TERRITORY OF UTAH.
WASHINGTON, JANUARY 3, 1855.
To the Editors of the National Intelligencer:
GENTLEMEN: As the delegate in Congress from the Ter-ritory of Utah I have the right to debate any question which may engage the attention of that body, and doubt-less a liberal interpretation would be given to the lan-guage by which the right of a delegate is secured to me. The practice in the House of Representatives has given an extensive range to debate, and sometimes matters per-sonal have been mingled with those that are national. That which affects the constituency has been generously allowed to be personal to the representative; and I have precedents which would justify me in troubling the House in which I have the honor to occupy a seat with the cor-rection of errors which have been infused into the public mind respecting the administration of the Governmental affairs of the Territory of Utah. The propriety of such a Course, however, appeared to me in many cases to be questionable, and I avail myself of the press to correct one or two errors to which the press has given an inju-rious circulation.
Gov. BRIGHAM YOUNG has been superseded by a distin-guished military gentleman, whose appointment the Se-nate has confirmed. I may therefore, by a brief expla-nation, vindicate the character of Gov. Young without suspicion of motive to secure his reappointment, which might create distrust of the facts to which I appeal.
By the twelfth section of the act of the 9th of Septem-ber, 1850, entitled "An act to establish a Territorial Go-vernment for Utah" the sum of twenty thousand dollars was appropriated to the Territory, to be applied by the Governor and Legislative Assembly to the erection of suitable public buildings at the seat of government. That sum was advanced to Gov. Young in the month of July, 1851, and he has been unwarrantably charged with a misapplication of that money. Of that accusation avery simple statement will be an ample refutation.
On the 30th of September, 1853, Gov. Young rendered an account and vouchers setting forth the expenditure of $10,373.48. Of this sum the Hon. Elisha Whittlesey, First Comptroller of the Treasury, allowed $8,703.98, but disallowed $1,669, paid for the services of various per-sons as a committee and otherwise, including travelling expenses on an expedition to select a site for the seat of government. Mr. Whittlesey objected to it as an unusual charge, though its necessity must be apparent. How-ever, that sum deducted, the balance amounts to $11,296.02, for which Gov. Young holds himself ready to account. The Indian hostilities which have troubled the Territory and other causes have delayed the comple-tion of the public buildings, but Gov. Young has given notice to the Secretary of the Treasury, as the best refu-tation of the accusation against him, that he will honor a draft at sight if that officer of the General Government will draw upon him for the unexpended balance in his hands.
Can other evidence be necessary to show the wanton-ness of Gov. Young's assailants ? Papers that have borne the character of respectability with intemperate zeal have pandered to prejudice on no more substantial basis. On the one hand Gov. Young is representedas defiant to the General Government, threatening hostilities towards any gentleman that maybe sent to succeed him, and on the other the people are said to be disloyal to the Gene-ral Government; and in the imagination of zealots armies are marshalled in battle array and Utah is already a field of blood.
Capt. Stansbury, of the Corps of Topographical Engi-neers of the United States army, who, in his exploration and survey of the valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, had ample opportunity to form a correct estimate of the people among whom he so long dwelt, (and he will not be suspected of partiality to Mormonism,) in his report to his superior officer, which the United States Senate and the House of Representatives published, says he feels confidentthat the imputations which have been made against the personal character of Gov. Young are without foundation, and that his personal reputation is above reproach.
"Certain it is (Mr. S. says) that the most entire confidence is felt in his integrity, personal, official, and pecuniary, on the part of those to whom a long and intimate association, and in the most trying emergencies, have afforded every pos-sible opportunity of forming a just and accurate judgment of his true character."
The disloyalty of Gov. Young and the people of Utah is disproved by the same unquestioned and unquestion-able authority. An illustrative incident in the history of that people may put to shame their assailants. I quote again from Capt. Stansbury:
"In their progress westward through tho northern part of Missouri they were again driven from that Stateby violent threats into the southern borders of Iowa, whence, after much hardship and suffering, they reached, in tho course of the summer, the banks of the Missouri, beyond the limits of the States. Here they enclosed land and planted crops, leaving some of their number to reap the fruits, which were to be ap-plied to the sustenance of other companies that were to follow as soon as they should be able to procure means. They were about crossing tho river to pursue their journey westward when an officer of the United States Government presented himself, with a requisition for five hundred men to serve in the war with Mexico. This demand, though sudden and un-expected, was promptly and patriotically complied with; but in consequence the expedition was broken up for the season. Those that remained, being principally old men, women, and children, prepared to pass the winter in the wilds of an Indian country by cutting hay and erecting log and sod huts, and digging as many caves as time allowed and their strength en-abled them."
In another portion of the same work Capt. Stansbury says:
"From all that I saw and heard I deem it but simple jus-tice to say that, notwithstanding these causes of irritation, a more loyal and patriotic people cannot be found within the limits of the Union. This, I think, was emphatically shown in the promptitude and cheerfulness with which they respond-ed to the call of the Government to furnish a battalion for service during the Mexican war, while, in the heart of an In-dian country and on the eve of a long and uncertain pilgrim-age into an unknown wilderness, they were suddenly called upon to surrender five hundred of their best men to the hazards of a hostile campaign and to the exposure and vicissitudes of a march of two thousand miles across trackless desert and burning plains to fight the battles of their country: Their peculiar circumstances presented almost insuperable objec-tions to a compliance with the requisition, yet not the slight-est hesitation was evinced. 'You shall have your battalion at once,' was the reply of Mr. Young, 'if it has to be a class of our Elders; ' and in three days the force, recruited principally among fathers of families, was raised and ready to march. Here certainly was no evidence of a lack of patriotism."
The same author quotes from addresses delivered by Brigham Young, in which he expressed his exalted esti-mation of the Constitution of the United States and the laws enacted in subordination to it, exhorting the people to magnify the laws, and assuring them that "there is no law in the United States or in the Constitution but I am ready to make honorable." The author then adds:
"The following language, used by Gen. D. H. Wells at the celebration of the fourth anniversary of the advent of the Mormons into the valley, will show, I think, what were the feelings of the people
" ' It has been thought by some that this people, abused, maltreated, insulted, robbed, plundered, murdered, and finally disfranchised and expatriated, would naturally feel reluctant to again unite their destiny with the American Republic. * * No wonder that it was thought by some that we would not again submit ourselves (even while we were scorned and ridiculed) to return to our allegiance to our native country. Remember that it was by the act of our country, not ours, that we were expatriated; and then consider that the opportunity we had of forming other ties. Let this pass while we lift the veil and show tho policy which dictated us. That country, that con-stitution, those institutions were all ours; they are still ours. Our fathers wero heroes of the revolution, under the master-spirits of an Adams, a Jefferson, and a Washington ; they declared and maintained their independence, and, under the guidance of the spirit of truth, they fulfilled their mission whereunto they were sent from the presence of the Father. Why should we relinquish, our interest in that country made dear to us by every tie of association and consanguinity ? * * Those who have indulged such sentiments concerning us have not read Mormonism aright; for never, no, never, will we desert our country's cause, never will we be found arrayed by the side of her enemies; although she herself may cherish them in her own bosom, although she may launch forth the thunderbolts of war, which may return and spend their fury upon her own head, never, no, never, will we per-mit the weakness of human nature to triumph over our love of country, our devotion to her institutions, handed down to us by our honored sires, made dear by a thousand tendor re-collections.' "
Such, surely, is neither the language nor the spirit of a disloyal people. Capt. Stansbury elsewhere says :
"Direct charges have been widely published seriously af-fecting the patriotism and personal reputation of the Mor-mon leaders as well as the feelings of the people towards the General Government. Such doubts and apprehensions are, in my judgment, totally groundless, and the charges I beliove to be either based upon prejudice or to have grown out of a want of accurate information. A residence of a year in the midst of a Mormon community, during the greater part of which period I was in constant intercourse with the rulers and people, afforded much opportunity for ascertaining the real facts of the case."
But persons who never approached the longitudes in which Utah lies hesitate not to denounce the Mormons as rebels and traitors, and, by a perversion of language, attribute to Gov. Young a defiant spirit. Gov. Young has never threatened opposition to the General Govern-ment or violence to a successor; nor have the people of the Territory of Utah failed to respect the federal laws. The language which has been perverted was the exposi-tion of his confidence in the government of God, and the expression of his devout submission to the Providence which rules all created things. He believes that if it is God's good pleasure that he shall retire to a private life or continue Governor of the Territory of Utah, distin-guished station in the General Government and political pre-eminence among men will be powerless to change the designs of Omnipotence; and hence he has said how futile it is for man to be solicitous about that which man can-not control. Will it be questioned that God rules in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth ? Why, then, should it be deemed presumptuous in Gov. Young to give utterance to unquestioned truth ?
Nor is it true that Gov. Young and the Mormon people refuse to comply with the requisitions of the General Government, "so far even as to transmit a copy of their laws or a statement of their public expenditures." Of the latter enough has been said already, and of the for-mer it will be sufficient to say that it was not their duty. The Federal Government provides its own officer to dis-charge that and other duties, as will be seen on a peru-sal of the law itself:
"Sec. 3. There shall be a Secretary of said Territory, who shall reside therein and hold his office for four years, unless sooner removed by the President of the United States. He shall record and preserve all the laws and proceedings of the Legislative Assembly hereinafter constituted, and all the acts and proceedings of the Governor in his executive depart-ment; he shall transmit one copy of the laws and one copy of the executive proceedings, on or before the first day of De-cember in each year, to the President of the United States, and at the same time two copies of the laws to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Se-nate for the use of Congress."
If there had been neglect in the discharge of these du-ties it would not have been the neglect of Mormons ; but truth and justice require the statement to be made that the laws have been transmitted to the Executive authori-ty and to the Congress of the United States.
Gov. Young's assailants have also charged that he is sustained by a military force in opposition to Federal au-thority. Thirty thousand men in arms, says one writer, and seven thousand disciplined troops another, support Gov. Young in his contumacy. That there are arms in Utah to keep the Indians in check no one will deny. What frontier settlement has them not ? That there may be volunteer companies of militia is also true; and in this respect Utah is not unlike every village in the land. But Gov. Young is like the Governor of every State and Ter-ritory in the Union in his means of defence. He has no military power that is not possessed by all men in his station. An army is not necessary in Utah. Of the peo-ple of that Territory Gen. John Wilson, of whom Mr. Smith writes as a citizen of the first respectability, an officer of the Federal Government in California, has said, in a letter to the Hon. Truman Smith, then a member of the Senate of the United States :
"A more orderly, earnest, industrious, and civil people I have never been amongst than these, and It is incredible how much they have done here in the wilderness in so short a time. In this city, [Salt Lake,] which contains now, as I be-lieve, about from four to five thousand inhabitants, [they are now nearly double that number,] I have not met in a citi-zen a single idler or any person who looks like a loafer. Their prospects for crops are fair, and there is a spirit and energy in all that you see that cannot be equalled in any city of any size that I have ever been in, and, I will add, not even in 'old Connecticut.' "
Of Gov. Young the Hon. L. H. Read, the late Chief Justice of Utah, who was sent out by the Federal Gov-ernment from the State of New York, says:
"I was received by Gov. Young with marked courtesy and respect. He has taken pains to make my residence here agreeable. The Governor in manner and conversation is a polished gentleman, very neat and tasty in dress, easy and pleasant in conversation, and I think a man of decided talent and strong intellectual qualities. I have heard him address the people once on the subject of man's free agency. He is a very excellent speaker; his gesture uncommonly graceful, articulation distinct, and speech pleasant. I was extremely edified by his address and manner. The Governor is a first-rate business man. His private business is extensive; he owns several grist and saw-mills ; is extensively engaged in farming operations, all of which he superintends personally. I have made up my mind that no man has been more grossly misrepresented than Gov. Young, and that he is a man who will reciprocate kindness and good intentions as heartily and freely as any one."
That Col. Steptoe will dissent from the testimony of the late Chief Justice Read is not anticipated. He has had the means of observation, and is enabled to know that the inhabitants of Utah have been maligned by men who, to secure the reputation of writing con spirito, sacrifice truth and decency. As a people they are hospitable to strangers, respectful to authorities, and loyal to the Gov-ernment. To prove themselves good members of civil society they can point to the labor they have performed and the thriving villages and fertile farms into which they have converted, a distant wilderness. They desire to en-joy in peace the fruit for which they have toiled. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN M. BERNHISEL, Delegate from Utah.
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