IMPORTANT FROM UTAH.
"Rob me the Exchequer!"
A GREAT COUNTERFEITING SCHEME EXPOSED.
From Our Own Correspondent.
CAMP FLOYD, U. T., July 14, 1859.
Last week I informed you of the charge of embezzlement of public funds which had been brought against Dr. Forney, Superintendent of Indian Affairs of this Territory. Heretofore the Doctor has been noticeable chiefly for the charitable and lenient view he is disposed, like his patron, the President, to take of the peccadilloes of this saintly people. His recent financial operations have, since I last wrote, been quite eclipsed and thrown into the shade. An attempt to rob the Treasury in a mere direct and dashing style, and on a much more magnificent scale, has been brought to light, and clearly traced to the Tithing-House, on the very premises of the saintly and prophetic Brigham. According to the programme of this operation, the United States Treasury was, by means of forged and counterfeit drafts, purporting to be drawn by Deputy Quartermaster-General G. H. Crosman, on the United States Sub-Treasurer at St. Louis, to be tapped to an indefinite amount.
I give you a condensed summary of the evidence relative to this matter, decided this morning before Chief Justice Eckles, sitting as a committing magistrate.
The first witness examined was a man of the name of Brewer, a Mormon, who, I am informed, has three wives here and two in the States. He was himself a prominent particeps criminis; but, after having been detected and arrested, concluded the best thing he could do was to turn State's evidence.
According to his statement, he was approached some time during the month of May by a man of the name of McKenzie, (who is in custody), an engraver, and the feasibility of raising a large amount of money by counterfeiting and forging Quartermaster drafts, a number of which were in circulation in the Territory, was broached; it was intimated to witness (Brewer), by McKenzie, that he (McKenzie) had already had certain conferences in relation to the matter with Mr. John Kay, who is Territorial Marshal, and that Kay thought that they could make a good thing of it. Witness said to McKenzie that he believed John Kay to be a d--d rascal, and declined to have anything to do with him. He furthermore told McKenzie that before he decided what he should do in the matter, he wished to see and consult with a friend of his, John M. Wallace. He saw Wallace subsequently, and it was arranged that the plate for the draft should be engraved by McKenzie, and that Wallace (who is a gambler, living in Fairfield or Frogtown, adjoining Camp Floyd), should procure a draft to serve for a copy. It was furthermore agreed that after the plate was engraved, and the blanks printed and filled up, they should be put in circulation by Wallace. He was to be furnished with amounts of thirty thousand dollars at a time, and was to give to McKenzie a writing, or due bill, binding himself to pay over two-thirds of the amounts realized. McKenzie is an engraver, and his shop is in the Tithing-House. The Tithing-House is in the same inclosure with Brigham Young's residence. It belongs either to Brigham Young or the Church, witness could not say which.
Some time after the preliminary arrangements had been made as above stated, witness met McKenzie, and was told by him that he thought of giving up the undertaking, whereat witness expressed his grief, more on account of his friend Wallace than his own, for Wallace's hopes, as he supposed, had been raised to a high pitch. McKenzie expressed some conscientious scruples about the matter, and declined proceeding any further in it until he could consult Brigham Young on the subject. He did go to see Brigham to lay the matter before him; but found him very much occupied, and received some answer from him, the nature of which the witness did not explain very satisfactorily. At any rate, McKenzie determined to go on with the undertaking and carry it out at all hazards. The profits of the transaction, either in whole or in part, were to go to the Church. McKenzie continued to work at the plate; but there was another difficulty to be overcome, and that was to procure paper similar to that upon which the genuine drafts were printed. McKenzie said that a son-in-law of John Kay had some that would answer, and that Kay could get it from his daughter; but this was not done. The witness, (Brewer), at length got the paper upon which the drafts were actually printed. He procured it from John D. Watt, the Church reporter. This Watt, by the way, is the man, who, among other wives, has his own half-sister, who was previously divorced from Brigham Young. After the plate was completed, and the blanks printed, and some wholly, and some partially filled up, witness came up to Camp Floyd, where Wallace lived, who was to put them into circulation, and brought with him the blanks and the engraved plate. There he was induced by Wallace to pass one of the counterfeit drafts for the sum of three hundred and odd dollars on a man named Lenz, and the next morning he was arrested upon Wallace's premises by the Deputy United States Marshal, and the plate and counterfeit drafts which be had brought out, were found where they bad been put by Wallace, to whom he had given them. It was the understanding between, the parties that no drafts for sums less than five hundred dollars should be put in circulation, in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of the people of the Territory. It was thought that Wallace, being a gambler near Camp Floyd, would have opportunities of passing them in circulation without creating suspicion.
The next witness examined was Brevet-Maj. Fitz-John Porter, of Gen. Johnston's staff, who testified that some time in the month of May last, John M. Wallace sought an interview with Gen. Johnston, and disclosed to him that overtures had just been made to him, Wallace, by certain Mormons to engage in undertaking to defraud the Government to a large amount by means of forged and counterfeited drafts purporting to be drawn by Col. Crosman on the Sub-Treasurer at St. Louis. Wallace wished to be advised as to the best course for him to pursue, whether to withdraw from the combination at once, or to continue to lead them on, until conclusive evidence could be obtained, the guilty parties arrested, and the scheme broken up. He was advised to follow this latter course, which he did with great skill and adroitness, keeping the Government officers promptly advised of every step that was taken. Several letters, written to him from Salt Lake City by Brewer, and advising him of the progress of the scheme, were sent to headquarters as soon as received. At length, when everything was ready, Brewer was induced to come out to camp with the plate and counterfeit drafts, one of which he passed upon Mr. Lenz, the thing having been previously arranged by Wallace. Everything being ready for the arrest of Brewer, and the capture of the plate and counterfeit drafts, a warrant was obtained against McKenzie, who was in the city, and Major Porter started up at night, arriving in the city early in the morning, where the warrant was placed in the hands of the United States Marshal, who at once arrested McKenzie at his residence.
Col. Crosman was then examined, whose testimony was merely confirmatory of that of Maj. Porter.
J. M. Wallace testified to having been approached by Brewer in regard to raising a large amount of money by counterfeit drafts. He appeared to entertain the proposition favorably, for the purpose of putting him off his guard; explained how he had led him on, until he (Wallace) was informed that the plate and blanks were all ready, when he went up to Salt Lake City, where he met Brewer and McKenzie; and that the latter remarked (in reference to the completion of the plate, &c) that he had done his part, and it now remained for Brewer and Wallace to carry out the remainder of the undertaking. At Wallace's suggestion Brewer came up to Camp Floyd, bringing with him the plate and counterfeit drafts, one of which he was led on to pass upon Lenz; whereupon he was arrested and the whole scheme exposed.
Great credit is due to Wallace for the zeal and adroitness displayed by him throughout this transaction. McKenzie, the engraver, is a very superior workman, and the counterfeit got up by him and Brewer was so perfect that Col. Crosman himself would have been imposed upon by it had he not been previously put upon his guard.
The John Kay spoken of by Brewer, in his testimony, as "a d--d rascal," with whom he would have nothing to do, is the Territorial Marshal, to whom Gov. Cumming addressed a proclamation some time ago commanding him to disperse certain rebellious armed bodies supposed to be then infesting the mountains. It was stated in my presence, but a day or two since, by a man whom I believe to be worthy of credit, who has been some years a resident of this Territory, and is now a Deputy United States Marshal, that when he came to Salt Lake City, in 1852, this Kay made a formal proposition to him to go into the counterfeiting business, stating to him that he had all the necessary dies, apparatus, &c., and that the production of the bogus coin would not cost them more than $25 in $100. The proposition was declined, but the country shortly afterward was flooded with base coin—not purporting, it is true, to be of the Federal currency, but of the Deseret stamp. Many of your readers may not be aware that, among the other sovereign prerogatives assumed by the Mormon Hierarchy, that of coining money is one; that they have issued quite a number of gold coins, stamped with a beehive and the legend, "Holiness to the Lord," and purporting to be of the value of $5. At first, the coins put into circulation were pure enough, but, before long, the Territory was flooded with base metal. The firm of Livingston, Kinkead & Co., Gentile merchants, doing business at Salt Lake City, having their suspicions at length aroused, sent one of the coins to the Philadelphia Mint to be analyzed, where it was found to be worthless. Having about a thousand dollars of the stuff in their safe, one of the firm immediately went to Brigham Young, and threatened exposure, &c., whereupon the Prophet redeemed every dollar of it. This statement I have direct from one of the firm.
Mr. Greeley arrived at Salt Lake City by the last mail. He has not yet paid us a visit at Camp Floyd.
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