HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Mr. BRIGGS asked leave to take up from the Speaker's table the following resolution of inquiry concerning the legality of the election of the Delegate from Utah, (Mr. BERNHISEL:)
Resolved, That the Committee on Elections be instructed to inquire into the election of JOHN M. BERNHISEL, the present Delegate from the Territory of Utah; whether said election was held according to law; and whether any bribery, corruption, or other illegal means were made use of by the said BERNHISEL with Brigham Young or any other persons to secure the said election and return, with power to send for persons and papers.
Mr. HOUSTON suggested that, if the resolution should now be called up for action, the presumption was that it would give rise to debate, in which case he had no doubt the House would hear the Delegate from Utah on the subject. He submitted to the House whether it would not be well to allow this resolution to pass over for the present, and take up for consideration the Mexican indemnity bill.
Mr. DEAN desired to inform his colleague that if this subject should now be taken up, it would be debated. There were several gentlemen who desired to be heard on this subject.
Mr. BRIGGS said that, considering there had been a postponement of this subject one day, he did not think that by pressing this resolution now he would entrench upon the privileges of members, but would give them ample time to discuss the Mexican indemnity bill to their entire satisfaction. He therefore declined to withdraw his resolution.
Mr. STANTON, of Tennessee, thought that the wishes of the Delegate from Utah should be consulted.
Mr. RICHARDSON desired to call attention to the fact that the resolution seemed to reflect upon the mode by which the Delegate from Utah obtained his seat, and it was no more than due that that gentleman should be heard in explanation. It was important that all these questions should be discussed, and he was in favor of the Delegate from Utah having a fair fight.
Mr. BERNHISEL begged leave to state, for the infor-mation of the House, that he received the news of his nomination on his way home last year ; that he had no competitor at the election, and received every vote cast for a Delegate to Congress; and the election did not cost him one dollar in money, as had been erroneously reported and circulated here. The certificate of his election, giving the number of votes, and signed by the Governor and countersigned by the Secretary of the Territory, and having affixed to it the broad seal of the Territory of Utah, he asked leave to send to the Clerks table to be read for the information of the House. He felt no incli-nation to oppose a resolution of inquiry, offered without any evidence to sustain it, but would cheerfully leave it to the disposition of the House.
[The certificate of election was read, which declared that at an election held on the first Monday of August, 1851, in pursuance of proclamation, 1,259 votes were cast, when John M. Bernhisel received the whole number, as appeared by the returns of the election filed in the Executive Department. Mr. Bernhisel is therefore declared the duly elected delegate for the Territory of Utah for the 32d Congress. This certificate is signed by Gov. Brig-ham Young, and countersigned by B. D. Harris, Secretary of the Territory of Utah.]
Mr. STEPHENS, of Georgia, stated that he would vote to lay the resolution on the table, and would give his reasons for so doing. He deemed it an important fact that, although the gentleman from New York offered this resolution, yet he did not understand him to endorse it. That gentleman did not say that he entartained a suspicion of fraud in the election of the delegate from Utah; but, on the contrary, he said that he knew nothing about the matter. He was therefore utterly opposed to entertaining for one moment this resolution, "unless some member should present a memorial from some one stating facts, or unless some member should allege that there was cause for action as to the legality of the election of the delegate from Utah.
Mr. BRIGGS said that the gentleman from Georgia misunderstood him when he said that he (Mr. B.) had asserted that he did not believe there was corruption in the election of the delegate from Utah; for he did believe there was corruption. He would say a few words in relation to the certificate of election which had been read to the House. It referred to an election which was held in direct violation of the law organizing that Territory—an election held in pursuance of old laws which existed in that Territory previous to its organization by Congress. It had been told him, by a gentleman cognizant of the matter, that the signature of the Secretary of the Territory attached to the certificate was forced from Mr. Harris, the secretary, by order of Gov. Young, under a direct protest from him against signing the document. The secretary's name was attached to the certificate before the returns of the election had been received, under the dictation of Gov. Brigham Young. As he stated when he introduced the resolution, he was averse to discussing these matters before the House, and wished the whole subject to go to the Committee of Elections, so that they could summon witnesses, and obtain all the facts connected with it.
Mr. STEPHENS, of Georgia, thought that the gentleman's explanation amounted to this: that he believed that the delegate from Utah had been returned here in violation of the organic law of that Territory. The gentleman's resolution, however, made inquiries as to whether the delegate had not been fraudulently elected; and contained a direct imputation against him, directing the Committee on Elections to inquire whether bribery and corruption had not been used by him to obtain the seat which he now occupied. A resolution might just as well be formed touching himself, (Mr. S.) or any other mem-ber of the House. He was opposed to the resolution.
Mr. BRIGGS was unwilling at all times to endorse rumors in regard to the conduct of any gentleman, especially one who occupied a seat here. If here, he recognised him as a gentleman until the contrary should be proved. It had been asserted that corruption had been used, and that money was paid to Gov. Young by the delegate from Utah to secure his election. He could not say whether it was true, but desired the matter to be investigated.
Mr. STEPHENS said that the gentleman did not make the charges himself, nor had any one appeared to make these allegations. He was utterly opposed to the House acting upon outside rumors. In relation to the charge that the delegate from Utah had been elected contrary to the organic law of that Territory, the rules of the House required the Committee on Elections to inquire into such matters. If any person desired to make a complaint as to the legality of the election of the delegate from Utah, they should petition the House on the subject, and the Committee on Elections could investigate the subject. In conclusion, he renewed the motion to lay the resolution on the table. He withdrew the motion, however, at the request of—
Mr. CARTTER, who remarked that the resolution of the gentleman from New York proposed to refer the subject of the right of the delegate from Utah to a seat in the House to a standing committee of the House, constituted for the purpose of investigating and determining these questions. There was nothing in the resolution except matter which was necessary to direct the attention of that committee to the investigation. He was as much in favor of a deliberate and impartial investigation of this subject as the gentleman from Georgia, though he did not concur with him in this, that they should close their eyes to the question of investigation. The gentleman said that this subject came here without authority. They had already had laid upon the table of the House a report from all of the officers of the Territory of Utah, with the exception of one, implicating the conduct of Governor Young, and alluding to the mode of the election of the delegate from that Territory. Were they to disregard these intimations that there was something wrong in Utah? It appeared to him they were letting this people run wild in their relations to this Government, at the same time that it had control over it. He would not prejudge this case, but before the resolution should be finally submitted to the House, he would be under the necessity of moving to add this to the inquiries which it already contained: Whether polygamy is not tolerated and justified in this Territory, and whether the delegate is not liable to the suspicion, current every where, that he is a polygamist?
A MEMBER. What if he is?
Mr. CARTTER. If he is, there is one vote upon this floor which will vote him out of this hall. I will not con-sent to sit here with any man who openly defies the laws of his country.
Mr. FITCH called the gentleman to order, as he was speaking to a matter not before the House, and indulging in a strain of personal remark which the rules of the House would not warrant.
The SPEAKER did not understand the remarks of the gentleman to be personal or irrelevant.
Mr. CARTTER said that he was merely supposing that this might be so. If it should prove true, he hoped the House would refuse to allow the delegate to hold his seat. They could not close their eyes to the fact that these things were whispered—aye, more than whispered. They came to their notice under the authority of a report of the disfranchised officers, whose duties had been foreclosed by violence. He would lend what little energy he possessed in investigating this subject, without fear, favor, or affection.
Mr. PHELPS suggested that as this had been decided to be a question of privilege, the gentleman could withdraw his resolution and introduce it at another time.
The SPEAKER stated that the gentleman had the power to withdraw his resolution.
Mr. BRIGGS thereupon withdrew his resolution.
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