Correspondence of The N. Y. Tribune.
SALT LAKE CITY, July 31, 1862.
Presuming that this letter may reach you in decent time, and not be "eached" in some stable, with hundreds of sacks of mail matter from the Atlantic States, I conclude to inclose you the opening speech of our new Governor.
The Mormons had a great celebration on the 24th, the fifteenth anniversary of the arrival of the pioneers in these valleys. The procession for numbers, of course could not compare with those of older cities, but was very interesting and exceedingly gratifying to everybody. The respectable portion of the Gentiles, including all the Federal officers, were, if anything, more enthusiastic than the Mormons with the display.
Utah is fast changing from its former character and position. I do not blame former exclusiveness. With the army came bitterness, spite and vindictiveness that threatened everything, and the most corrupt of camp followers and black-legs were set loose upon the community. With the departure of the army there was a "cleaning out,” and Utah is at the present time decidedly the most peaceable community on the continent of America, and a very agreeable relationship exists between the Gentiles who would be esteemed elsewhere and the Mormon chief. Just fancy the Mormons keening Uncle Sam's army out in the mountains all the Winter of 57, and at the present moment these same Mormons are sending westward their teams and wagons to Carson, in order to freight in the army supplies and army luggage, baggage and ammunition for the California volunteers! There is a change there! So, also, the chief—President Young—is the principal contractor for both the eastern and western divisions of the Overland Mail line, in supplying "feed" for the stock on nearly a thousand miles.
On the evening of the 24th, after the celebration, a great ball was given in the Social Hall, at which the principal citizens met the new National officers. Among others, your correspondent had an invitation, and was much pleased to witness the cordiality of both sides of the great family of Uncle Samuel. I there met, beside the National representatives, gentlemen bearing names highly respected in New-York City and San Francisco, representing the two great cities of the Atlantic and Pacific.
It is pleasing to notice this amicable feeling, which, with the prospect of that Pacific Railroad before us, it is hoped may increase till the distinction of creeds is forgotten forever.
Speech Delivered at the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, July 24, 1862.
Gov. Young invited Gov. Harding to address the people; and, on the two governors taking the stand, there was a perfect stillness in the vast assembly; but, on Governor Young saying “I have the pleasure of presenting Governor Harding, who will make a speech," the stillness of the multitude was broken, and the new governor was greeted with cheering.
SPEECH OF GOVERNOR HARDING.
FELLOW CITIZENS: And in that word, I mean all of you, of all ages, sexes and conditions—I am pleased at being with you to-day, and of being introduced in the agreeable manner you have just witnessed. I have desired the opportunity of looking upon such a vast concourse of the people of Utah, at one time; and as such on occasion now presents itself, it is right and proper that I should say a few things to you.
You have doubtless been informed before now that the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, has appointed me to the office of Governor of this Territory. I have come among you to enter upon the discharge of the high and important duties that have devolved upon me, and when I greatly distrust my own ability; yet I cannot but hope that, with your assistance, I shall be able to discharge those duties to your satisfaction, and with strict fidelity to the Government whose servant I am.
If I know my own heart, I come among you a messenger of peace and good will. I have no wrongs, either real or imaginary, to complain of, and no religious prejudices to overcome. [Applause.] Believing, as I do, that the Constitution of the united States secures to every citizen the right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and holding, further, that the Constitution itself is dependent for its support and maintenance on the preservation of that sacred right, it follows, as a corollory, that, under no pretext whatever, will I consent to its violation in this particular, by any official act of mine, while Governor of this Territory. [Tremendous applause.]
In a Government like ours, based upon the freest exercise of conscience, religion is a matter between man and his Maker, and not between man and the Government, and for the honest exercise of duties inculcated by his religious faith and conscience, so long as he does not infringe upon the rights of others, equally as sacred as his own, he is not responsible to any human tribunal other than that which is found in the universal judgment of mankind. [Hear, hear.] If the right of conscience of the minority depended upon the will of the majority, then, in a Government like ours, that same minority in a future day might control the conscience of the majority of to-day—when by superior cunning and finesse a political canvass had been won in its favor, and thus alternately would it be in the power of either when elevated to the seat of the law-makers to impose a despotism upon the conscience of its adversary only equaled by the "Index Expurgatoris" against which the Protestant world so justly complained. [Applause.]
It has long been a maxim and accepted as truth by our people—“That it is safe to tolerate error, so long as truth is left free to combat it." Who are in error, and in what that error consists in the matters of speculative theology, are questions only cognizable at the bar of heaven. It has been the fate of propagandists of new ideas and religious dogmas, without regard to their truth or falsity, to meet with opposition, often ending in the most cruel persecution. Hoary-headed error, claiming for itself immunity of ages, glares with jaundiced eyes upon all new ideas, which refuse to pay to it its accustomed homage. I know of no law of the human mind that makes this age an exception to the rule. Nevertheless, he who founds his ideas and theories on truth, corelative with his physical and spiritual being, and consequently in harmony with the law of nature, most ultimately succeed; while he who builds upon falsehood must, share the fate of him who built his house upon the sand. This is not only a declaration of divine truth, but is in accordance with all human experience. The great highway of man's civilization and progress is strewn with the wrecks of a thousand systems—once the hopes of their founders and challenging the confidence of mankind. [Hear, hear] But I must limit this dissertation, and will sum up in a few words what I have intended to say on this branch of the subject.
The founders of our Constitution fully comprehended these ideas which I have so briefly glanced at, and they clothed the citizen with absolute immunity in the exercise of his rights of conscience, and threw the protecting shield of the Constitution around him, and over him, in all the diverging paths that lead the inquirer in his researches after truth in the "dim un-known of speculative theology."
But I must not detain you. I leave this part of the subject, and address myself to the occasion that has called together this mighty multitude.
On every hand I behold a miracle of labor. Fifteen years ago to-day, and our pioneers, by their heroism and devotion to a principle, consecrated this valley to a civilization wonderful "to the stranger within your gates." and in the developments of which a new era will be stamped not only on the history of our own country, but on the world. You have indeed "caused the desert to blossom as the rose." Waving fields of gold; gardens containing ad that is necessary for the comfort of civilized man; "shrubberies that a Shenstone might have envied;” orchards bending beneath the promise of most luscious fruit, now beautify the fields which your industry has tilled with new life, and where but fifteen years since the genius of solitude, from yon snow-capped peak, stood marking on her tablets the centuries of desolation and death that rested on these same fields since the upneral force of nature formed the mighty zone that separates the two oceans that wash the shores of our continent. Wonderful progress! Wonderful people! If you shall be content, as I doubt not you will be, to enjoy the blessings with which you are surrounded, and abide our time, and enjoy your privileges under a benign and just Government, "Imperium in Imperio," and not attempt to reverse this order of things, absolutely necessary under our form, of Government; and above all things, if you will act up to the line of duty contained in that one grand article of your faith, "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, temperate, benevolent, virtuous, and upright, and in doing good to all men," you cannot fail to obtain that ultimate success [applause] which is the great desideratum of your hopes. Honestly conform to the standard of your creed and faith, and, though yon may for a time be "cast down," you cannot be destroyed [great applause]; for the power of the Eternal One will be in your midst, though no mortal eye may behold the "pillar of cloud and of fire." [Applause.] As the Great Master of Sculpture gathered and combined all the perfections of the human face into one divine model, so you, in that one grand article, have bound into one golden sheaf all the Christian virtues that underlie our civilization.
But this must suffice. I, perhaps, have said more than I ought to have said, and yet I cannot see how I could have said less. If my words shall be as kindly received by you as they have been honestly and frankly uttered by me, and we will act accordingly, my mission among yon cannot fail of being alike profitable to you and to the Government that I represent. [Hear, hear.]
This is the hour when your loyalty to our common country is most acceptable and grateful to the heart of every patriot. Be but content, and abide your time, and your reward will be as great as it will be certain. Duty to ourselves, to our God, and our country calls upon us to cast aside every prejudice, and to rally around the Constitution and the flag of our fathers, and if need be to baptize them anew with our own blood. That Constitution will not perish, that flag will not trail in the dust, but they will both come out of the present fiery ordeal "redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled, by the Genius of Universal Liberty and Jusice." [great applause.]
Music by the orchestra, the "Duke of Richstadt's Waltz'
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