Law in Utah.
The Secretary of the Interior is in possession of evidence sufficient to convict a Mormon "Saint," named LEE, of having violated and murdered a young girl, a survivor of the party of emigrants massacred at Mountain Meadow, by his fellow-believers, a few months ago. The Mormon authorities refuse to surrender this scoundrel for trial, unless he is to be tried before a Mormon jury; and as no Mormon jury has as yet convicted any Mormon of any outrage on a Gentile, the offer is simply made to enable him to go scot free. In these circumstances, the Secretary urges the immediate propriety of es-tablishing martial law in the Territory, for the protection of life and property. This is pre-cisely what we have been recommending for more than a year. To send Judges out to hold Courts which were the laughing-stock of the "Saints," and by which no Mor-mon criminal was ever finally brought to jus-tice,—courts, the process of which was treated with contempt in every part of the Territory outside the camp of the United States Army,—was, to say the least, a very grave error. There is nothing more prejudicial to the cause of good order and good government than the exposure of the law and its ministers, for never so short a period, to ridicule. The temporary anarchy of Lynch law does less injury to society than the spectacle of a judge mocked and defied by a rabble. If from the moment the United States troops set foot in Utah, martial law had been maintained, and crime had been punished by drumhead courts-martial, not only would a tide of Gentile emi-gration have been directed into the valley, but the Mormon mind would have been thoroughly impressed with a vivid sense of the reality of the common law and the acts of Congress. By this time a United States Judge would have been enabled to take his seat in full assurance that he would be respected and obeyed, and we should have had a Christian public growing up in the Territory strong enough to render our further interference in its affairs unnecessary.
The course that has been pursued has, on the contrary, convinced the Mormons of our impotence, rendered the Californian emi-grant routes insecure, driven away settlers from the Utah Territory, confirmed the Mormons in their insolence and bigotry, and demoralized the Gentile population by permitting the most outrageous crimes against them to go unpunished. Common jus-tice, common humanity, and respect for our own good name, demand that this state of things should now be put an end to, at what-ever cost. We owe it to the Mormons them-selves, to the hordes of recruits who are flock-ing to them every month from all parts of the world, as well as to all citizens of the United States everywhere, to see that there is no por-tion of our territory in which a peaceful settler may not till his fields and reap his harvests in peace and confidence. We have given the civil law a fair, or rather a grossly unfair, trial, in Utah. We have not only tried
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powerle [?] the army can do to supply their place, and prepare the way for the restoration of legal authority. There has never been a clearer case made out for the proclamation of martial law than the Mormons have made out for us in Utah, and we do most earnestly urge upon the General Government to follow the advice of the Secretary of the Interior, and proclaim it. Put the army in possession of the country. Bring home the insulted judges, the useless sheriffs, the despised marshals. When a murder or a robbery is committed, instead of negotiating the terms of a trial with the Mormon hierarchy, as we might with Turkey or Japan, follow the perpetrator with as much force as shall be necessary to take him, and when taken, try him before a board of officers, calmly, deliberately, and fairly, and when convicted, punish him instanter. When a crime is com-mitted, of which the Mormons in the vicinity are plainly cognizant, and the criminal cannot be found, go back to Norman WILLIAM'S law,—lay a fine on the whole district, and collect it at the point of the bayonet.
Such a course as this would be something very unusual in this country, but the whole state of affairs in Utah is very unusual and utterly intolerable. The Mormons are an un-precedented fact in our history, and to persist in dealing out the same measure of govern-ment to them as we have been in the habit of affording to peaceable Christian people, is very like offering hay and oats to a tiger. The result of the policy now proposed would certainly be one which the whole nation would hail with delight. A few Mormon robbers and murderers, it is true, would be bereft of the trial by jury, and would find the Bill of Rights nullified in their case; but dozens of honest men would have their throats saved from the assassin's knife, and dozens of helpless women would escape rape and massacre. Caravans of peacea-ble emigrants would travel the high roads and labor on their farms in confidence and security. Moreover, in two or three years, Gentiles would settle in the Valley in sufficiently large numbers to insure their own safety, and to crush out the abomination of Polygamy; and when we withdrew our forces at last, we should leave our judges and marshals in the hands of citizens who would see that their persons were held sacred and heir authority respected.
The case now presented by the Secretary of the Interior affords a very curious commentary upon the terms in which his colleague, the Sec-retary at War, alludes to this standing scandal and disgrace upon the American name, Mr. FLOYD admits the utter prostration of every safeguard of civil and personal right in Utah. Nothing could be stronger than his language.
"I am satisfied that the preservation of right and justice, through the means of any jurisprudence known or recognized by the people of the United States, is impossible in that Territory. It is governed, practically, by a system which is in total disregard of the laws or Constitution of the land. The laws of the Mormon Church and the will of the hierarchy are alone potential there, Beyond a mere outward show of acquiescence in Federal authority, they are as ir-responsible to it as any foreign nation."
These are words which no American citizen who respects himself or the honor of his country can read without a tingling blush of shame and indignation. They tell us, and they tell the world, that there is a vast region fixed in the heart of this powerful Republic in which the life of every man and the virtue of every woman lie at the mercy of a vulgar and irrespon-sible inquisition; in which the American flag floats over the open humiliation of American law; in which officers bearing the commission of the United States look on, idle and impotent witnesses, upon the systematic desecration of American homes.
And what is the inference which a high func-tionary of the Government draws from such premises as these? The Secretary goes on, with the easiest grace imaginable, to say that, in his opinion, and because of this state of things—
"There is, in the present attitude of affairs, scarcely any necessity for the presence of troops in Utah, and they will be otherwise disposed of in the coming sea-son. There are no complaints of Indian hostilities towards the Mormon people. All other Territories and people upon our vast frontiers suffer from Indian depredations, but the Mormon people enjoy an immu-nity from all their outrages. For the protection of these people against Indians, there is no necessity for the presence of a single soldier. Murders and rob-beries of the most atrocious character have been per-petrated in the Territory upon emigrants from the States journeying towards the Pacific, and in some of the most shocking instances by white men disguised as Indians. The general impression, so far as I have been able to ascertain it, amongst those having op-portunity to know, is that these murders are the work of the Mormon people themselves, sanctioned, if not directed, by the authority of the Mormon Church.
In plain English, that is, the Secretary at War of the United States recommends that the task of coercing the Mormons into decency and civilization be abandoned by the American Government to the wild Indians of the West. He would have us withdraw our troops, and leave the aboriginal savages at full liberty to attempt what we have not the strength to achieve, and solve the problem of Utah on the principle of the internecine warfare waged by the Kilkenny cats. The Mormons, over whom we have extended our authority, and whose delegate sits in our Legislative Assembly at Washington, have refused to pay the slightest respect to our laws; they outrage our women and murder our men; they make our national highways as unsafe as the sands of the Ara-bian desert;—and therefore we had better turn the Indians loose upon them, surrender the Territory of Utah to these two hordes of bar-barians, fold our arms quietly, and await the result!
We doubt whether a more extraordinary ap-plication of the doctrine of laissez-faire than this is to be found in the history of civilized nations; and although it is always, of course, to be regretted that two members of one Gov-ernment should be found arrayed in open con-tradiction, one with the other, on a question of practical policy, we think the people of the United States will rejoice exceedingly that the Secretary of the Interior should have res-cued us from the ignominy of acquiescing in such a recommendation, even at the price of imperiling the apparent harmony of Mr. BU-CHANAN'S Cabinet.
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