, rice &c., considered to be of equal value.
As they were journeying along the road, Mrs. Gilbert, the wife of the mormon, would frequently step upon the graves of Missourians, which were numerous along the road last year, and disdainfully and contemptuously stamp them down, because the Missourians had driven the mormons out of their state a few years ago. Mr. Baker remonstrated with her for so doing, saying she did not know that these were the same individuals who did it. She however persisted in the practice of stamping upon the graves of all who hailed from Missouri. He finally told her he would rather bring two mahometans than one mormon through to Salt Lake, and that Brigham Young was a whoremaster. Finding it unpleasant to travel in company with the mormon family on account of having his feelings outraged by Mrs. Gilbert's conduct, he asked for his oxen and flour and started on towards Salt Lake, arriving several days before the mormon family, and waited their arrival to obtain the lent money which he needed to bear his expenses on the balance of the journey to California.
After Mr. Gilbert's arrival, Mr. Baker saw him and nearly completed arrangements by which he was speedily to receive his pay, but Mrs. Gilbert opposed it, wearing the breeches instead of her husband whom they better fitted. Despairing of getting his pay, except by legal process, he sued Mr. Gilbert before Willard Snow and obtained judgment for the debt. Mrs. Gilbert went immediately to judge Hendricks and obtained an order for a new trial, filing new papers making a charge for pudding and milk eaten by Baker's passengers on the way, and accusing Mr. B. of slandering the mormon people. The trial lasted three days. Dr. Willard Richards, one of the twelve mormon apostles, a counselor to the first presidency of the mormon church, secretary of state of the organized state of Deseret, editor of the only paper published in Salt Lake valley, post master in Salt Lake City, &c., was counsel for Mr. Gilbert.
In the course of his sage remarks on this occasion, he uttered the following strange language, saying, "what was law one day, was not law another day; that they, (the mormons,) were governed by the Holy
( 21 )
Ghost." In the course of the trial efforts were made to impeach Mr. Baker's character, a subject entirely foreign to the question at issue. It is said that Orson Hyde, one of the twelve apostles, who had just arrived at Salt Lake from the state of Iowa, where he resides and publishes the Frontier Guardian, opposed the course taken by the court in impeaching Mr. Baker's character, as improper and unjust, that he was several times checked by his mormon brethren and requested to desist, and afterwards was taken one side and privately rebuked for taking the part of an emigrant. Having just come from the United States, a land of civilization and of law, he was too much imbued with a sense of justice to suit the tastes of the nefarious mormon faction. Mr. Baker was adjudged guilty of slander against the mormons and judgment was rendered against him a little exceeding his claim against Mr. Gilbert so as to throw the cost upon him. Mr. Baker was about out of money, had to borrow some of his friends and sell some of his team to pay his expenses, and get through to California.
Thus after having waited in Salt Lake valley both before and after the arrival of the mormon who owed him, and carried his suit through two successive courts for the recovery of the money he had lent in neighborly kindness, he was most cruelly and unjustly thrown out of it by the mormon authorities, which it is pretended are governed by the Holy Ghost. It seems, then, that the Holy Ghost teaches the mormons to cheat a man out of his just dues if he happens to fall into their power. The mormon law, which is one thing to-day and another thing tomorrow, in more than nine cases out of ten where emigrants have suits with mormons, changes and veers about like a weather cock in the wind, so that injustice and oppression are thrown upon the emigrant, as the entire catalogue of such suits in mormon courts will show to any one who will take the trouble to examine. According to the mormon notion the Holy Ghost dictates one thing to-day and another thing tomorrow, but all things to favor the latter day saints at the expense of all others. If Mr. Gilbert and his wife had had the Holy Ghost in them, as Dr. Richards contended the mormons have, they would promptly and cheerfully have paid Mr. Baker his dues, and would have been ready to reciprocate the favors already received by lending him a yoke of oxen to finish out the balance of his journey to California, if he needed. In point of fact this pretence of being under divine influence in the practice of such inquiries, is the verriest hypocrisy ever exhibited by mortals.
( 22 )
This trial produced quite a sensation among a few of the mormons and the emigrants generally who were knowing to the circumstances. Mr. B. had a few warm friends who were mormons and who were disgusted with the mormon authorities.
A few months ago a party was held in the old fort in Salt Lake City, to which two men came without tickets, the one, Mr. Hatch, a mormon, the other, Mr. Kelley, an emigrant. The managers ordered them both to leave. Mr. Kelley started, and on reaching the door said Mr. Hatch had no ticket, and besides, he himself had been invited by one of the company to attend. Some altercation ensued. But finally Mr. Kelley left, Mr. Stevenson, one of the managers, following him out doors and requesting him to make no disturbance and go away. Mr. Kelley started to leave, but Mr. Hatch, who had followed Mr. Stevenson out doors seized a club and struck Mr. Kelley, knocking him down, saying he would take care of him, and walked towards the house. Mr. Kelley immediately jumped up, seizing a club and knocking Mr. Hatch down in turn.
Mr. Kelley and Mr. Hatch sued each other the same day, but Mr. Kelley the earliest in the day. However, Mr. Hatch's suit was brought on first and tried, and Mr. Kelley was sentenced to wear the ball and chain ten years and be confined to hard labor as the penalty of the mormon law for an ordinary assault and battery. Afterwards Mr. Kelley's suit was brought on and tried. Mr. Kelley gave the names of certain persons to the justice to be subpoened as witnesses, who were not. No witnesses but mormons were allowed. An attempt was made to prove that Mr. Hatch was a member of the party, although the lady of the house where the party was held had already testified on the first trial that Mr. Hatch was not invited. Mr. Kelley wished to prove in this trial the same thing, but was not allowed to do so. After the witnesses were examined, Mr. K. asked the privilege of making some remarks, but the sheriff, who was also advocate for Mr. Hatch on this trial, told him to sit down. The result of the trial was an acquittal of Mr. Hatch.
Here is an instance of two men guilty of the same offence, tried by the same authorities, the one sentenced to ten years hard labor, wearing the ball and chain at the same time, and the other whose crime was the worst as having been the aggressor, acquitted and set free to run at large. This is mormon justice with a vengeance. This is fickle minded law, which is one thing to-day and another and quite different thing to-morrow.
( 23 )
This shows that it is an invariable rule among the mormons to show favor to their brethren when at law with the gentiles, as they call all others but themselves. The penalty in this case was entirely disproportionate to the crime. In civilized countries so great a punishment is not inflicted for so small an offence. Besides, great partiality was shown in punishing so severely the one, and clearing the other of two men guilty of the same offence.
Mr. Kelley was trameled with a chain fastened to his ancle at one end and the other to a cast iron ball weighing several pounds, and thus set to work to suffer the penalty of mormon law, and give then years of service from a short life to subserve the interests of the mormon church. But Mr. K. was not a very profitable laborer. He would work no longer than he was watched, and no harder than was compatible with his ease. It required as much labor to watch him and keep him employed as all he performed for the mormons. Whenever he could get opportunity in the temporary absence of his overseer, he would seize a sharp axe, lay his chain on a log and chop it off; thus freeing himself from the ball and a part of the chain, a small portion still remaining attached to his ancle. He must then be taken to the blacksmith's shop and have his chain mended and the ball fastened on again. He continued in this way for a while, working when he was compelled to, and chopping off his chain as he had opportunity, being about as profitable to the state of Deseret as Stephen Burroughs was to the state of Massachusetts when put to labor contrary to his sentence. Burroughs either did too little or too much. He could not pursue a medium course. He was set to making wrought nails in a blacksmith shop. At first he made about five in a day, but made them unnecessarily nice. He was reproved for making so few. He then made some five hundred in a day, but they were so rough and craggy, that they had as many heads and horns as the beasts we read of in scripture. He was then complained of for making them so poor.
He then devised the plan of getting rid of the nail rods without working them up. They had occasion to go now and then to a well for water; but at this time he made the occasion to visit the well more frequently than usual, and every time he went he would carry a quantity of nail rods, cut into short pieces, in the bottom of his pail, and when he put it down to draw water, would turn the iron out into the well. He continued this course until the lower part of the well was filled up with
( 24 )
nail rods. The overseers wondered how so much iron could be worked up and so few nails made out of it. At length the mystery was solved. The iron was found. He was so unprofitable and unmanagable that the overseers were glad to get rid of him. So it was with Mr. Kelley. The mormons could not make any capital out of him. and in a short time the governor pardoned him.
Henry W. Pardo, a California emigrant, and a mechanic, was at work last fall in Salt Lake City for Mr. Horn. He was receiving his pay promptly at the rate of $2.50 per day. He also did some work on a school house near by, for which Mr. Horn paid him in like manner. -- Whilst thus employed, three men who wished to build a threshing machine, solicited him to leave Mr. Horn's employ and come and work for them, offering the same wages, and as a further inducement, promising to give him constant employ for the winter. With these encouragements he left Mr. Horn's employ, where he expected work only a few weeks, and commenced labor for the other men.
These men were Mr. Widman, an emigrant, and Messrs. Vancot and Spencer, mormons. Mr. Widman, machinist, undertook to build the machine for the company. Mr. P. was employed as a journeyman, and was not willing to take Mr. Widman's responsibility for the pay of his wages. Messrs. Vancot and Spencer guaranteed the payment. He labored until his wages amounted to $73.75, and finding that he was not likely to get his pay, quit work. Mr. Widman was not able to pay, and the other two now refused. Mr. V. had promised a little before that as soon as he could get some wheat ground, which was already at the mill, he would pay Mr. Pardo out of the avails of the flour. At length he denied having made such a promise and utterly refused to pay him. Mr. Widman offered to make oath that he had made such a promise, but was not allowed to do so, being one of the company.
Mr. Pardo went to Willard Snow to get an attachment for the machine to secure his pay. He would not issue one, but requested Mr. Pardo to go to Mr. Vancot and make another effort to settle with him, promising to issue one the next day, provided Mr. V. would not settle with him. Mr. P. went and made another effort but accomplished nothing. He went to Mr. Snow the next day, but he would not issue an attachment unless he would pay $30 to secure the cost. The day before Mr. P. had asked Mr. S. if he was afraid of losing his cost, and he said no, but now he would not issue an attachment without an
( 25 )
advancement of $30. How changed since the day before! What was law one day was not law the next. Mr. P. offered to pay the $30 if he would secure the collection of the debt, but he would not. Evidently there was a contrived plan to cheat Mr. Pardo out of his wages and throw a bill of cost upon him besides. This $30 was doubtless wanted for that purpose. Mr. Pardo hired his board whilst doing the work, at the rate of $5 per week, and paid it out of his previous earnings. -- The board bill added to his wages would make him out of pocket nearly $100.
Mr. Snow was the only acting justice in the city, and the only one to whom Mr. Pardo could apply for the necessary papers. There had been other justices, but their offices had been suspended in order, as the emigrants thought, to give the mormons better opportunity to swindle the emigrants in their legal proceedings, not having but one justice in the city to whom they could apply for redress of grievances. Mr. Pardo, despairing of collecting his debt, told him they were all a pack of rascals, and left without receiving a penny.
Why this unwillingness to let Mr. Pardo have a lien upon the machine for his pay unless there was a fraudulent design to cheat him out of his wages? The very fact of such reluctance to grant him an attachment and also exacting $30 as a prerequisite to the grant of such attachment looked very suspicious. Why should a justice of the peace refuse to issue such papers as persons want, if they are willing to run the risk of having the cost to pay? Of he demeans [sic - deems?] himself worthy of his office, he will be impartial and endeavor to promote the cause of justice instead of acting like a one sided and interested partisan as he manifestly was in this case. He evidently wished to show favor to his brethren.
The mormon people are so clanish, their courts are managed upon principles so destitute of law, and they are as irresistably inclined to cheat, swindle and oppress the emigrants, that it is not safe for them to put themselves in their power. They may just as well lose a debt, however just, as go to law in mormon courts for its recovery.
Mr. Pardo was not the only one who suffered by this same company. Mr. John Beck, an emigrant, worked on the same machine to the amount of $230, paying for his board whilst at work at the rate of $4 per week, which he paid out of previous earnings. His labor was reckoned at $3 per day. His board was about $50 which added to his wages made $280 which he lost in the same way as Mr. Pardo. Philip Keller, an emigrant,
( 26 )
and a blacksmith, worked upon the same machine to the amount of $196, none of which he got. He hired his board of an emigrant who was going to California at $4 per week, but not getting his pay for his labor could not pay it as he expected to be able to do, and was obliged to give his note for his board payable in California, thus incommoding the emigrant by delay of the payment. His board was reckoned at $4 per week, amounting to some $45, which added to his wages would make $241.
By this cruel failure to receive his dues he was left so destitute of means that he, although a blacksmith by trade, was compeled to go to the canyons of the mountains and cut fence poles and sell them to the inhabitants as best he could, in order to get flour to sustain life on the journey to California.
By this one operation, these three men lost more than $600. Had they received enough to pay their board, it would not have been so bad. They were employed in good faith, and expected their wages. It is said the machine did not work satisfactorily, but this is no reason why the hands employed should lose their wages. If there was any loss it should have fallen upon the proprietors.
The instances of informal, illegal, iniquitous, and unjust proceedings in the mormon courts, which we have now cited, though scarcely a tything of those of similar character which have occurred, are nevertheless sufficient to show that their judicial trials are a mere farce, and their civil courts a mockery of justice. There is no design to administer justice in suits between mormons and emigrants. It is not mormon policy, nor is it, according to mormon principles to do so. The invariable and rigid policy is to favor the mormon brethren, and directly or indirectly enrich the mormon church.
The civil courts of any community are an index of the moral principles and moral character of the people of that community. They show the existence or absence of virtue. They show whether there is any moral sense, and any just appreciation of personal rights among the people. Judging of the mormon people by their courts, we are led to conclude that supreme selfishness is their great governing principle: that they are very little influenced by a sense of justice, or by a regard for the personal rights of their fellow beings. Mormonism has a natural tendency to unfit its members to commingle on terms of political and social equality with their neighbors. It is anti-republican.
[ 27 ]
The mormons are extortionary, overbearing and heard-hearted [sic - hard-hearted?] towards emigrants. They are wanting in the common feelings of sympathy and humanity towards them. They often do not treat them with civility, courtesy or good manners. They sometimes manifest an arrogant and haughty carriage towards them. The following facts illustrate these positions.
A Mr. George Randall, from Elkhart county, Ia., came into Salt Lake valley last season, in company with his brother. He was sick on the road before reaching the valley, and was unable to proceed any further at the time on his journey to California. His brother left him in the care of a mormon family, with a yoke of oxen, a good wagon, a sufficiency of bedding, a good supply of groceries, and fifteen dollars in money. Shortly after, the mormon borrowed his money, leaving him penniless.
Mr. Randall boarded with the mormon family nine weeks, the two first of which he had some care from the family, but none afterwards. He slept all the time in his own wagon, upon his own bed. At the expiration of the nine weeks he left his boarding place. Some time afterward he went to the mormon in order to settle with him, pay him up and take his property away. The mormon was unwilling to settle and refused to do so, saying he had made up his mind to retain all the property which he had brought there, including the $15 borrowed money, as a remuneration for the nine weeks board and taking care of him two weeks of the time. Thus he was cruelly and iniquitously stripped of his property and his money. The mormon had already received $150 worth of property belonging to the young man, which would amount to $16 2/3 each week he was there; a pretty round bill of board for Salt Lake valley, where the customary price at the best houses in the city was only from $4 to $6 per week.
( 28 )
For such iniquitous extortion, he considered his redress was a resort to civil law. Accordingly, in obedience to the regulations of Salt Lake valley, he went to the bishop of the ward, (the only one to whom he could apply) for a paper to authorize the justice to issue a summons and commence a suit. But the bishop would not grant any such paper, and he was therefore deferred the opportunity of calling the law to his aid. He had no means of redress left except a resort to the authority of the heads of the church, the result of whose action in the premises he considered doubtful. Having been foiled in his attempts to obtain justice, he was disheartened and discouraged from making further efforts to obtain his dues and secure his rights. It may be said, however, to the credit of several individual mormons, that they were indignant at such conduct and offered to befriend him. Yet nothing further was done about it.
This transaction shows extortion, hard-heartedness, and dishonesty on the part of the mormons. To treat a young man just recovering from sickness, a stranger among strangers, far distant from home and friends, in this way, shows that the mormon was destitute of neighborly kindness, the feelings of sympathy, humanity, justice and moral honesty.
In the summer of 1850, a man by the name of Remington, from Indiana, passed through Salt Lake valley on his way to California. He had a son with him who had been sick a part of the way from the states to Salt Lake, and was still sick. Some of the mormons advised the young man to stop in the valley, saying if he got well he could earn money and pay his expenses, and if he did not they would not charge any thing, and would bury him decently. Some of the emigrants acquiesced in the proposition of the mormons, thinking it best for the son to tarry, as he was very sick. Mr. Remington did not approve of the measure, and very reluctantly consented to the arrangement. In consequence of his dissatisfaction, he left his son only $6 in money, besides some necessary articles, and a sufficiency of suitable medicines. The young man stayed principally at the solicitation of mormons.
The father, and his associates on the journey, left the city and traveled on toward California, taking the cut off at the south end of Salt Lake. After his departure, the mormons, it is said, gave the son morphine, (not one of the medicines left by the father,) which was likely to prove fatal. The sheriff and two deputies were immediately despatched after Mr. Remington to bring him back, and his four horse team to
( 29 )
atone for the crime of leaving a pauper upon the mormon community.
Mr. Remington was overtaken some fifty or sixty miles out, and brought back by the posse that went after him. He reached the city about an hour before his son's death. He was compelled to pay not only the expenses of the son but also the milage of the three persons who went after him, all charged at enormous rates. The bill which the mormons presented to him and which he paid was $138. The $6 which he left with his son could not be found, and was not accounted for by the mormons. The son had made no use of it because he had bought nothing.
Mr. Remington, in being dragged back some fifty or sixty miles with his team, was greatly injured, not only by the payment of the money, but by more than one hundred miles unnecessary travel of his team. -- The balance of the company were detained in waiting for him to make the trip. His horses were so reduced by extra travel, that in keeping up with the balance of the company, two of them died on the way to California.
This transaction shows the treachery and falsity of the mormon character, which in these respects is similar to that possessed by the Indians. They hold out fair inducements and immediately violate their most sacred promises. They over-persuaded Mr. Remington to leave his son, promising that he should be no expense to him if he staid, and almost as soon as he gets out of sight sending a posse of men after him to accuse him of leaving a pauper upon their hands, and bringing him back to pay a bill of $138, besides the $6 left with his son, making him $144 out of pocket by this event.
The evidence is very strong that it was a contrived plan of the mormons, a mormon trick, to persuade the son to remain, give him a fatal medicine, and send a posse after the father in order to swindle him out of his money. If this was not the design before hand, why did the mormons, after having over-persuaded the son to stay, in so reckless and hard-hearted a manner compel the father to pay $138? If they had been careful not to make unnecessary expense, like a kind and humane people, why should they send three men instead of one? These men could not have brought Mr. Remington back by force if they had undertaken it. There were emigrants enough in the company to protect him. One man could have brought the news as well as three. Two of the messengers were entirely unnecessary, and the expense of their milage
( 30 )
was unnecessary. The mormons in all such cases make as heavy charges as possible for every move they make with their fingers, and insist upon their demands whether the emigrants have or have not the means of paying. Their demands are inexorable and must be met, no matter at what sacrifice on the part of the emigrants. Mr. Remington had not money enough to pay the demand, and was obliged to borrow a part of it from his friends who happened to have a little along with them.
Such schemy policy to swindle the emigrants as they pass through Salt Lake valley, deserves the severest reprobation. Such conduct as was exhibited in this transaction, was not only treacherous and false, but was cruel, unneighborly, unjust, and unworthy of a civilized and christian people.
On the 18th of July, 1850, a Mr. Almon H. White, a California emigrant from Wisconsin, encamped in Salt Lake City, and turned out all his animals except one to graze upon the common west of the city, at the suggestion of E. T. Benson, one of the twelve mormon apostles. He tied up one animal to ride after the rest in the morning, and fed it with hay for which he paid Mr. Benson fifty cents. After hitching up his team in the morning to start on his journey, he was detained two hours in procuring flour and transacting other business preparatory to starting on his journey, his team the mean while remaining near Mr. Benson's house, and Mr. Benson frequently passing to and fro.
At length Mr. White started on and arriving at the extreme limit of the city halted about one hour at the bath house, after which he proceeded again on his journey. When three or four miles out from the city, he was overtaken by two men riding up, one of whom was this same E. T. Benson, and the other was the sheriff, as he called himself. They immediately demanded $12. Mr. White asked for what purpose? Mr. Benson replied, that it was to pay for his horses running on the common last night. * They said they had an execution. He asked them to let him see it, that he might know something about the proceedings and go back to the city and contest them. They said they had the papers in their hats, but would not trouble themselves to show them, and did not show them. Mr. White did not get sight of any paper showing any legal process. He told them he was nearly out of money, had only
* He asked why the demand was not presented to him whilst he was in the city, but got no satisfaction.
( 31 )
a few dollars, and could not very well pay it. They said they did not care for that. If he did not immediately hand over $10, they would take one of his horses back to the city; and stepping up, unhitched one of them for that purpose, saying to him, if he did not immediately pay the money, the would charge $2 extra for every minute he delayed the payment. His wife, who was in the wagon, whispered to him to pay it, and he accordingly did.
This is another mormon trick to swindle an emigrant out of his money. The common, west of the city, is free to all, to emigrants as well as mormons. Thousands turned out their stock there last season, as Mr. White did, and nobody thought of charging them any thing for the use of the public common. The charge was a mere pretense to extort from Mr. White a portion of his hard earnings. And why did they delay until he had started out of the city, and was several miles on his journey, before they presented this demand? It was because they thought they would be more successful in extorting their demand from him. After having transacted his business in the city, and started out with his team and his family on a long journey, he would be more unwilling to be detained by any incidental cause that might arise. He would not be so likely to contest an iniquitous and unjust claim. This is the reason why they waited for Mr. White to get several miles on his way before they presented the claim. They act upon the principle of making other people's necessity their opportunity.
In this transaction, the most arrogant, unfeeling, and overbearing conduct was exhibited. It was nothing more nor less, in principle, than a high way robbery. They might just as well have come up and demanded his money as high way robbers usually do, as to present such a claim as they did, and in the manner they did. Their claim was no more just than a robber's would be. They had the very spirit of robbers in making their demand. They were urgent and peremptory, alike void of sympathy and regardless of justice. Though Mr. White was on a long journey with his family, and needed all the scanty means he had, their hard and unfeeling hearts could not be touched with either sympathy, humanity, or neighborly kindness. If Mr. White could not pay the money, they would forcibly take a part of his team, even though it should prevent him from prosecuting his journey. The mormons will sacrifice another man's interest, for the sake of obtaining an iniquitous
( 32 )
and unjust demand. If he does not instantly comply with an arrogant request, he is peremptorily told that he will forfeit $2 for every minute he delays the payment. What overbearing treatment this!
It is said this demand was made of Mr. White because he had argued with the mormons in Salt Lake City against mormonism, and had once been a mormon himself. Then, is a man to be taxed with ten or twelve dollars for telling what he thinks in relation to mormonism, or any other ism, within the limits of the United States whose constitution allows and guarantees liberty of speech upon all subjects? If Salt Lake is not under the jurisdiction of the United States, or if unusual privileges, not enjoyed in other states or territories, have been granted to it, all travelers through that place ought to know it.
If Mr. White was robbed of his money because he had once advocated mormonism, and having found it unworthy of confidence, had years ago abandoned it, then he was punished for following his own convictions of truth and duty. Has it come to this, that even in Salt Lake valley people have no right to think for themselves? If the real object of demanding the twelve dollars was to punish Mr. White for speaking freely his sentiments, or abandoning the mormon faith, there was duplicity practised by Mr. Benson and the sheriff in pretending that it was for pasturage upon the public common.
In the summer of 1850, Mr. E. L. [sic - E. T.?] Benson, of Salt Lake city, employed four emigrants to harvest five acres of wheat, promising them ten bushels of the wheat as a compensation for their labor, requiring them however, to thresh out their own wheat. The bargain was made several days before the wheat was ripe. In the mean time a Mr. Hopkins, a mechanic, and brother to one of the four men above refered to, was employed by Mr. Benson in the line of his trade. When the time arrived for cutting the wheat, the four men, desirous of accomplishing all they could in the little time they were to remain in the valley, to obtain means to help them on their way to California, exerted themselves to harvest the five acres in a single day, and accomplished their task. --
The next day they threshed out the ten bushels which they were to have. All this was done in the absence of Mr. Benson. When he came to see about his grain, he found that the work had been done sooner than he expected, yet he saw it was well done, and found no fault with it. Having made a tangible and definite agreement, he could not, without prevarication, deviate from it. He grudgingly allowed them to take the
( 33 )
wheat according to agreement, but refused to pay the mechanic his stipulated wages which, according to the contract, amounted to $24. -- Mr. Benson at forst handed Mr. Hopkins only $2, to pay the debt of $24. After some remonstrance against such conduct, he reluctantly forked over another dollar, leaving $21 unpaid. He assigned no reason for withholding this amount. He condescended to no parley upon the subject, but disdainfully turned away, leaving the man whom he had thus swindled out of his wages, to his own reflections and his own course.
And why did Mr. Benson do this? Firstly, because it is mormon policy to cheat and swindle emigrants at the last winding up of business with them. When the mormons are through with their services, and have no further use for them, they adopt the principle of cheating and swindling them in every way, and to the greatest extent possible. Secondly, because he had power to resist payment. The mormon courts would not enforce the collection of debts due to California emigrants from the mormon members, and especially from the heads of the church. Mormon laws were not made to reach such men as the twelve mormon apostles. They soar in a region entirely above law, as much as the clouds do above the earth. Mr. Benson knew he had the power to swindle Mr. Hopkins with impunity; that Mr. Hopkins had no means of redress within reach, and therefore he did it. Mr. Hopkins knowing there was no alternative, quietly submitted to this injustice, and bent his course towards California.
The following incident illustrates the overbearing disposition, and the haughty and disdainful carriage of Mr. Benson towards California emigrants. Last summer an emigrant was walking along a path in his garden which did not in the least disturb or harm any thing, when Mr. Benson happened to discover him, and called out to him authoritatively in a commanding tone of voice, "come back and go to the road, the road was made to travel in." Then turning to another emigrant, (a Mr. Hopkins, from McHenry county, Illinois, and one of the men employed by Mr. Benson to harvest his five acres of wheat,) said to him, "every damned fool who comes along must tramp through my garden. I will allow it no longer."
Here is an instance of one of the mormon apostles using profane language. Did the apostles of our Savior do the same? No. So far from it, they forbade it in the strongest terms of reprehension. This incident shows the uncourteous, and disobliging manner in which he treats California
( 34 )
emigrants. Instead of accosting them in a friendly and polite manner, as strangers, far from home, he, in a surly, morose, and arrogant manner, belches out to them as if they were niggers, and were beneath his majesty's notice. Just as if the United States citizens, whom he thus disdainfully treats, and haughtily despises, were not as good as he, and entitled to the privileges of social and political equality. The emigrants feel themselves by no means his inferiors in point of talent, attainments, or responsibility. If the emigrants hereafter should have no more formidable antagonist in the science of logic than E. T. Benson of Salt Lake city, and one of the twelve mormon apostles, they would have no very great fear of any future disquisitions. He is a man who, it would seem, has been much more liberally endowed by nature with brass than with brains. He generally secures the dislike of the emigrants who have any thing to do with him, and it is said his eratic mind and turbulent disposition, often causes his brethren to keep him in his place: that the other mormon apostles have some difficulty in controlling his naturally unloving temper.
In the month of September, 1850, three men, Dr. Phillips, William Hardin, and Henry B. Buchanan, started from Salt Lake city to go to California by what is called the southern route. They went as far as Utah valley, about fifty miles south of Salt Lake city, and encamped for a few days a mile from Utah fort, occupied by mormon families, whilst waiting for the balance of the company to come up and proceed upon the journey.
Upon the ninth day of their encampment, they were arrested, thrown into prison, and closely confined, but for what crime they knew not. They were told some property had lately been stolen in the city, and orders had been issued to stop all emigrants from leaving the country. Mr. Buchanan, as one of the company, offered to show by his memorandum book not only when he had bought every article of his property, but also where he obtained every cent of his money with which to purchase it. This, however, was of no avail. Mr. George Grant, the arresting officer, replied that he could not help it. He said the innocent must suffer with the wicked. He said the mormons had been treated in the same way in the states, having been abused and driven from place to place, when they were innocent. Whilst they were in confinement Dr. Philips wrote a letter to general Wells in the city upon the subject but received no answer.
( 35 )
After being detained in custody eight days, they were forced back fifty miles to the city, with their heavily loaded wagons, thus detaining them still longer from starting on their journey, wearing down their teams, and unfitting them for the lengthy and laborious tour which they were about to take.
On the following day after their arrival in the city, a court was held, at which the prisoners were required to be present, but their names were not called either as parties in the trial, or as witnesses. After the trial was over, they were released from custody, though not paid any thing for false imprisonment, or the damages they had sustained in loss of time and extra expenses which they had incured. This loss they must sustain without compensation, this injustice they must bear without redress.
During their detention, the company to which they belonged, and with which they expected to travel to California, passed on beyond their reach, an in consequence they were compelled to remain in Salt Lake valley through the winter. The disarrangement of their plans for months to come, materially affecting their interests depended upon the ipse dixit, the nod, of mormon authority. Whatever that illegally, unjustly, and arbitrarily demanded, must be submissively and slavishly yielded.
The property which it was alleged had been stolen, was afterwards found, not having been molested by any one. Mr. McVickar's jewelry shop was not broken open until after this time. These men were arrested at the insistance of Mr. Hatch, a mormon, who claimed a horse which belonged to Mr. Love, a California emigrant. On the trial Mr. Love proved that the horse was his, yet the court took it away from him and sold it for $55, to pay the expenses of the suit on both sides. It legally belonged to Mr. Hatch to pay the costs, but by a decree of the court Mr. Love had them to pay. This taking an emigrant's horse to pay a mormon's debts. This is another instance illustrating the manner in which California emigrants are treated in Salt Lake valley.
Orlando Freeland, a California emigrant, last winter bought cloth and trimmings at Packard's store in Salt Lake city for a frock coat, an overcoat, and a pair of pants, and took them to a mormon tailor, only two or three rods from said store, to be made up. The tailor charged $23 for making the three garments. Before they were all made, Mr. Freeland paid him $13 towards the making, leaving the other $10 to be paid
( 36 )
when he should take the clothes away. Two or three weeks after he went for his clothes, but the tailor had disposed of them, and claimed them as payment for the $10 balance which was due. He would do nothing about it, and have Mr. F. no satisfaction. Mr. F could get no redress in the mormon courts, and had to submit to the extortion. The tailor had the cloth and trimmings for the three garments, and the $13 paid towards the making, without rendering to Mr. F. one cent's remuneration. This was not only extortion, but outright robbery. He might just as well have robbed Mr. Freeland upon the public highway of the same amount, so far as the principle is concerned.
This transaction shows the unsafety of Gentiles leaving their property in the hands of mormons. If they can form any excuse for retaining it as their own, they will do so. And sometimes if they can make no excuse, they will keep it, treating the owner with contempt and haughty disdain, giving him no satisfaction for their conduct.
A California emigrant, a mill wright, by the name of Treat, worked on E. T. Benson's saw mill to the amount of nearly $500. He received considerably less than $100 of his pay. Just before leaving for California last spring, he went to Mr. Benson for the balance of his pay, amounting to about $400. Mr. B. acknowledged he ought to have his pay, but said he could not pay him. Mr. B. probably felt some more obligation to his mill wrights, because it was acknowledged on all hands that they had made for him one of the best mills in the valley; (of which there were ten or eleven at the time,) than he would under other circumstances. Inasmuch as Mr. B. could not pay him at the time, he asked for his note on the balance due. Mr. Benson refused to give it, saying, he did not wish any of his notes afloat in the community. When pressed to pay the demand, or give his note, he turned upon his heel, and immediately went off out to the country to one of the southern mormon settlements, leaving Mr. T. to his own reflections, without any further opportunity to parley with him.
Mr. Treat, not being able to get any redress in the mormon courts, was obliged to come away from Salt Lake valley not only without his pay, but without any legal evidence of Benson's indebtedness to him. Mr. T. is now here in California. This is another mormon trick to swindle California emigrants out of their dues. Mr. Benson purposely refused to pay, well knowing that Mr. T. could get nothing by the mormon courts, and would be obliged to leave the valley and go on to California
( 37 )
without it, unless he saw fit to pay. Mr. Benson, because he had the power to cheat him out of his earnings, did so. This is the conduct frequently exhibited by Mr. E. T. Benson, one of the twelve mormon apostles.
Mr. C. Custer, & Co., made a contract last fall to build a mill dam for E. T. Benson for the sum of $1000. The work was done according to agreement and accepted, but it was found that the dam needed to be two or three feet higher than was specified in the contract. Mr. Benson told them if they would raise the dam that much higher, he would pay them for the additional labor in proportion to the other. They raised the dam and completed the work. The raising of the dam amounted to about $200, making with the first contract $1200. On this amount the company received $700. No reason was assigned for the non-payment of the balance. No fault was found with the work. The debt remains unpaid, and probably always will. Mr. Custer was shot by Indians just before starting for California. Mr. Freeland, one of the firm, is now here in California.
It would be well for all California emigrants in passing through Salt Lake valley, to avoid all business transactions hereafter with Mr. Benson. His present residence in Salt Lake city is a few rods south east of the council house, on the opposite side of the street. A man who is almost as certain to cheat and rob the California emigrants, and all Gentiles who have any business transactions with him, as the sun is to rise, should be avoided by all decent and honest folks. Being one of the twelve mormon apostles, and beyond the reach of mormon law and mormon courts, Gentiles have no redress, and therefore should not put themselves in his power.
A young man, about eighteen years of age, whose father is dead, and whose mother is in the states, came to Salt Lake valley in the summer of 1849, on his way to California. After arriving in the city, he passed a five dollar gold piece which proved to be spurious. For this offence he was sold into servitude for one year, to be kept at hard labor. He was sold by the mormon authorities for the benefit of the church for the sum of fifty dollars paid into the church fund, and his necessary clothes through the year. He was purchased for these considerations by Mr. Scott, a mormon, who lives five or six miles south of the city, and has three wives.
( 38 )
About the end of the year the young man had some difficulty with a boy, whom he whipped. For this offence he was again sold to the same man for the paltry sum of only $10 for six months additional service. Mr. Scott has kept him at hard labor during the whole time, and has not furnished him with either decent or comfortable clothing, as many say who have been in the habit of seeing him during the time he has been at Mr. Scott's. He has often been seen in the winter season drawing wood from the cold and snowy mountains several miles distant, and performing other out-door work, without either boots or shoes sufficiently good to keep his bare feet from the snow. Other parts of his body were often naked.
On one occasion Mr. Scott threw him down, put his foot on his breast, and holding his broad axe up over him, swore he would cut off his head. The young man begged for his life. The family were horror-stricken. The children began to cry, and one of his wives ran out and pulled him off. The young man is in constant fear, and as perfectly enslaved, for the time being, as the negroes of the southern states. He dare not assert his rights. He has lost all manly independence, and unless his friends interfere, he may be sold from time to time, under one pretext and another, and kept in servitude for years to come, and perhaps for life.
This transaction shows extortion, hard heartedness and cruelty. -- It is extortionary to sell the services of the young man for 18 months for the paltry sum of sixty dollars, and the small amount of clothing which he received, when the services of an ordinary hand in Salt Lake valley during the same period would be worth at least $300. It was extortionary for the church to sell the young man's services or delay him on his journey to California longer than to pay a reasonable penalty for passing counterfeit money, if he did it intentionally, and if innocently, longer than to replace the five dollars. It was hard hearted and cruel to reduce a white man to servitude, work him hard, and not more than half clothe him. It was hard hearted and cruel to not only enslave the body, but also to enslave the mind; to destroy all manly independence, and remove from him every vestige of freedom.
Dr. Whitlock, who spent the past winter in Salt Lake valley, made a contract last fall with General Wells, chief agent on the public works of the mormon authorities, to deliver all the lumber he should be able to furnish through the winter, on condition of being paid for the same one
( 39 )
half in cash, and the other half out of the tything office. When he had delivered lumber to the amount of $150, he received pay for the same according to agreement. After delivering some $200 worth more, he asked for the cash part of the payment for the same, and was told by General Wells that he did not intend to pay him any more cash towards lumber, and that he did not intend, at the time he made the promise, to pay him any more cash than he had already received. Dr. Whitlock did not receive another cent in cash from him. General Wells then made a new promise that Dr. W. would have in future for his lumber any thing the tything office afforded. * With this encouragement he continued to deliver it until it amounted to about $1000. When Dr. W. wished to close up the business in the spring, preparatory to leaving for California, the authorities would not allow him to have a single pound of flour from the tything office, and would only pay him in potatoes, turnips, and such like things as he could not bring with him to California, and were therefore of no use to him. When he had [sic] the flour due him at the tything office, he was compelled to go elsewhere and pay $140 cash for 1400 pounds of flour to use on his journey to California. He never got his pay in full for his lumber.
This transaction is in keeping with mormon conduct last winter in its treatment of California emigrants. It is a mormon policy to hold out great inducements at first, make fair promises, and then swindle emigrants all they possibly can, at the last winding up of business with them. The mormon leaders knew that Dr. W. was obliged to have flour, and if he could not get it otherwise, he would either pay cash, or exchange some of his other property for it. In this instance, extortion was practised by authority of the church. It is the policy of the mormon church collectively, to swindle and extort from all others but themselves as much of their property as they are able.
It is said by persons who have been mormons that it is a requisite of the mormon leaders that their members should treat the emigrants with hard heartedness and severity; and that it is considered a crime against the church to sympathize with them or befriend them, according to the
* The tything office, or store-house in which the tything of the members of the mormon church was deposited, contained all kinds of agricultural products raised in the valley, besides some merchandise. Among other things were several thousand bushels of wheat and considerable flour.
( 40 )
demands of humanity or justice. Unless the members suppose their sympathy, humanity, and sense of justice; in fine, all the better impulses of their natures, and harden their hearts, stiffen their necks, and embolden their faces, they are not prepared to perpetrate the crimes required by mormon policy. They cannot treat emigrants and the Gentile world in the manner required by the leaders, without such hardening process.
This principle is in perfect accordance with the conduct of the leaders and many of the members. It explains a large portion of mormon conduct towards California emigrants, especially in the winter season, when they have no opportunity to get away from Salt Lake valley. Such a system of hard heartedness, extortion, oppression, and swindling, countenanced and demanded by the authorities of the mormon church, on the part of the members, must necessarily have a deteriorating influence upon the moral principles and social virtues of the people. Its tendency is to foster the worst principles of action among mankind. It is contrary to improvement and civilization.
( 41 )
earth; and if they put forth their hands and help themselves, now and then, to a few of the good things of this life which legally belong to other folks, they are only fulfilling the designs of Providence, and hastening on the consummation of those events which are to make them instrumental in the salvation of the world.
The method of acquiring property by theft is not as laborious as by honest industry. Besides, when the business can be carried on successfully, the gains are often much more rapid than by any other mode of acquiring wealth. Head work, to those who are averse to laborious toil, is very congenial. If they can get their living by their wits, instead of their muscles, they are sure to do so, even at the sacrifice of all moral principle. Theft was practised by the mormons in Kirtland, Ohio, in Missouri, in Illinois, and now in Salt Lake valley. Whether the disposition is partly natural and partly acquired, or wholly acquired, it has been so long continued, and under such sanction from the heads of the church, as to become a second nature, and have all the force of an inherent and innate propensity.
Several months after the mormons had been driven out of Missouri, and had settled in Illinois, they built boats for the purpose of running off stolen property from Missouri into Illinois. They kept a company in Missouri in disguise whose business it was to steal property of all descriptions, and bring it to the banks of the Missouri river, for boats to take and run into a large slough, a little above Quincy, Illinois, where they kept it secreted for a short time, until it could be privately taken away and disposed of. After awhile, the mormons bought the ferry across the Mississippi river between Nauvoo and Montrose on the Iowa side, and brought the horses which they stole in Missouri across the south east corner of Iowa to Montrose, and took them in their own ferry boats across to Nauvoo, where they were kept until arrangements could be made for their disposal in remote parts of the country.
Here was an extensive system of theft carried on by numerous mormons, sanctioned by the church. They stole from the people of a particular state, not because they could steal to better advantage from that state than any other, but because they owed it a special grudge, and wished to inflict upon it an injury. Stealing being one of their inveterate propensities, whenever they could have as good a pretext for stealing as the punishment of their enemies, they readily embarked in an
( 42 )
enterprise so congenial to their feelings, hoping thereby to enrich themselves and the church at the same time.
About the time they were stealing every thing they could lay their hands upon, from the state of Missouri, and running it off out of the state, or very soon after, (having by this time got their hand in a little, as the saying is,) they began an extensive system of stealing in Illinois. They would start from home with their horses and wagons some time in the day, according to the different distances they wished to travel out into the surrounding country, closely observing, as they went along, the different articles of property in the vicinity of the road which could be conveniently stolen and taken off. Thus passing out from Nauvoo in different directions through the day with their teams, their minds constantly on the alert in contriving the best ways and means of getting this, that, and the other article of property which they happened to see on their journey, they would start back in time to reach home in the course of the night, loading up their wagons as they returned, with such property as had been selected through the day for the purpose. -- Thus, through the live-long night, mormon teams, heavily loaded with stolen goods, would be nearing and entering the city of Nauvoo from different points of the compass, and passing through different streets into the interior of the commercial metropolis, somewhat after the manner in which industrious bees, in the day time, instead of the night, come in from all directions, heavily laden with the sweets of the flowers of the surrounding country, and enter their respective hives.
These marauders were in the habit of taking and carrying off almost every species of property which the country afforded. Grain would often be taken from the granaries, some times from the stock yards, whether cleaned or in the chaff, and some times from the fields when left out over night in bags to be sown the next day. Many a parcel of choice seed wheat thus suddenly disappeared, under cover of night, to the great annoyance and vexation of the owners. No doubt it made excellent flour for the tables of the saints at Nauvoo. Farming tools were also taken off in the same way. Some times they remodeled stolen articles to change their appearance, so as to prevent the owners from identifying them, should they ever get their eyes upon them.
The mormons were so fond of honey, it was with great difficulty the people in the surrounding region could retain their bee hives in the bee houses over night, especially as the cool weather approached in the fall,
( 43 )
when the hives were heavily loaded, and the bees less active than in hot weather. The night was selected as being better adapted to their removal than the day. The mormons, though remarkably fond of daring adventure, and extensively versed in its practice, nevertheless preferred not to encounter the little industrials, except in favorable times, lest they should offer some resistance to a transfer of ownership from the Illinoians to the mormons.
In one instance, two hundred dollars worth of leather was stolen and taken off. Not content with stealing such property as they could carry off on foot, and on horse back, they must needs take their teams and wagons and ransack the surrounding country and carry off such property as they could find convenient to their hand, because in wagons they could better conceal large articles and gather a larger amount. They wished to do a wholesale business. They despised petty retail. They embarked in every such enterprise extensively. They had no narrow, contracted, and circumscribed notions upon such matters. Numerous wagons going out from Nauvoo, as the great centre of operations, into the country in different directions, some farther, and some to a less distance, and returning home at different hours in the night, load by load, enrich the mormon city. The revenue from this source, though it did not pass through the custom house, was considerable. Business was lively in Nauvoo both day and night. No wonder it prospered.
But the mormons were in the habit of stealing fat hogs and fat cattle, and driving them to Nauvoo. They were hastily killed to supply the latter day saints with fresh meat, of which they were very fond, especially when obtained without money and without price. Under such circumstances their appetites were voracious, and economy and frugality were virtues difficult to practice. That which costs little or nothing will not naturally be used sparingly.
The mormons in Nauvoo and the adjacent country were so annoying in their thefts to the Illinoians, that many of the inhabitants, in order to retain their property and prevent the light fingered mormons from carrying it off, were obliged to watch it nights with dogs and guns by their sides. They often had to move their horses from the stables to their fields, on succeeding nights, lest the thieving mormons, having observed them in one place, on the succeeding night, if they should be put there again, lay hands upon them and take them off. Some
( 44 )
times when the mormons were taking stolen horses to Nauvoo, if so closely pursued that the horses were likely to be found before they could be run off, they would leave them with some of their brethren living a little out of the city, and pass on. If the owners happened to find them, those who had them in possession would pretend they had purchased them of some stranger who had passed on, and whose name they did not know.
A man living on the east part of Hancock county, Illinois, had some property stolen by mormons, and taking his horse, rode to Nauvoo and found it, but the mormons would not give it up. He commenced legal process to recover it, but failed to do so through false representations of mormon witnesses who swore that the property had been purchased of another man. The horse which he rode to Nauvoo was taken to pay the costs of suit, and he was obliged to return home without either the property stolen from him, or his horse on which he rode to attend to the business. This fact shows that even in Illinois, as well as in Salt Lake, justice could not be obtained in the mormon courts by Gentiles.
When the mormons were about leaving Nauvoo in the year 1846 for Council Bluffs, on the Missouri river, a part of them crossed the Mississippi near Montrose, on the Iowa side, quite early in the spring, and went out four miles and encamped on Sugar Creek, waiting for the rest to get ready and come on from Nauvoo and join them. It was about three weeks from the time the first families arrived upon the camp ground before all reached it, and were ready for their departure. On the evening before the camp was to move on its journey, a Mr. Hancock, living near Montrose, went out to the camp and spent the night with two of his brothers, who were mormons as well as himself, in order to make them a visit and see them start the next morning. Mr. Hancock had taken with him a bushel of beans which he intended to divide with his brothers before leaving them, for them to use upon their journey. Shortly after arriving at the camp, he took the bag containing the beans and set it down by the wagon of one of his brothers to remain there until morning.
In due time, the evening having passed away in cheerful conversation upon various topics, all retired to rest for the night. As the morning dawned, Mr. Hancock arose, and looking for his beans, soon discovered that they had been taken by some one. At length it was ascertained that a Mr. Huntington, a mormon, occupying a high position in the
( 45 )
mormon church, as high priest, Indian interpreter, and an ordained baptiser for the dead, had taken them in the dark and rainy night, supposing that the bag contained corn, oats or some other kind of horse feed and emptied a part of its contents into his feed box at the hind end of his wagon, leaving his horses to wait upon themselves to their stolen suppers. But the poor animals, hungry as they were, and as much as they needed a good night's rest, and a hearty meal, preparatory to their long and laborious journey, either from instinct or principle, had more honesty than their owner. They had practiced such rigid self denial, that with an ample supply of food before them, they had scarcely put their noses down to the beans all night long. They were found in the box the next morning untouched. Mr. Hancock had discovered them in their quiet resting place before Mr. Huntington was up. He awoke him and accused him of having stolen his beans. Mr. Huntington, supposing that his horses had eaten the grain which he had given them the night before, at first denied it. But when told that a part of the beans were still in his feed box, could no longer resist the evidence. The truth was out, too plain to be mistaken. Chagrined and guilty, he offered to pay for the beans, but Mr. Hancock would take nothing.
No sooner was this transaction over, than Mr. Hancock, in looking about the camp of latter day saints, discovered a span of horses belonging to one of his neighbors, Mr. Rowe, of Montrose, and remarked, "here are Mr. Rowe's horses, they have run away." The mormon who had them in charge, said they did not run away, they were brought here. Mr. Hancock asked if they had bought them. He replied no. -- Brigham Young said that Rowe was a damned apostate, and told him to go and get a team to assist in taking the brass band along on the journey. In obedience to instructions given him by Brigham Young, who was, at this time, the head of the mormon church, he had gone in the dead of night and taken a span of Mr. Rowe's horses out of his stable. He had four horses in it at the time. The two best were taken. Mr. Hancock told him Mr. Rowe was sick and not able to be out, and he would take the horses back to him. There being an unwillingness to give them up, he finally said, if the horses were not given up, he would have the sheriff after them before sun down. The horses were delivered up; and Mr. Hancock, without waiting to see the company start, bade his brothers adieu and started for home, having had some fresh experience that morning of the iniquities of his mormon brethren. Mr. Hancock
( 46 )
arrived at Mr. Rowe's, in Montrose, with the stolen horses, whilst the family were at breakfast.
Here, in this professed camp of the church of latter day saints, several vices were exhibited. Here was theft in stealing the beans and horses, and that not by transient and unprincipled members who had joined them from sinister motives, and whom they had incautiously taken into the church, but by persons high in authority and influence in the mormon church. Brigham Young, the head of the church, and reported to be at least as holy as the best among them, had sent one of the brethren to steal a span of horses in the dead of night, contrary to law, justice, and the precepts of the christian religion. By doing so, he encouraged and sanctioned a dishonest practice among his people. It is not surprising that under such a leader, and under such an influence, the mormon people should be adicted to stealing.
Brigham Young was guilty of swearing in calling Mr. Rowe a damned apostate. Profaneness is a common and inveterate habit with him. He hesitates at no time, even in his Sunday discourses, to use some profanity. It is not to be wondered at, when he has such unbounded influence over the people, that they should imitate his example and practice profanity.
The reason assigned by Brigham Young in justification of the stealing of the horses, was, that Mr. Rowe, from whom they were taken, was an apostate. Then, because he had tried mormonism, found it unworthy of confidence, and had abandoned it, he must be punished by having his property suddenly taken away from him without his consent. The fault was not in him, but in the mormon system, which had not excellencies enough in it to recommend it. Yet Mr. Rowe must be made to suffer by the mormon church, for its own offences. This punishment was to be inflicted, not in pursuance of a trial by civil law, but at the instance of one who, according to his caprice or passion, could order it to be done.
It appears from numerous facts, and from the history of mormonism, that it has ever been its policy to bring down vengeance upon all who forsake it, instead of suffering them, if not pleased with it, to voluntarily and quietly depart. The mormons seem disposed to compel those who join them, to remain with them. If they will not stay with them, they persecute them to the last extremity; often murdering them in cold blood. mormonism, in the treatment of apostates, is perfectly akin to Romanism. But more of this anon.
( 47 )
In the course of the journey across the state of Iowa, in the year 1846, it so happened that a portion of the mormon church, then under the guidance of George A. Smith, one of the twelve apostles, and cousin to Joseph Smith, Jr., the fallen prophet, were camped one night in a certain place where bears were plenty. Their stock was turned out to graze, and some persons were sent out with it to guard it. Near the herd ground, a large black fat hog, weighing three or four hundred pounds, was discovered walking about. The herdsmen immediately bethought themselves that it would be well for their camp to have that hog to eat. But it being a fundamental principle of mormonism, that all the members of the church must obey their leaders, and must ascertain their counsel in all important matters before acting, they sent out one of their number to the camp to ascertain the mind of George A. Smith, their captain, upon the subject, telling him they had seen a large bristley bear, and asking his advice as to the expediency of killing him. He replied, a little fresh meat would revive their spirits. The hint was understood. The had killed bristley bears, or bears with bristles, before. In a short time, several persons, having put their knives in readiness for the occasion, started to accompany the messenger who had brought the news. Presently, all reached the place where the animal had been seen. A Mr. Biley, who had come out with them, but who had not as yet learnt as much as some of the rest of the company respecting the mysterious ways of this strange people, remarked that the animal was not a bear. The messenger replied that it was a squealing bear.
They killed it and dressed it, taking off the skin, because they could not conveniently scald it. They had no effectual means of concealing the skin, hair and entrails, except by burning them up. If they should bury them, they might be dug up by dogs, wolves or other animals, and thus expose their doings. Accordingly they took them to the camp and buried them up in their fires, to be there consumed. The skin, with its weighty coat of hair and huge bristles, was put into the captain's fire and covered over with coals so completely that it could not be seen. The meat was speedily divided among the different families and messes in the camp.
But no sooner was the duty of division and putting the offals under their fires performed, than a stranger was seen wending his way towards the camp. He neared Mr. Smith's camp fire, enquiring as he approached,
( 48 )
of they had any where in that vicinity seen a very large fat black hog, minutely describing the one they had just disposed of. The most profound ignorance respecting it was professed. Mr. George A. Smith, for the double purpose of engrossing his attention, and thus preventing him from making discoveries, and also to convert him to the mormon faith (having had a pious streak suddenly dart over him as the stranger inquired for his lost hog) commenced with much zeal to lecture him upon the great principles of mormonism. The man was astonished at such doctrine. His attention was so completely engrossed by the marvelous subject that although standing near the fire where his hog skin was being consumed, and within the limits in which his olfactories might have detected the smell of burning fresh meat, yet he made no discoveries respecting his hog. It is said Mr. Smith well nigh converted him to the mormon faith.
At length the man concluded he must go in further pursuit of his lost hog. Thus ended this extraordinary mormon lecture in elucidation of the mormon system. No sooner had the stranger departed a few rods away from the camp, than irrepressible snickerings and rejoicing began to break forth audibly, regardless alike of good manners, and of the iniquity of their course. The saints were highly pleased with the deception they had triumphantly practised, and in view of the rich prize they had obtained, and which would, many a time, revive their drooping spirits. Directly hasty meals were prepared and loud thanks were offered at the different festal boards for the bounties of divine providence. -- Here was another instance of theft encouraged and sanctioned by the mormon leaders. They took property not their own and appropriated it for their own use.
On the same journey through Iowa, a cow was stolen by the mormons from one of the inhabitants on the route, and driven on the way forty miles before the owner, being absent at the time, could return and overtake the train. His own daughter saw them ride around the cow, not far distant from the road, and drive her off. He pursued and overtook the mormons. He went into their camp, and was asked by them what his business was. He told them he was looking for his cow which he described and immediately selected out from the rest. The mormons were not willing he should take the cow away. One of them pretended he had bought her, and others swore they saw him pay the money
( 49 )
for her. But he told them he knew his own cow, and was ready to die, if necessary, in the attempt to get her. He drew out his revolver and told them it would be death to the first man who should attempt to drive back his cow. He drove her off and took her home.
Thus, the latter day saints, as they call themselves, have not only the malignity to steal other people's property, but the dishonesty and effrontery to make efforts to retain property by perjuring themselves. What crimes will not such a people commit? They are prepared to perpetrate the most abominable enormities.
In the year 1849, a bell, which belonged to the new school presbyterian church in Iowa City, was about to be removed from that place to another church. It had been purchased by subscription at an expense of nearly $1000, when hung and ready for use. This amount was obtained only by great exertion from the inhabitants of the surrounding country. On occasion of its removal, several persons, among whom were the minister and some of the officers of the church, assembled at the meeting house for the purpose of taking down the bell. They placed the wagon, which was to bear the bell away, by the side of the house to receive it as they should let it down by a long rope. All things preparatory being arranged, with a suitable rope the company ascended aloft. It was in the twilight of the evening. The removal of a church bell from its wonted habitation would naturally superinduce sacred meditations, but the shadowy aspect of the horizon and the approaching darkness rendered the scene still more solemn and impressive. With care and deliberation they slowly lowered the warning monitor from the belfry towards the ground. Just as this was being done, a mormon by the name of David Lamoreaux happened to be driving past with a span of horses and wagon, and instantly bethought himself that an opportunity was afforded to obtain a prize. He immediately stopped, jumped out of his wagon, removed the one which had been placed to receive the bell, and drove his own into the same place. By the time the bell had descended within reach he was ready to take hold of it with his hands and guide it into his own wagon. He immediately unfastened the rope, grabbed his lines and drove off. A few rods rook him out of sight. -- Such exploits did not very much disturb his equanimity, as he had been accustomed to them before. They had become to him familiar scenes. Very probably his wagon had been employed in the marauding excursions which had been carried on at Nauvoo. Such a performance might
( 50 )
seem, at first view, to indicate a good degree of shrewdness, cunning and smartness; but when it is recollected that he had taken lessons in this kind of business for years, and that such trickery flourishes most luxuriantly under mormon influence, such a feat is no great marvel. It indicates aptness or scholarship.
The company which went up aloft, slowly wending their way downwards, at length arrived at the place where they expected to see the bell. But behold! no bell was there. The wagon itself had taken the liberty to start from its moorings. The force of gravity had not been able to retain it in its position. There it stood, a rod or two aside. No bell was in it. Could it be they had not lowered the bell? A moment's reflection confirmed their convictions that the bell had been lowered to the ground. They felt its weight drawing heavily upon the rope as they gave it out in the bell's descent. When a sufficient length of rope had been given out to reach nearly to the ground, they suddenly felt a cessation of weight pulling upon the rope, and supposed the bell had reached the wagon placed to receive it. They were convinced that they had done their duty, but by what means the bell had played truant was more than they could tell. Immediately the disappearance of the bell was noised about the village, and astonished the natives. By what superhuman power a sanctimonious church bell should take a freak and suddenly skulk away out of sight and hearing, was marvelous to all eyes. Had the inhabitants known that a light fingered mormon was in the region, they could have readily deciphered the mystery. All was query and doubt. The darkness had come on apace, and very little search could be made that night. The marvelous event was a topic of enlivened conversation throughout the place. A thousand solutions were suggested, but nothing was known with certainty as to the whereabouts of the bell or the manner of its departure. At a late hour of the evening the inhabitants of the place, with minds solicitous and somewhat disquieted; retired to rest.
On the following morning there was a general turn out of the people to search for the bell. They looked dilligently for about a week, on the land and in the water of the river passing through the place, but could find no bell. They supposed it might have been sunk in the turbid water to keep it out of view until a favorable opportunity should arrive when it could be taken away. No discoveries could be made except to trace the tracks of the wagon which carried off the bell about three
( 51 )
miles when it went into the grass and could be followed no farther. The proprietors of the bell, feeling deeply their loss, and ardently desirous to obtain a solution of the mystery, offered a $400 reward for the bell, either whole or in pieces. Still no bell was produced, no information was elicited. Its whereabouts remained a profound secret. All was left to uncertain conjecture
In the mean time Mr. Lamoreaux was wending his way as best he could under the circumstances across the country far distant from Iowa City, taking every precaution to avoid suspicion and detection. By covering up the bell with other loading in his wagon, by traveling nights, and by the aid of other brethren, he was enabled to elude the watchfulness of the inhabitants. As he rode along through the country, almost constantly would his thoughts recur with feelings of proud triumph to the wonderful achievement he had just accomplished. Often whilst traveling alone he would heartily laugh in his sleave, and when perchance he might now and then fall in with some of his mormon brethren, and make boastful mention to them of the surprising exploit of which he had just been the author, loud outbursts of irrepressible laughter would instantaneously break forth from every heart in rejoicing strains at the chicanery practised upon the Gentiles.
At length Mr. L., having passed carefully and watchfully across the state of Iowa, arrived at Council Bluffs in the fall of 1849, where he sank the bell in the Missouri river, to remain unknown to any except mormons, and undisturbed until the following spring. In the spring of 1850 there was to be a large emigration of mormons (nearly 4000) from the states to Salt Lake. Mr. L. with his family was to accompany them, and as they were on the eve of starting, he raised the bell from its watery hiding place, loaded it into his wagon, concealed by other articles, and took it with him in his journey across the plains.
In the early fall, as the mormon trains neared Salt Lake valley, and arrived upon the mountains, not of Israel of old, but the Bear River mountains, bordering Salt Lake valley upon the east, it is said they merrily rang the stolen bell to listen to such unwonted tones in the western wilderness, and give token to the inhabitants of Salt Lake city of their approach. The trains reached the valley. The families distributed themselves about the country, making arrangements for the coming winter. It was expected the mormon church would soon be furnished
( 52 )
with a bell through the indefatigable exertions and benevolence of a mormon brother.
At length Mr. David Lamoreaux came forward and offered to sell his church bell to the mormon church for the modest and unpretending sum of only $1600. When it was ascertained that he had rather more zeal to enrich his own pockets than to promote the interests of the church, the mormon authorities rejected his proposal as being extortionary, since the bell cost him only the labor of bringing it from Iowa City to Salt Lake valley. It had been supposed that Mr. L. was doing business for the church instead of himself. The leaders, in order to show a semblance of honesty and obtain the color of a title to the bell, wrote to the owners informing them that a certain church bell had been stolen from them by an individual and brought there, and if they would take some four or six hundred dollars for it they would purchase it of them, well knowing they would sell it for much less than its value in the states, rather than transport it back again to its former home.
Mr. Blair, a mormon, now in Salt Lake city, states attorney for the organized state of Deseret, formerly merchant on the valley, but now engaged in the manufacture of beer, and who has been a Texian [sic] ranger, was heard not many months since to make his boast that he had stolen property of all values, from a picayune up to a steam engine. He had followed stealing as a business. On one occasion, a few years ago, he stole a steam engine at some point on the Mississippi river, and having loaded it upon a raft was conveying it away. Being pursued, and not able to make very great speed with his unwieldy vessel, having a steam engine it is true, but neither fire, steam or wheels, he directed, as well he could, the course of his water craft towards an island in the river, hoping to reach the shore. But finding it impossible to do so before being overtaken, he sank the engine, swam ashore and hid himself upon the island.
This Mr. B. spoke of boastingly as a praiseworthy deed. He made mention of it of his own accord. According to mormon notions, stealing from Gentiles is a virtue. So commendable, in their estimation, is the business of stealing, that instead of being ashamed of it, as all people ought to be, they exultingly boast of it as creditable and meritorious. Many of the instances of theft which the mormon people have perpetuated, would never have come to the knowledge of the Gentiles had it not been for their own needless boastings. The fact that they exultingly
( 53 )
boast of such conduct, not only among themselves, but sometimes in the presence of emigrants, is proof that they justify it, and that it is sanctioned by the principles of their religion.
Last September a mormon in Salt Lake valley sold an emigrant a horse for $125. The next night after the sale the horse either strayed or was stolen. The purchaser thought the horse might have gone back to his former owner. He went there and inquired for the horse, but was told he had not been there. The loss of the horse rendered him unable to come to California according to his intention at the time of purchasing him.
A short time after this some property was stolen in the city. It was pretended by mormons that emigrants had done it. An order was immediately issued to bring back all emigrants just starting for California [by] the southern route. Accordingly men went out for that purpose, and brought back such as they found in order to detain them until it should be ascertained who was guilty of the theft. Among the rest an emigrant was brought from Utah who had in his possession the horse above named. The emigrant who had paid $125 for him knew him and claimed him, pointing out the mormon of whom he purchased the horse. The other emigrant stated that he had bought the horse of the same mormon. The purchaser commenced legal process for the trial of the right of property. Both emigrants proved in the trial by both emigrants and mormons that they had each bought the same horse of the same mormon, the one two days before the other.
The court decided that both the litigants and their witnesses were mistaken as to the horse in question, and decreed that the horse should be sold to pay the expenses of the trial, which was accordingly done. -- The testimony of a large number of witnesses must be impeached and set aside when it implicates a mormon brother. The mormon court, rather than condemn a mormon brother, according to the evidence adduced, for stealing a horse of an emigrant and selling him the second time in the space of two days, would accuse an array of witnesses of being mistaken, because it would affix less stain upon mormon character. But these witnesses gave in their testimony under such circumstances that it is unreasonable to suppose thay should be biased or give false evidence. The two litigants were emigrants. The witnesses of each consisted of emigrants and mormons. All these witnesses on both sides recognized the horse as being the one sold on each occasion to each of
( 54 )
the litigants. And yet the court has the audacity and effrontery to aver that all the witnesses are mistaken, whilst the court can see and judge better than all of them put together. In this instance the court needed no witnesses. It performed the double duty of giving testimony and judging the matter.
The expenses of the mormon court must be paid at all hazards. If a verdict cannot be rendered in favor of one or the other of the litigants, both jointly must pay the bill. Each of them must lose the price of a horse for such a purpose, and each of them must consequently pay the entire costs of the suit. The two emigrants were impoverished, the court was amply compensated for its time, whilst the mormon who had committed the rascality was greatly enriched by getting twice paid for his horse. If the mormon court had any sense of justice, or had transacted its business upon the principles usually adopted by civilized communities, it would have compelled the rascally mormon to pay back to one or the other of the emigrants the amount he had received from him as well as the entire costs of the suit. But no. The mormon brethren must be favored at the expense of all others, no matter what their conduct is.
C. M. Drown, a mormon in Salt Lake valley, stole a yoke of oxen of an emigrant just before the time of starting last spring to California, and sold them immediately to another emigrant.
On July, 1850, an emigrant had four horses stolen from him at the mouth of Parley P. Pratt's Canyon, the first night after reaching Salt Lake valley. Just before dark several mormons came to him and inquired on what terms he would sell those horses. He replied he did not wish to sell them, but was going on with them to California. The horses were taken that night and never afterwards found by the owner.
Last season an emigrant who passed through Salt Lake valley, was stopping a few days in the city and fastened his horse in the big field, as it is called, adjoining the city on the south, to eat grass. The next morning he went for his horse, but he had been taken and turned out in a distant herd. He hired a mormon to go with him that day for $5 and look for the horse. They separated, one going to one band and the other to the other band. The mormon found a horse answering the description in the band to which he went, but passed directly on, afterwards saying to the emigrant he did not see his horse. In the course of
( 55 )
the day the pursuit was abandoned, and the emigrant having previously sold his oxen, and having now lost his horse on which he intended to pack to California, was obliged to make arrangements with some of his fellow emigrants to take him through to California.
The next morning after the search for his horse, he started, in company with other emigrants, for California. The same day the same mormon who had been employed the day before to hunt for the horse, went out and brought in the same horse, and kept him through the past winter. Emigrants who spent the winter there often saw the horse in his possession and knew him.
Thus, the mormon, by having a minute description of the horse, was enabled to find him the day he was employed, and get $5 for his services. The next day he gets the horse. having now both $5 and the horse, but the emigrant was suffering the loss of both. This is a trick the mormons have often practised with the emigrants. They often drive off their stock to a considerable distance, not likely to be visited by the emigrants, and if asked by them to help find their stock, they will advise to go in the opposite direction. Thus, many an emigrant, who in good faith has applied to mormons for aid in finding his stock, has been most cruelly robbed of it by the same mormons. Those whose aid he solicits as friends, often act the part of treacherous enemies.
A man from near Independence, Jackson county, Missouri, went to California in 1849. Among his animals which he took with him were a certain horse and cow, known to those traveling with him to be his. After reaching California he, in company with several others, kept a ranch. Afterwards mormons came and formed a settlement near the ranch. A few months ago the company sold out to two of their number, and went into the mines. One of the two was the man above referred to as having come from Missouri. He still had the same horse and cow which he had brought from the states two years ago. Soon after a mormon stepped up and claimed them, and brought forward about twenty mormon witnesses who swore that the animals belonged to the mormon, some four or five of them being personally knowing to the fact that the Missourian had brought them from home in 1849. The herdsman's witnesses being absent in the mines at the time and out of reach, the animals were taken from him. This same herdsman and those who have been associated with him have lost six thousand dollars worth of
( 56 )
property within the last two years, stolen principally by mormons in California.
Any people who will write and swear falsely in behalf of each other, either to shield their own members from justice, or extort property from other folks to enrich any of their number, or follow stealing systematically or by wholesale, are dangerous and unworthy citizens in any country.
It has been stated to the emigrants on good authority that the mormon leaders in Salt Lake valley employ persons expressly for the purpose of stealing stock from emigrants and running it off to distant herd grounds out of reach of the emigrants. Some of the islands in Salt Lake are occupied as herd grounds for the church. These cannot be reached except by fording a shallow portion of the lake. These are remote from the settlements and difficult to access. Emigrants seldom visit them. It was stated to some of the emigrants last March, by persons of veracity, and whose testimony would not be questioned in the states, that the mormon church had at that time more than two hundred head of stock in its possession which had been either stolen or fraudulently obtained from the emigrants within the last few months.
Thomas Williams, a merchant now in Salt Lake valley, and who has been in jail in Quincy, Illinois, for stealing horses, during the Mexican war, robbed a Spaniard in Mexico of some property. The Spaniard made no ado about it, but waited for a favorable opportunity to reciprocate the favor. At length such a moment arrived, and he robbed Mr. Williams of a much greater amount of property. Mr. W. complained bitterly at the loss of his property, but the Spaniard remained inexorable, saying they were now even and he was willing to quit.
Dr. Whitlock, a California emigrant, who spent the past winter in Salt Lake valley, about forty miles west of Salt Lake city, had two horses, five oxen and a cow stolen from him in the spring, before he started on his journey for California. He does not know positively who took them, but believes, from circumstances, they must have been taken by mormons. He started on his journey the first day of May, encamped the first night near E. T. Benson's saw mill, about eight miles from his own house. He had another span of horses stolen, (the last horses he had,) and all his cattle driven off in different directions several miles away from him camp. In the morning when he arose and not one of his animals could be found. In the course of the day he found his cattle, but
( 57 )
not his horses. It appeared his horses had been stolen, and his cattle driven off in different directions some miles in the course of the night, as a blind to prevent the discovery of the theft of the horses, making it appear as if the Indians had undertaken to run off the stock.
The next day he drove to the Jordan bridge, within two or three miles of the city, where he encamped with his family about a week. While encamped here he got track of one of his stolen horses. It was in the possession of a young man twenty years of age who had stolen the span of horses from him on the first night after he started on his journey, and drove off the cattle so cunningly in different directions, as has been since ascertained. The young man's name is Campbell Bilingsly, who lives with his father in the city, both mormons. Dr. W. went to see him about the horse which he understood he had in his possession. He had started about two hours before with the horse for Utah, some thirty or forty miles distant. The cause of the young man's starting just then, probably was the fact that Dr. Whitlock was in the city looking for his stolen horses. He went to Willard Snow and obtained a warrant for the young man, but could get no mormon officer to go after him. He told them they connived with the thief. He then went to the father of the young man and told him as his son was under age he should hold him responsible for the horse his son had stolen. The father agreed to bring him the horse the following Monday, and accordingly did so, but would not suffer his son to come within reach of the Dr.'s warrant. Dr. W. did not know at this time that the young man had stolen both his horses. A mormon in the city cautioned him to guard against theft, because the mormons intended to steal his animals.
This Dr. left the city on his way to California. When he had traveled a little over forty miles, he encamped for the night between Brownsville and Ogden. Some other emigrants were in company with him. That night several head of animals were taken off about five miles and tied up in a deep ravine, surrounded by bushes so as to prevent any one from finding them. In the course of the day, all the animals except one horse, which belonged to the Dr., and which was the only one he had left, were found. The horse was not found. He came to California without a horse, having had four horses, five oxen, and one cow stolen from him in the short space of about two months. His loss was nearly $1000. On account of these thefts he was obliged to buy
( 58 )
some additional team[s] to bring his family and effects through to California.
That the mormons stole the whole of this property, the emigrants have very little doubt. That they stole a part of it is certainly known. One of Dr. W.'s horses was traded off by a mormon to an emigrant from the states, since he came away, and has been brought into California since he arrived. He recovered his own horse here from the emigrant by the laws of California.
At the time the mormons were residing in Kirtland, Ohio, and when the members of the fraternity were constantly harping all over the country upon the ability of the mormon leaders to perform various miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, and the like, Joseph Smith gave out word that at a certain time he would walk upon the water, confirmatory of his declarations often made that he was in such communications with the Deity he could work miracles.
A small stream ran through the place. Some short branches of sufficient height to reach from the bottom of the river nearly to the surface of the water were prepared by Smith's direction and placed in the stream several feet apart. Upon these a number of planks were placed, making a foot-bridge across the central portion of the stream. The planks did not exceed quite to the surface of the water, and the water being a little turbid, persons upon the shore could not discover them, nor could any one directly over them see them very distinctly.
( 59 )
Before the hour for the performance, some person having found out the secret, and being somewhat more roguish than religious, took the liberty to remove one of the central planks from its position. At the appointed time, the prophet of the Lord, accompanied by a large multitude of his followers and others, came down to the river. Some of the people believed he was able to walk upon the water, as did the Savior of old. They had no lack of confidence in the supernatural power of the prophet. Others were wavering and doubting, half inclined to believe, half inclined to disbelieve.
All were eager to see the performance. The celebrated Joseph had a small boat brought up along shore by some one designated beforehand. He very sanctimoniously and majestically stepped into the boat and was rowed out a little into the stream, the boatsman taking good care to run the side of the boat up against the end of the nearest plank as he had been instructed by Joseph to do, so that he could easily step out of the boat upon it. He slowly walked along out towards the centre of the stream, exulting in his triumph over the incredulity of the people. The believers in his system were more confirmed than ever: the wavering began to be firm, and the scepticism of the unbelieving began to give way. But when the prophet had advanced about to the center of the stream, as all eyes were intently fixed upon him, having arrived at the end of the plank upon which he was promenading, and extending one foot beyond its termination in order to walk further across the stream, the force of gravity so disturbed his balance that he was participated headlong into the stream.
After disappearing for a short time, he was seen again above water, and made the best of his way to the shore, the people wondering as to the cause of the prophet's taking such a ducking. No sooner had he reached the shore than he unfolded the whole mystery. He had the cunning and audacity to say to the people that the reason why he fell into the water was, that just at that instant their faith failed, and the moment that failed, God would not enable him to walk. He could not walk upon the water unless the people had faith. His ability to perform the miracle depended upon the faith of the people, instead of his own.
( 60 )
Upon this principle, the people were required to exercise faith before the miracle should be performed which was designated to create and establish that faith; before the evidence could be adduced upon which their faith should be heard. This is requiring belief without evidence, and faith without substance. Mormon faith, then, needs no foundation or evidence. After being exercised it is already in existence, and needs no subsequent proof. The mormons, on this principle, can as easily believe one thing as another, no matter how absurd or ridiculous. Evidence does not produce their faith but their faith produces the evidence. This is setting imagination above reason, instead of reason above imagination. It is not making a proper use of the rational powers of man. It is derogatory to the dignity of the human soul to make such a use of its powers.
We would naturally expect to find the mormon people very fanciful, imaginative, and erratic in the cast or habit of their minds upon all religious subjects: and so we find them. Their faith is nothing more nor less than a conjuration of the imagination, and one thing may be imagined as well as another. Such a people are prepared, by the habit of their minds, to believe any thing which may be proposed. They have but little reason, philosophy, or scripture in their religious system. They depend more upon what the call revelation, than upon any or all of these, for their guide.
The mormons do not work miracles on the same principles as the ancient prophets and apostles did. These holy men and servants of God wrought miracles by virtue of their own faith, when there was none exercised by the people, and for the express purpose of producing faith in the people. In apostolic times faith followed miracles, and resulted from them.
We will mention, in this connection, one other circumstance illustrating the mormon view of faith. In the year 1835 a presbyterian minister visited Kirtland, Ohio. The mormons at that time were very active in their efforts to make proselytes. They were in the habit of lecturing almost every one they saw upon mormonism, and were often very annoying, especially to strangers.
On the occasion above referred to, almost immediately after the minister reached the house, a mormon came into the room and began in a very clamorous and vociferous manner to exhort him to become a mormon, telling him he would certainly go to hell if he did not embrace it.
( 61 )
He stood up upon tiptoe and stretched out his hand over the minister's head, talking almost incessantly, giving little or no opportunity for reply. Now and then he would partially pause and ask him if he believed mormonism, to which the reply was that he did not. The mormon would then begin louder and more vehement than ever, some times setting forth the claims of mormonism, and at others dealing out denunciations and anathemas upon all others but themselves. Frequently in this harrangue he would make mention of their supernatural powers, such as the working of miracles, talking in unknown tongues, &c., as a proof that mormonism was true.
The minister told him if he would work a miracle before his eyes, he might perhaps believe mormonism. The mormon, as if conscious he could perform any miracle, and one as well as another, asked him what miracle he wished to have him perform. He told him there was a lame horse at the gate, which, if he would instantly cure, he would think he had the power of working miracles. He offered to go immediately and show him the lameness of the horse, urging him to perform the cure at once. The mormon asked him if he believed he had the power to work the miracle or instantly effect the cure. He replied no. The mormon then said he could not work the miracle because the minister did not believe he could do it. He said it was necessary in all cases that the people for whom miracles were wrought should believe in the ability of the worker to perform them, as a prerequisite to his being able to do so. -- This is precisely the same sentiment on the subject of working miracles by faith which Joseph Smith advanced.
The following narrative shows trickery and chicanery, carried on to a very unusual extent by the mormons in order to accomplish their designs. Some fifteen or sixteen years ago, whilst the mormons were residing in Ohio, a Mr. Jack Reden, a mormon preacher, and one of Joseph Smith's life guard, undertook to convert his uncle to the same faith which he had embraced. He frequently appointed meetings for preaching at his uncle's house, by which means his aunt was led to embrace mormonism, be baptized and join the church. The uncle, however, still remained unbelieving.
After awhile this Reden had a vision, in which it was revealed to him that his uncle should obey the gospel. If he did not obey, the Lord would convince him of the truth of the work of the latter day saints by taking away his property by piece meal, so that he could not prosper,
( 62 )
but would gradually decline until he should believe. This would be done by the wrath of God being visited upon him.
The mormon preacher hastened to his uncle, gravely and piously telling him the revelation which he had, and exhorting him to embrace mormonism. Still he could not see sufficient evidence of its truth to satisfy his mind that it was his duty to comply with the wishes of his devoted nephew. At length, in order to operate upon his uncle's mind, and convince him of the truth of mormonism, the faithful nephew began to fulfill the prophecy contained in the revelation he had previously received of the Lord.
His first step in this work was to steal a span of his uncle's horses in the night, and take them to the heads of the church, who had them run off immediately out of reach, so that the uncle could get no trace of them. Not long after, the uncle still remaining unbelieving, the nephew took some more of his stock in the same way. From time to time his animals were missing from his farm, always taken in the night and no where to be found. The uncle was greatly crippled and hindered in his business by the loss of his stock. He was dispirited and vexed but not converted. This process was continued with the knowledge and sanction of Joseph Smith and the heads of the church, until the man was so destitute of personal property that he sold his farm, and with the avails bought stock and other personal property to replace that which had been taken from him, and rented a farm on which to live.
Being once more in comfortable circumstances, with teams, tools and other necessities for the prosecution of his business, he pursued his wonted avocation of husbandry, to provide a subsistence for himself and family, believing that he who would not provide for those of his own household was worse than an infidel. Whilst thus industriously, lawfully, and happily employed, hoping to regain by diligence and frugality, at least a portion of what he had lost, his stock and other property began again most cruelly to take to itself wings and fly away, he knew not where. As before, no traces of the truants could be found, far or near. His naturally honest and candid mind was open to conviction, but could not see sufficient evidence in favor of mormonism to believe it true. His property continued to diminish from time to time until the man was again stripped of nearly every thing he had, and reduced from affluent circumstances to abject poverty. He had now neither farm nor stock. He was severely tried, and began to consider his way.
( 63 )
The singular arguments which had been so long employed, had by this time very sensibly affected his purse, if not his head, or his heart. About this time the devoted and faithful nephew was called off from his labors of love, with his uncle, to remove to Missouri. In process of time the mormon difficulties in that state arose, and the mormons, after being driven out of the state, finally located at Nauvoo, Illinois. Mr. Jack Reden, the nephew, accompanied them.
In the mean time, the uncle remaining in Ohio, and reflecting upon the mysterious ways of Providence in taking away his property by piece meal, and not allowing him under any circumstances to retain it, was led gradually to change his views respecting the mormon faith. He thought possibly it might be true, especially, when it could make prophecies which should be so exactly fulfilled as had been those in relation to himself. These things were strange and marvelous in his eyes. He felt that they were of the Lord's ordering, and that it was with the Lord he had emphatically to do. He could resist no longer, His incorrigibleness entirely gave way. He placidly yielded to his convictions, embraced the mormon faith, and joined the mormon church.
He now, having heartily adopted the mormon creed, felt a community of interest with the latter day saints, and ardently desired to reach their gathering place at Nauvoo, that he might enjoy their blissful society and learn the words of wisdom from the leaders of the church. Being poor, and unable, with his own resources, to take the journey from Ohio to Nauvoo, he wrote to his endeared nephew, informing him of the marvelous change which had taken place in his views and feelings since his departure from Ohio, and requesting him to send such aid as he needed to effect his removal to Nauvoo. The nephew did so, and the uncle at length arrived. Amazing were the things he beheld in Zion. He was highly gratified with his new residence. He had found the best spot upon earth. Though destitute, he was contented and happy.
But his situation was rendered still more joyful by the various presents which he received from different members of the church. These presents were generally such as he needed, and were therefore the most valuable to him on that account, and their bestowment showed the greater wisdom. They were not all bestowed at once, but came along at timely intervals, secret arrangements having been previously made with the members by the leaders to bring forward their various presents
( 64 )
at certain specified times, for the double purpose of relieving the man's necessities, and fulfilling the prophecy which the nephew, many years before, had said should come to pass, visiting the uncle with unwonted prosperity in case of obedience to the commands of God.
The first present he received was ten acres of land from Joseph Smith. Directly he received a horse from another, a cow from another, &c., until he was made quite comfortable.
It appeared to the uncle that these presents were gratuitous, but those who bestowed them were compensated for their gifts from the funds of the church.
In order to effect this conversion from gentileism to mormonism, more pains were taken than were ever employed in making a proselyte by the hypocritical Jews of old. A crime was committed against law and justice to accomplish the object. The church, which had the benefit of the property taken from the uncle, never returned as much as it had received, and made quite a speculation by the operation. It had the use of all the property taken for years, a part of it permanently, and secured the conversion of a valuable member.
Whilst the mormons were residing in Ohio, Joseph Smith, in the early part of a certain Sabbath, after the immense congregation had assembled in the temple for divine service, stated that he did not feel himself to be holy enough to be there, and wished to go home and spend the day in fasting and prayer. He immediately retired. The people, seeing their prophet manifest such regard for sanctity, felt themselves admonished, and were quickened in duty. They devoutly spent the sacred day in the services of the sanctuary.
Some time after, the manner in which the mormon prophet spent the day was ascertained. It was in contriving ways and means to swindle some New York merchants out of about $50,000 due them for goods already received and sold out. This was the burden that rested on his mind. He professed the greatest piety and practiced the basest wickedness. This was another effort at deception.
About the same time, on private conversation, Joseph Smith acknowledged that the gold plates which he had pretended to the world to have
( 65 )
found near Palmyra, in the state of New York, were nothing more nor less than a small box of sand which he brought from the field into the house, and having succeeded in deceiving his wife in relation to it, he thought he would see how far he could fool mankind. These two last facts were related by a mormon who afterwards became a useful baptist minister.
Martin Harris, one of the first witnesses to the mormon bible, and who had testified in the most solemn manner that he had seen, and handled the golden plates, was asked one day after he had apostatized, if he actually saw the gold plates. He said that he did not see them with his natural eyes. He only saw them in his mind. In other words, he imagined that they existed, because Joseph Smith had told him they did.
Here, deception was practised by the witnesses in pretending that they saw gold plates, when, in point of fact, they never saw any, and none existed. Prevarication was employed in using language which, according to its obvious and legitimate import, conveyed the idea that they saw with their eyes what they saw only with the mind, or imagined to exist.
This was in keeping with the practice of Smith in former days when he was a money digger. He was in the habit of putting his head into an old black hat, pulling it up so as to exclude the light, and then by various motions with his head, as if looking here and there, he would pretend that he saw money beneath the surface of the ground. In this way he often kept a pack of fools employed for weeks digging up the earth, but finding nothing but dirt and stones. Had the gold in California been discovered at that time, he might have been more successful.
A Mr. Washburn Loomis, from Niagara county, N. Y., though generally considered innocent, was nevertheless sentenced by the mormon authorities to wear the ball and chain two years, and was pardoned by Brigham Young on condition of his paying $200 cash in hand. -- Mr. Young immediately reported that he had given him a free pardon, and it was generally supposed he had; when, in point of fact, he had sold him his pardon for $200. He required Mr. L. to keep it a profound secret.
We are told that Brigham Young pardoned Mr. Loomis first, and then told him if he did not immediately pay him $200 he should lose his head before he could get out of the valley. He had not the money to pay it,
( 66 )
and was compelled to sell some property at a reduced price, and borrow some money of a Mr. Haskell to meet the demand.
He was not allowed to come the northern route to California with California emigrants, but was required to go the southern route in company with a large mormon train of about 500 persons, which left Salt Lake last March to settle near the Pacific coast in southern California. Some fears were entertained by the emigrants for his safety. His friends would do well to enquire after him.
In this transaction Mr. Young had practised deception and duplicity. He pretended to the community he had given Mr. Loomis a free pardon, when he had just sold it to him for $200. He extorted this amount from him by threats that his life would be taken of he did not pay it.
The mormon preachers and missionaries who go abroad to proclaim their tenets, never bring forward any thing before an uninitiated audience, except what they are pleased to call the first principles of mormonism. In their introductory efforts they wish to make their sentiments as palatable as possible. In order to [do] this, they bring forward only those parts of their system which are the least objectionable to other denominations. The most of their tenets are not presented, but are kept behind the curtain.
Even the private members of their own church know only a part of the secrets of the mormon scheme. Often, in conversation, do they intimate this. Instead of openly and frankly avowing their sentiments in full to either the Gentile world or even to such of their own members as are not in office, they studiously conceal a part from their view.
All this shows deception on the part of the leaders. They have plans and schemes which it is not safe to divulge to the world at large. They do not court the light. They shun free enquiry.
[ 67 ]
The mormons take it upon themselves to administer upon the estates of emigrants who happen to die in Salt Lake valley. This they do whether the emigrants have, or do not have, friends along with them, and whether they are in partnership, or are simply managing their own private concerns. If persons living elsewhere, as in California, for instance, and having property in Salt Lake valley, should happen to die, the mormon authorities assume the responsibility of administering on said property situated within their bounds.
But in this mormon administration upon the emigrants' estates, there is one peculiarity never before known in civilized countries. This officious, assumed, and uncalled for administration is not performed with any reference to saving the property for the benefit of the friends or heirs of the deceased. Oh no! The property is appropriated to a better and holier use than merely being restored to the legitimate legal owners according to the usages and laws of civilized nations. It is diverted from its legal course into a channel much more in accordance with the will of God, (according to mormon notions,) than to have it descend to its legal heirs. It is simply turned over to the mormon church to be used by the leaders in furtherance of their schemes of spreading abroad and establishing mormonism in the world. For mormons to administer on emigrants' estates, is nothing more or less than to confiscate those estates to the use and benefit of the mormon church. They do not inquire after the names or the places of residence of the heirs of the property. They often do not know whether said heirs reside within the limits of the United States, on the continent of Europe, or elsewhere. They have no desire for any such information. They studiously avoid all means of acquiring it. A few facts will illustrate the subject.
( 68 )
Three emigrants were in company in Salt Lake valley. Mr. C. Custer owned one half the property, Mr. Huntsman one fourth, and Mr. Orlando Freeland the other fourth. Mr. Custer was shot by Indians about two weeks before the time he intended to start for California the past spring. The company were owing, at the time of his death, between one and two hundred dollars to emigrants, about four hundred to Mr. Bucklin, a mormon, and a small amount to Mr. Packard, a merchant in the city, but not a mormon. Immediately on the death of Mr. Custer, Mr. Huntsman, one of the surviving partners, began to settle up the business and pay off the debts. He paid several of the creditors, and offered to pay the whole, but the mormon authorities took the business out of his hands, and would not allow him to do the least thing, though he was a partner and owned one fourth of the property at the time.
They compelled those with whom he had settled, and to whom he had paid any thing, to refund what they had received. The company were owing Dr. Whitlock, an emigrant, a note of $28, which Mr. Huntsman had paid, and which amount the mormons afterwards took away from the Dr., causing him to lose it. The company was also owing Patrick Mahoney, an emigrant, which Mr. Huntsman had paid, and which the mormons had also in like manner taken away from him, causing him to lose it. Losing this, Mr. Mahoney was unable to get a team, or even hire his passage to California. After this disaster, Mr. M. tarried three weeks longer, earned some flour, and was able, besides to pay a man $10 to bring his flour in his wagon on the journey to California. He made an arrangement with another man to furnish him some milk to use on the road. By this arrangement he was furnished with bread and milk, his only food on the journey. Not being able to hire his passage, he was obliged to walk from Salt Lake to California, a distance of about 800 miles. This destitution he experienced in consequence of the robbery of hard hearted mormons.
The sheriff was appointed administrator, and the property belonging to the company was taken into custody by the mormons. It consisted of twelve oxen, three wagons, seventy dollars worth of lumber and a house. The property in the aggregate was considered worth at least $1000 or $1200. The mormon debt of $400 due Mr. Bucklin, they would probably pay out of it, and keep the balance themselves. By this operation the mormon authorities would get several hundred dollars
( 69 )
for their own use, one half of which legally belonged to the heirs of the deceased, and the other half to the surviving partners. But neither the one nor the other will probably ever get a cent of it. It was confiscated to the mormon government, as is usual in such cases. *
Dr. Joseph Whitfield and John Lee, emigrants from Peru, Illinois, spent the past winter in Salt Lake City. Before leaving the states, these men, like brothers, had agreed to help each other, share each other's profits and losses together, not only [on] the journey to California, but also during their sojourn in that country. When they left the states Dr. W. had no money, and Mr. Lee had only fifty dollars, by which, with some services rendered on the route by each of them, they were enabled to reach Salt Lake city.
During the winter these men lived in a roomy wagon box well covered over with cloth, with a small stove in one end, and a pane of glass for a window in the other. In this singular residence, Mr. Lee, being a tailor, worked at his trade. Getting considerable employ, he earned nearly all their support through the winter, and their California outfit in the spring. Dr. W., although a physician and dentist, was unable to earn much of any thing whilst at Salt Lake city. It was expected that the Dr. would be able to earn more in California than Mr. Lee, and by sharing equally with him would, in the end, fully compensate him for his former favors.
Before setting out on their toilsome and uncomfortable journey, they took two other persons into their company to furnish a part of the outfit and mess with them. The names of these two, were William McIntyre and Henry Rickenburg. They furnished two yoke of oxen and half the provisions; while the other two, first mentioned, furnished one yoke of oxen, the wagon, and half the provisions.
Having completed their arrangements for the journey, they set out about noon on the 25th of last March, and proceeded on their way together several miles. When some distance beyond the hot sulphur
* Among the mormons, church and state are united. They do not believe in a civil government separate from the church. They believe the state should be entirely under the direction and control of the church, and should merely subserve its interests. Whatever, therefore, is done by the mormon authorities in pursuance of their civil enactments, is done with express reference to the church.
Mr. Custer, above referred to, is said to have a wife and children living in Ackron, Ohio.
( 70 )
spring, which is four miles from the city. Dr. Whitfield and Rickenburg started on ahead to get wood, build a fire, and make other preparations for the night camp. They were more anxious to make early preparations for their suppers because they had started away from the city without their dinners. But being unacquainted with the numerous roads in that vicinity they took a wrong one which led up towards the mountain on the right, and became lost. Rickenburg started back to find the wagon, and by accident blundered upon the place where it was, being led by a light which he saw through the darkness of the night. Some time in the night it appeared that Dr. Whitfield traveled back into the road he had left, and pursued it towards the city nearly to the hot spring, and sitting down became so chilled as to become stupid, and in the course of the night died. He was very thinly clad for the season, had no vest on, and only moccasins on his feet.
Mr. Lee and the rest of the company expected him in all the evening and the next morning, but were disappointed. They supposed he had gone to some of the houses in the vicinity, of which there were several, though most of the way from the city there were none. They had reached the Sessions neighborhood the first night, some nine or ten miles from the city. While they were wondering where the Dr. could be, or what had become of him, word was brought that a man was lying dead in the road towards town, who, by the description, they supposed to be the missing man. Presently, they started back, and on reaching the place where he lay, after a rapid walk of several miles, found their apprehensions true. Here lay the unfortunate man who had the day before started with buoyant hope and fond expectation for the golden region. The first night after his departure ended his earthly career. He was now no more. The night had been exceedingly cold, even for the season, and somewhat stormy withal. The poor man, lost, bewildered, and fatigued, had perished, had frozen to death.
According to the custom of the states, Mr. Lee and his associates thought it would be necessary to have a coroner's inquest held over the body before it should be removed, and accordingly sent to the city authorities to inform them respecting what had happened, and request them to take the necessary steps in the case, they in the mean time remaining with the corpse. At length bishop Hendricks, accompanied by several others, arrived, stating that he was authorized to attend to the case, and gave permission to his friends to bury him, which they accordingly
( 71 )
did, near the foot of a mountain not far distant from the spot where he was found. The bishop inquired whether the Dr. had any money or not, and was told by Mr. Lee that he had none. The melancholy duty of burial being over, Mr. Lee and the rest of the company returned to their team, where they tarried the following night. Several other emigrants happening along through the day had fallen into their company.
The next morning they started again on their journey and traveled as far as Mr. Haight's Creek, some 21 miles from the city, where they encamped for the night. Shortly afterwards, Mr. G. D. Grant from the city, accompanied by another man, rode up in a buggy, and said he was sent out with authority to bring back the team to which the deceased belonged. His papers being shown, it was discovered that no deceased man's name was mentioned in them. His papers were therefore informal and strictly of no avail. But the company did not wish to equivocate and therefore listened to his statements. He wanted the whole team, provisions, and men, all to go back to town. But having started on a journey eight hundred miles long, with an ox team, and having advanced twenty one miles already, and there being several of them, they felt an unwillingness to return. Mr. Lee proposed to have the business settled there, if possible, so as not to detain them. Accordingly, Mr. Grant consented to arrange it there as administrator of Dr. Whitfield's estate. He had come there as sheriff or constable to bring back the property, and now he assumes the character of administrator of the unknown man's estate.
He took the Dr.'s dentist instruments, of which he had an unusually large and valuable assortment, all his wearing apparel, and every thing else which belonged exclusively to him, and then insisted on having half of every thing of which the Dr. owned a share. Though he had paid but a trifle towards the outfit, Mr. Grant insisted on having full on half of all they owned together. Mr. Lee proposed to let him have one ox, he retaining the other and the wagon, but Mr. G. would not consent to it. He wanted the best ox and the wagon also, leaving Mr. Lee with only one ox to make his journey to California, and all three of the proprietors of the team without any wagon.
Mr. Lee finally compromised with Mr. Grant for the ox and half the wagon by paying him forty five dollars in cash, and having only $4.25 of his own, he was obliged to borrow the balance, to be paid in California,
( 72 )
leaving him without a cent to use in case of emergency on the journey. Mr. Grant took the only gun they had, which belonged to them jointly. After getting every thing which belonged to the Dr.'s estate, and some things which did not belong to it, but belonged to Mr. Lee individually, Mr. Grant gave a certificate to Mr. Lee certifying that he was administrator. For some cause he did not see fit to write it himself, and requested several others to do so before he found one to do it. Finally the gentleman who came with him took pen to write it. On account of the singular scholarship displayed in it, it is well worthy a place in this connection, and reads thus. We give the language and spelling, according to the original copy, verbatim et literatim:
Here is another paper drawn up in an equally scholarlike and business manner:
This is to sertify that William Mackentire has baut if G. D. Grant one ox and the half of one wagon, the property of Joseph Whitfield which the amount 45.
In these two short legal documents no less than six words are spelt wrong, some words are omitted, and much is awkwardly expressed. No one who pretends to do public business should be guilty of such egregious blunders.
But what right had the mormon authorities to send an officer to take back emigrants who were on their way to California, and subject them to delay, and additional expense, though not guilty of the least crime ir offence against the laws of Utah territory? They had just as much right as the man in the moon, and no more. And what right had they to administer on the estate of a California emigrant who happened to die on the road thither? None at all. They have not the least jurisdiction over such a case. If they are allowed to have jurisdiction over the estate of a California emigrant who happens to die on the road near the city, they may with equal propriety claim jurisdiction over his estate if he happens to die on any other part of the route. On this principle they would administer on the estate of all California emigrants who die on the road between the Missouri river and Sacramento city, even if their own friends and relatives are along with them; and that,
( 73 )
too, even if they should go to Fort Hall, and not come by Salt Lake, or any nearer to it than 150 miles. What arrogant assumption! And yet the mormons adopt the principle which leads to this result when carried out.
And what do they do with the property which they get into their possession, and on which they propose to administer? Why, verily, they put it into the church fund for their own use. The relatives of the deceased transient persons are the very last ones to be benefitted by the property which they legally inherit. The mormons are in the habit of seizing upon the property of those who die, if the property is within reach, whether they die in Salt Lake valley or elsewhere. Seldom do the heirs receive any share of the property, or any benefit from it.
In the case already mentioned no inquiry was made as to Dr. Whitfield's relations, who they were, or where they lived. Nor did they seem to care to know. They had received about $300 of his property, and now having got all they could they only wished to enjoy it unmolested. The facts in the above case are certified by several persons who were eye witnesses. *
In the year 1844, the same year in which Joseph Smith was killed, a citizen of Illinois took some beef to Nauvoo for sale. A Mr. Cutler, who was then one of the building committee having charge of the great mormon temple, then in progress of erection in that place, wished to buy some of it, offering a gun in payment. The owner of the beef said he did not wish to buy it, that he had no use for it. Mr. Cutler asked him if he had any gun. He told him he had not. Mr. Cutler, supposing he was a mormon, made the following declaration, "that he could not be a mormon without having a gun." The man then further said, by way of objection to buying an article for which he had no use, that he never loaded or shot a gun in his life, and therefore had no use for it. Mr. Cutler, still urging him to buy it, made this statement in further elucidation of the mormon system, as a reason why the man should take the gun in payment for beef, viz: "you cannot have religion without you know how to use a gun."
A person cannot be a mormon without having a gun, nor can he have religion without knowing how to use it. This is new doctrine in modern
* Dr. Whitfield's life had been threatened before he left the city, and some think he was killed by the mormons. The authorities would not allow him to be examined before burial.
( 74 )
times, and especially among protestants. From the avowal of such sentiments by one of the leading mormons, we should naturally expect to find them possessing a warlike character, and disposed to propagate their religion by the sword as did Mahomet. They exhibited a warlike aspect in Kirtland, Ohio, as was noticeable by the inhabitants then residing there. In Missouri they armed themselves in defiance of the state. In Illinois they had the well trained Nauvoo Legion, and now, in Salt Lake valley, they have their monthly drills of troops.
According to the statement of Mr. Cutler, a gun is a necessary appendage to a mormon. A man might own a gun without being a mormon, but he could not be a mormon without possessing a gun. A person could not embrace the mormon faith without it. It is an essential ingredient in the character of a mormon that he have a shooting instrument. Such a possession aids his faith amazingly.
Moreover, he cannot have religion without knowing how to use a gun. The burning of powder in fire arms, and the propelling of such missiles as lead, &c., towards objects animate and inanimate, constitutes a part of the mormon religion.
The following statement, made by a mormon to a California emigrant a few months since, illustrates the disposition which mormons often manifest towards them.
A mormon by the name of West, an Englishman, stood guard at the Jordan bridge at night to watch for emigrants. Immediately after he stood sentry he said to another mormon that he wished in his heart that an emigrant had come along while he was on guard, that he might have said to him in an insulting and provoking manner, "who comes there?" and if he had appeared the least saucy he would have blown him through. The other mormon replied that he was a good mormon, that this is the true mormon principle.
It is the true mormon principle to insult the emigrants, and if they return the compliment, to shoot them down. It is the true mormon principle to kill the emigrants at pleasure, without trial, judge or jury, whenever their caprice or revenge prompt them to do so. They treacherously come upon them unawares, like an Indian, and barbarously kill them.
Willard Snow, a justice of the peace in and for Salt Lake city, whilst trying some persons last winter who were arraigned before him for certain offences, said to them on the trial, "If I had my way, I would cut
( 75 )
your damned throats!" Mr. George Grant, deputy sheriff, on the same occasion said to the same individuals, "If I had my way, I would drown you in the Jordan river." One of the persons accused said there was no one present who was able to do it.
Pretty language this, for a justice of the peace to use to those who are arraigned before him for trial according to the principles of justice and equity, who is bound by his oath of office to administer impartial justice to all without respect of persons, and who is also bound not only to keep the peace himself, but to preserve it in others. He not only lowered the dignity of his office, but was guilty of profanity.
The mormon church adopts the principle of privately dispatching obnoxious persons among the Gentiles. It is an article of their creed to put their enemies out of the way whenever they have opportunity to do so. These murderous and revengeful sentiments pervade the mormon community, and are often expressed by the people. They were often advanced last winter in the hearing of the emigrants. The following is an instance of this kind:
Mr. Abijah Bradley, a California emigrant, was inquired of to know if he was among the Missouri troops called out by Gov. Boggs. He replied that he was. He was asked if he had killed any mormons. He said that he did not know as he had harmed any of them. He was here alone with the whole mormon church. They could investigate the matter, and if they should find him guilty, they had the power to do with him as they pleased.
Mr. Stickney, an aged mormon, living near Brownsville, told him that no mobocrat who had injured them could pass through that valley alive, unless he did it in the night. He said they would have their heads cut off, and they would be thrown among the willows. * He also said the mormons were murderers and could not be christians without. He quoted scripture to justify murder -- "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," &c. Mr. Stickney turned to a brother mormon and asked him if it was not so. He replied that it was, that all mobocrats were in danger of losing their lives in passing through this valley.
Here is an open avowal that the mormons are murderers. And they are murderers, not from passion, or inclination merely, but from principle.
* There is a great abundance of willow brushes in the neighborhood bordering the Weber river.
( 76 )
It is an essential point in their creed. They cannot be christians without. They utterly reject the gospel instruction on this point, which forbids such a course, and enjoins the duty of forgiveness, praying for our enemies, &c.
The emigrants who spent the past winter in Salt Lake valley, became thoroughly convinced that it is a principle of the mormon creed to put their enemies out of the way whenever they can get them into their power. We have no doubt that Mr. Stickney stated truths which belong to the mormon system. The acknowledgments often made by other mormons confirm the statements of Mr. Stickney. Information received from other sources by persons spending considerable time there also confirm them.
If the mormons are murderers from principle, and cannot be christians without being murderers, according to their notions of things, then they religiously murder their enemies, and other persons for whom, from any cause, they happen to cherish a strong dislike. They are impeled to do this by the principles of their religion, and are sustained and upheld by those principles. Consequently, they feel that they are merely discharging their duty whilst engaged in such practices. Of course they feel no compunctions of conscience. A people governed by such principles are a dangerous people. It is high time that the truth in relation to their principles and practices was known abroad.
In order to carry out their system and accomplish their designs, the mormons have a class of persons among them set apart for a specific purpose and entrusted with a special duty. They are a kind of minute-men appointed to execute any orders which the leaders see fit to give, no matter what those orders are. They are a life-guard to protect the leaders, and a police to pursue and privately dispatch all persons obnoxious to the mormon church. Upon these errands they are often sent; these varied duties they often perform.
This class of persons was first organized in Missouri about the year 1836, under the command of "Captain Fear Not," alias David Patten. The number of which that company consisted is not precisely known, but is understood to have been nearly seventy, and to have remained about the same ever since. This class of persons the mormons now have in Salt Lake valley in active and efficient service.
The most daring, adventurous, resolute and hardened characters are generally selected for this purpose. They are usually called "Danites."
( 77 )
By this name they are known throughout the mormon community. Whenever they are called upon by the heads of the church to perpetuate some horrible act, such as taking the life of a fellow man by drowning, strangling, shooting, or beheading, they are encouraged and comforted in the outrageous act by the leaders, who will tell them to go forward and obey the mandates they receive without inquiring whether their acts will be right or wrong; saying also to them, that the responsibility rests upon those who give the authoritive commands, and not upon the Danites who execute those commands. The leaders advocate the doctrine that these Danites in such transactions have no more accountability than mere machines; that the leaders, being inspired and constantly under divine influence, are infallibly secured against error in principle or obliquity in practice, and can issue no commands not in accordance with the will of God.
These Danites are ever ready to commit the foulest deeds of assassination and murder, provided they are sent by the heads of the church. It matters not whether their victims are guilty or innocent; whether they have, or have not, had a trial by legal process. These are matters of minor consideration. The most important thing with them is, have they been commanded to do this, or that, or the other thing. If so, it must be promptly obeyed at all hazards. Says an emigrant, "I have often heard them say that they were bound to do whatever their leaders told them to do. If they should be told to kill any of the members of their own families, they would immediately execute the mandate of the leaders, let the consequences be what they might."
This would be done, not by the requirements of civil law, in executing its penalties, but in obedience to the command of a single individual, without regard to the right or the wrong of the transaction. What a sacrifice of reason, manly independence, and personal responsibility! Strange, that any person with the natural endowments of man, can condescend to such servile bondage.
These Danites are sent not only into all parts of Utah territory to perpetrate their foul and fiendish purposes, but also to California and elsewhere. A large proportion of them are known to the California emigrants, * and their professed object being to murder all persons pointed
* Among the Danites may be mentioned Porter Rockwell, (who spent the last season in California under the assumed name of Brown, and kept a tavern on the road between Sacramento and Placerville, about
( 78 )
out to them by the mormon leaders as obnoxious to the mormon church, the emigrants do not feel very well inclined towards them, and might, of they should make their appearance among them, so far discard the supremacy of the law as to pay them off in their own coin. It certainly would not be safe for such characters to present the temptation, or make the fearful experiment.
The following facts illustrate this part of the subject. A mormon acknowledged to Mr. N. K. Hammond, a California emigrant, that in the fall of 1849, the mormons killed an emigrant on the flat west of the city and near the Jordan bridge, by tieing one end of a long rope upon a horse, and riding him rapidly so as to throw him down and drag him into the Jordan river, not to float down stream into Salt Lake, but with weights fastened to him to sink him to the bottom, where he could not be seen by other emigrants. Sinking folks in this river is a frequent practice among the mormons.
The wife of an emigrant, who came into Salt Lake valley last season, was visiting in the city a few months ago, at one of her sister's who was a mormon. In the course of the conversation she made the remark that some of the mobocrats (calling California emigrants in general by that approbrious epithet) would never get back to the states. Some of these California emigrants, having left Salt Lake for California, were pursued by a company of mormons on foot. In four or five weeks this company returned with a large number of horses, several carriages, and considerable property. The mormon women advanced the idea that this mormon company had put these emigrants out of the way and had taken their property.
In the summer of 1849 an emigrant passed through Salt Lake valley, supposed, by the mormons, to have been in the Illinois mob which killed Joseph Smith. He was pursued by three mormons, Mr. Scott, the sheriff, Porter Rockwell, the Danite already mentioned, and one other man. The emigrant saw his pursuers coming after him, and ran his horse, being aware of their intention. Discovering that he was likely to be overtaken, he turned off from the road to get among the willow bushes.
thirty miles from the former place.) Jud Stoddard, Cyrus Canfield, Thomas Williams, George Grant, James Cragen, M. Jones, &c.
( 79 )
The mormons came up to him, and without trial, judge, or jury, they cut off his head.
This occured about sixteen miles north of the city, and near the road running nearest Salt Lake, and commonly called the lower road. The place has been seen by many of the emigrants. Several mormons made mention of this fact to emigrants during our sojourn among them. The transaction shows the summary manner in which mormons privately dispatch persons without trial, judge, or jury.
In the year 1838, in the time of the mormon troubles in Missouri, a boy, some fifteen or sixteen years of age, was taken prisoner by the mormons and conveyed to Far West. After detaining him in custody a few hours, Captain Fear Not, commander of the Danites, piloted him out a short distance and directed him to take a certain by-path, telling him that if he should take the main road he might be killed by mormons with whom he should meet on the way.
The young man, regarding Captain Fear Not as giving friendly advice, endeavored to follow his directions. The way was devious and somewhat blind. He pursued it as well as he could, escaping, as he supposed, from all dangers. He had not pursued his journey very far before he discovered a man stationed for the purpose of shooting him down. Fortunately, at this point he had deviated somewhat from the path he was told to pursue. His course was about two hundred yards from the sentinel. When he had arrived opposite to him, the sentinel drew up his gun to shoot him, the young man starting to run in a zig zag manner to avoid the shot. The ball, however, took effect, breaking his thigh. He instantly fell to the ground. The sentinel, supposing he had killed him, immediately left the place without going to examine the victim. The young man was able to crawl along the ground, but it was two or three days before he was found and taken home, or got food to eat.
Report says, that sentinel was Parley P. Pratt, one of the twelve mormon apostles, and the author of the "Voice of Warning." A few weeks ago this gentleman was at San Francisco, attending to mormon interests in California. This fact was related by a gentleman of candor and undoubted veracity, who was formerly a mormon.
The practice which prevails among the mormon people of privately dispatching obnoxious persons without trial, judge, or jury, is most revolting
( 80 )
and barbarous. That they should way-lay and fall upon them unawares, and kill them from caprice, or revenge, without a fair and impartial trial, is disgraceful to any civilized people, and much more so to a people professing to be christian.
Brigham Young, and many of the mormons, are in the frequent habit of using threatning language towards the emigrants. They often talk of cutting off people's heads, cutting their throats, and the like. The following is an instance of this kind: Willard Snow, while sitting as a justice of the peace last winter in the trial of Mr. John Galvin for striking a mormon, said (we use his own language) to him, "If you ever lay your hands on another saint I will have your head cut off before you leave the city. I thank God that the time is not far distant, and I shall rejoice when it comes, that I shall have the authority to pass sentence of life and death upon the Gentiles, and I will have their heads snatched off like chickens in the door yard." We understand that Mr. S. has been appointed one of the associate judges of the U. S. District Court for Utah territory!
This suit cost Mr. Galvin over $100. The fine was $50, and the costs more than $50.
Freedom of speech is greatly abridged in Salt Lake valley. Neither mormons nor emigrants enjoy that freedom of speech, which is characteristic of the American people, and guaranteed by the constitution of the United States.
Dr. Parker, one of the California emigrants, last winter had free, frank, and candid conversations with a certain mormon respecting mormonism, discussing the merits and demerits of some of its principles. He was advised not to talk thus freely with other mormons, because, said he, your life would be in danger.
This shows two things: 1st. That the gag law is enforced in Salt Lake valley. 2d. That it is the general impression and belief among the mormon people themselves, that if a Gentile uses his freedom in the use of speech, his life is endangered.
Freedom of inquiry and manly independence are not tolerated in Salt Lake valley. The mormon members have no more liberty of thought and action than children. Brigham Young does what little thinking is done for the whole. If a mormon member manifests a disposition to think for himself, if he is naturally inclined to freedom of enquiry and originality of thought, he is immediately sent off on a foreign mission,
( 81 )
where his unmanagibleness will be less apparent, and its influence on mormonism less deleterious. Orson Pratt, now in England, is said to have been sent abroad for this reason. There is nothing like the character of American freemen among the mormon members. Those of them (more than half their number) who are from the states, have lost that distinctive character of the American people since becoming mormons.
Whilst the mormon people are thus trameled and enslaved, it would not naturally be expected that the emigrants would be allowed much freedom of speech, if in the power of mormons to prevent it. But United States citizens, who have been accustumed all their lives to think for themselves, and speak and write what they think upon all subjects, are ill at ease when watched, threatened, and curtailed in the enjoyment of these privileges, as emigrants usually are in Salt Lake valley.
The mormon authorities, for two successive years, have imposed a tax of two percent, upon property of emigrants who winter among them. This tax is assessed and collected by the same person, and at the same time. The tax frequently is not assessed or collected, until the emigrants start upon their journey, and if they are found without sufficient money to pay their taxes, and are unable to borrow it of their fellow emigrants, a portion, or all of their teams, is immediately taken from them, and sold at auction to pay the demand. In some instances emigrants have been pursued eighty miles for the collection of taxes. Often the emigrants are distressed to raise the money to pay them. Not unfrequently, they have to sell their little valuables which they brought from the states, in order to pay the mormon tax.
If the emigrants always knew beforehand that they would be required to pay such tax, they could better prepare themselves to meet the demand, but they are often taken entirely unawares. The property is often estimated above its real value, higher than the same property cost, and higher than the amount for which it could be sold.
Whilst the emigrants are thus taxed, they are not allowed the right of suffrage, or the privileges of citizens. In respect to privileges they are treated as travelers or transient persons, but in respect to burdens they are treated more like settlers. The mormons, in this manner, adopt the principles of taxation without representation. This is anti-republican. It is rank despotism.
( 82 )
It is said that the leading mormons adopt the iniquitous course which they pursue towards others, not only from inclination, but also from policy, for the express purpose of provoking persecution, knowing it is impossible to unite and keep their people together in any other way. The principles of their religion, without the aid of such an external cause as persecution, are not sufficient to unite the different party factions springing up among them, and especially to prevent individual apostacies from the church.
Any thing which will occupy the attention of the mormon people for the time being, unite them in one common cause, and prevent them from swelling, in their thoughts, upon forsaking the standard of the church, is resorted to from policy.
It has often been a wonder to many that the mormons could be so reckless, wanton, trickish, dishonest and barbarous, from mere inclination, and pretend to be so sanctimonious at the same time. This unprincipled conduct has appeared the more astonishing, because the most of the mormons have been brought up in the midst of civilization, with an acquaintance heretofore with the principles of morality, justice, and religion. How they could, under such circumstances, sell themselves to such abominable iniquities, has appeared most astounding. But when it is understood that in addition to the unrestrained force of natural inclination, schemey policy is superadded, to induce them to trespass upon the rights of their fellow men, so as not only to get unlawful gains, but also to irritate, exasperate, and provoke their neighbors to persecution, we are not so much surprised that the mormon people behave more like a banditti of robbers than like a band of christians. It is shrewd but unworthy policy. The principle accounts for their conduct in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and now at Salt Lake: and it will explain their conduct hereafter wherever they go and wherever they stay collectively as a people. The only hope of their abandoning such practices, is in their abandoning mormonism, and again in commingling with good and wholesome society under the influence of law, morality, and the christian religion.
The mormons frequently express treasonable sentiments, and commit treasonable acts, against the government of the United States. They often avow their aversion to any connection with the United States, and their preference for an independent government. They seldom speak of the United States government except in terms of reproach. Their
( 83 )
language and attitude are very annoying to patriotic citizens who happen to be in Salt Lake valley. This language is confined to no particular class. It pervades the whole mormon community, from their leaders down to the private members. The following instances will illustrate the subject.
In 1849 the United States flag was raised on the 4th of July by some California emigrants, in a neighborhood about fifteen miles north of the city, but was hauled down again the same day by order of the mormons. In 1850, about one hundred and sixty emigrants raised the U. States flag again in the same neighborhood, determined, at all hazards, to maintain it. Some mormons said it must come down; but there being about 3000 emigrants in the valley at the time, ready, of necessary, to defend it with their lives, the mormons deemed it prudent to allow the flag to stand. In the city, also, in 1850, the United States flag was raised on a cottonwood tree. Some mormons said it must come down. The emigrants told them that they would have to kill them first. The mormons did not persist in the demand.
Brigham Young publicly declared last winter, in a discourse which he delivered on Sunday in the Bowery, that he was raising up a people who would, ere long, "carry fire and the sword to the very Capitol of the United States!" He often proclaimed from the stand that the mormons would meet any force sent from the United States, and bid them God speed with musket and grape shot!" In one of his Sunday discourses, he said HE was "the law and the order" to the mormon people -- that he was elected governor for life of the State of Deseret, and that no other one could or should govern that people; that the laws of the Gentiles and the laws of God could not go together, and that the United States might send whom they pleased as governor, he said he knew the people well enough to know that they would not submit to any other governor.
These are only a few of the treasonable sentiments and statements advanced last winter in the hearing if the emigrants by Brigham Young himself. He is in the constant habit of using such language, especially in the hearing of mormons, as is calculated to alienate them from the United States and awaken their hostility to the government. Most of the mormon people indulge in the same practice. They repeat and sustain the language of Brigham Young upon this subject.
[ 84 ]
The most beastly and unblushing system of polygamy prevails in Salt Lake valley. * Men have from one to sixty wives each. It is true, that only a part, as yet, have more than one wife; but they are increasing the number as fast as women can be obtained. The number of women already in the valley is computed to be more than double that of the men.
Among the wives belonging to one man, are frequently found several sisters, and often a widow and several of her daughters. The following facts illustrate the system:
Mr. Dana, a justice of the peace at Ogden, has two wives. Mr. Graham, living at Brownsville, has three. Among them is a mother and her daughter. Capt. Brown, of Brownsville, has four wives. Among them is a mother and two daughters by the name of Abbott. Mr. Holmes, living about twenty two miles north of the city, has two wives, E. Richardson has three wives. Josiah Canfield has two sisters for
* The first attempt to introduce polygamy among the mormons, was made at Kirtland, Ohio, by Joseph Smith. He pretended to have received a revelation, about the year 1837, authorizing it. He began himself, to practice it, but it was opposed by the church. His wife found the revelation among his papers and destroyed it. This was the only written copy extant. The attempt to introduce polygamy caused a quarrel and separation between him and Oliver Cowdery, his amanuensis in writing the Book of mormon.
Polygamy was practiced at Nauvoo, to a considerable extent, before Joseph Smith's death, in 1844. Previous to that event, Brigham Young delivered over to Joseph Smith all his wives except one. Not long after, Smith had a revelation that Young should be his successor as head of the mormon church.
( 85 )
wives. Willard Snow has two wives. A Mr. Stewart has three wives, a mother and daughter being among them. Mr. Turpin, near the old fort, has three wives, among them a mother and her daughter. Mr. Scott, living some five miles south of the city, has three wives. Mr. Gardner, a little farther south, and the owner of a grist and saw mill, has four wives.
The leaders generally have a greater number, varying from half a dozen to thirty wives each. They also have sisters, mothers, and daughters, among their wives. "In some instances they have their own nieces for wives. We are informed that Dr. Willard Richards, one of the twelve mormon apostles, lost one of his wives last winter who was his niece. It is said that he has one of his own sisters for a wife. Heber C. Kimball has more wives than any other one except Brigham Young; who says he does not know how many he has, but is generally reported in the mormon community, to have sixty or seventy.
The cases we have mentioned, bear a small proportion to the whole number existing in the valley. Polygamy is extensively practised, and strenuously advocated and encouraged. Various arguments are used by the leaders in favor of the practice, such as the following: 1. It is scriptural. Many of the old testament saints and ancient patriarchs were permitted to have concubines. 2. The greater the number of the wives and children which a man has, the more glory will he have in the future world. The more numerous his family or tribe, the more honored will he and they be in the world to come. *
The mormons use every stratagem to increase the number of women in the valley. They are diligent to induce as many as possible to come
* The mormons are divided into twelve tribes, headed by the twelve mormon apostles. Not being of the same kindred, but of different nations, they have instituted a ceremony which they call "sealing," for the purpose of uniting individuals to families, families to tribes, and all the tribes to Joseph Smith, the head of the latter day saints. By this process a relationship is established among them which unites them in one common brotherhood.
The mormon members are sometimes told by the leaders that they belong to some one of the twelve tribes of Israel, and are their literal descendants. Do not the mormons know that they, in common with the people of the United States and Europe, are the descendants of Japheth, and not of Shem?
The mormons also hold that heaven is to be on earth, and all the social relations of life, conjugal, parental, filial, and fraternal, will exist then the same as now.
( 86 )
there, and to retain them after their arrival. Efforts are sometimes made to seduce emigrants' wives, and prevent their accompanying their husbands to California or elsewhere. They do not hesitate to separate husband and wife, if they can retain the wife among them, and induce her to become the wife of a mormon. Instances of this kind occured during the past winter and spring.
Among the children in the same family you will find brothers and sisters who are at the same time cousins, uncles and nephews, aunts and nieces, &c. &c., having all sorts of kindred relations, and sustaining several of these relations at the same time. Such people ought certainly to be very affectionate, sustaining so many close, endearing, and intermingled relations. The families are wonderfully commingled in their relationships. It would puzzle a Philadelphia lawyer to trace their genealogies. We understand it is the intention of some of the patriarchs, who have the most numerous progenies, not to allow any of their children to marry out of their own families. Consequently, half brothers and half sisters will be required to marry each other! This is said to be the intention of Brigham Young.
A mormon told an emigrant, in the summer of 1850, that Heber C. Kimball, one of the twelve mormon apostles, and one of Brigham Young's Counselors, had eighteen children so young that not one of them could walk alone. Probably the oldest were not over two years of age. Brigham Young remarked to a mormon woman, in the spring of 1850, that he had fourteen boys under seven years of age. A mormon woman told an emigrant last winter, that Brigham Young last year had nine children, five by his own wives, and four by the wives of Joseph Smith, who are living with him. * It is also stated on good authority that he had nine children born in a single day, last March.
This system of polygamy makes many of the females very unhappy -- makes them wretched in the extreme. The jealousies, heart-burnings, distrusts, strifes, contentions, and quarrelings, which exist among them, are notorious throughout the valley. The secret miseries many of them endure are untold. Sometimes they are shamefully neglected by their husbands. Especially is this the case with first wives, after other wives, younger and more beautiful are taken into the household Those
* The avowed object of this abominable and scandalous arrangement is to increase the tribe of Joseph, so that it may not be less honorable in the heavenly state than the other tribes, for lack of numbers.
( 87 )
wives who can make themselves most attractive and agreeable to their common husband, usually receive the greatest share of his attentions. He cares so little about them, and feels so little respect for them, that they are obliged to resort to various stratagems, to secure any share of that esteem to which wives are entitled from their husbands.
In short, the mormon women are degraded and subjected by the system to a state of mental and physical slavery more abject and perfect than attaches to the inmates of a Turkish harem.
The uncomfortable, and even painful, situation of many of the emigrants in Salt Lake valley during the latter part of the winter and spring, is graphically set forth in the following communication which appeared in the Sacramento Union of June 28, 1851.
THE MORMONS: -- Messrs. Editors, -- It seems that these people, in the fancied security of their mountain stronghold, or from some other cause, are beginning to give a pretty loose rein to their inclinations. and seem to carry out publicly that line of conduct which they have heretofore been able to practise only by stealth and in secret, and which has caused their expulsion from every place where they have ever tried to get a foothold.
( 88 )
the "Saints" more than ever. They publicly discussed the propriety of driving the "Gentiles" from the valley. The emigrants claimed the rights of American citizens, on American soil. Brigham Young declared that "God had made him Governor, and that while he lived he should govern." That he was "the law and the order," and that "if any man stuck himself up above him, he would bring him down -- by the eternal Gods." That he "was not afraid of Mr. Justice, nor Uncle Sam, nor all Hell;" and that "if he heard another Gentile curse or abuse the Saints, he would cut his d____d throat!"
( 89 )
purchased teams, hired hands, and prosecuted the work to the amount of nearly $3000, when, his cash receipts amounted to less than $500, deemed it advisable to discontinue operations until the arrears were settled. But no sooner did these "Saints" see that there was a probability of their getting no more out of him in that way, than they sent out an armed posse, who seized his teams, and in fact every thing they could lay their hands on, and without giving him a hearing, or even a notice, they confiscated it all, claiming a violation of the contract by Mr. Turner; and this when it was notorious that they were deeply in his debt, and that the mormons had been ordered to pay out no more money to emigrants. Mr. Turner remonstrated and protested, and threatened them with a suit for the recovery of this money, and the result was, he was obliged to make his escape the best way he could, and conceal himself in the mountains to save his life. The emigrants of course sympathised with him; and the excitement became intense. Armed parties were despatched in every direction, with orders to kill him wherever he was found. Persons who were suspected of knowing his place of concealment were arrested and placed in chains, and their property afterwards confiscated to pay the expense of their imprisonment. But all this proving of no avail, and not satisfied with all his labor, and all the capital he had invested, they seized his household furniture, his clothing, and finally followed Mrs. Turner, who had been confined to her room all winter, by sickness, and robbed her or her common wearing apparel -- even her night clothes, her bonnet and veil; refusing to leave her even a cloak or a change of dress.
( 90 )
them for signatures. But they had become so scattered that they could not be seen without great inconvenience, and therefore had no opportunity to sign them. Nineteen out of every twenty of those to whom they were presented, signed them unhesitatingly, as expressive of their sentiments upon the topics mentioned in them.
( 91 )
Resolved, 4. That liberty of speech is greatly abridged in Salt Lake valley, by being frowned down by public sentiment, and by various efforts to produce intimidation. The full freedom belonging to citizens of the United States is not there enjoyed. The gag-law of arbitrary, monarchical governments, is virtually enforced, to all intents and purposes.
( 92 )
valley, on account of increased distance, or to depend on purchasing supplies, or making exchanges of property there, on account of extortionary prices, unless compelled by stern necessity so to do.
( 93 )
of the same, and protect United States citizens, and secure to them their lawful and inalienable rights of life, liberty, and freedom of speech, guaranteed to them by the Constitution of the United States. *
( 94 )
The foregoing papers present a candid expression of the opinions entertained by the emigrants generally. These views are strongly expressed, but without the least intentional exageration. We firmly believe the facts and truth demand such a representation. We wish the subject candidly and thoroughly investigated. If it can in truth be shown that the principles, the policy, and the practice of the mormon people, as developed and enforced by the leaders, are not as bad as represented, we should be glad of it. But we believe we have given a fair representation of the legitimate Fruits of mormonism, as exhibited in Salt Lake valley.
The emigrants are indignant at the treatment they received from the mormons the past winter and spring, and feel in duty bound to protest against such conduct towards United States citizens while passing through Utah territory. That their situation should be made uncomfortable, and almost intolerable, by abridging their rights of speech, by examining and destroying their letters deposited in the U.S. mail to be sent to their friends in the states, unlawfully taxing their property, threatening their lives, &c. &c., whilst the emigrants were peaceable, quiet, and law-abiding, was wanton and most iniquitous on the part of the mormons. It was a violation alike of the laws of hospitality and humanity.
We appeal to our friends in the states, to all United States citizens, and to Congress. We ask our government to protect its citizens in the exercise and enjoyment of their just rights and privileges in Utah territory, against arbitrary and injurious encroachment.