UTAH AND MORMONISM.
To the Editor of The N. Y. Tribune.
SIR: "Shall Utah be admitted into the Union as a "sovereign independent State ?' "If not, on what "grounds can it justly and legally be refused ?" Im-portant queries demand direct answers. When ques-tions must be met, it is well they be met at once.
The question of their admission, however, is not the one to be immediately determined. It is generally un-derstood that when a "sufficient, number" are located, frame a constitution, that is republican, and apply for admission that then "Congress may admit new States into this Union." The first question is, what will con-stitute this sufficient number ? I do not think that there is any statute that settles this point. The basis of representation was originally one Member of Con-gress for every 60,000 inhabitants; this is now dimin-ished to one for every 90,000. Consequently, if Utah had 90,000 inhabitants she would be entitled to one re-presentative in Congress. But other States have been admitted with less population than either of the above numbers. It remains, therefore, optional with Con-gress to say what shall be this "sufficient population" in Utah. It then becomes an interesting question to know what is the real population of Utah. In the Spring of 1856 a census was gotten up at Salt Lake City by which the Territory was reported to contain over 76,000 inhabitants. They delayed copying the different returns till the day before the delegates were to leave. As it needed copying, I, with others, was requested to assist; and I knowingly affirm that the census is an outrageous, deliberate and intentional falsehood. In a small valley (Cache Valley), occupied by the "Church herd," and in which were never more than a dozen herdsmen at any one time, they have repre-sented over seven hundred persons. In the returns of a settlement called Battle Creek, they have returned the names of persons who were dead; many who were then in England, but "expected to come ;” some whom I know to have died in London; many names of persons not yet born, "but who ought to be, and will be, by and by !" They have also adopted this method in one ward of Salt Lake City, over the returns of which I looked. The Census Agent of an-other ward also told me that he also thus exaggerated in his return, and that he was instructed to do so! These things I am cognizant of personally, and have every reason to believe that all the returns were got-ten up in the same style. The avowed and freely-ex-pressed design of this ridiculous fabrication was to re-turn names for a far larger population than was really in the Territory, and thus to make a more imposing figure before Congress. To the the correctness of these census returns each Agent made affidavit; but affidavits and oaths are small matters when the " in-terests of the Church" are at issue ! From the num-ber of inhabitants returned in 1851—which, although exaggerated in the same manner, but not to the same extent, I accept as the basis of calculation, and adding to it the natural increase and emigration, and deducting from it the proportionate mortality, and a heavy emigration from Utah, which the "author-ities" have always appeared studious to conceal—at the very outside there cannot be more than 50,000 per-sons living in Utah Territory. All these even are not in the Territory; many of their men are absent on missions in various parts of the world; many families represented as being in Utah, are settled, some in Southern Oregon, some in Eastern California, some in Western Nebraska, but all represented as being in Utah! In Utah, it should also be remembered, that the vast mass of the people are women and min-ors; that the men are mostly foreigners, who have been in the United States only three or four years, not long enough to become naturalized and entitled to a vote. Many of them have not taken the first steps toward naturalization; and many do not intend, being willing to become "citizens of Mormondum, but not "at all inclined to become citizens of the United "States.'
They did not come here, as I said in my last, in the love of America or republicanism. It is not love for these institutions that keeps them here. All their pre-dilections are in favor of monarchy. All their affec-tions still remain firmly united to the lands of their nativity. Were it not for the restraining influence of their religion, thousands of them would return to Eu-rope to-morrow. It behoves Congress to demand what are the political tendencies of that religion; as it is tor Congress to say how many such inhabitants shall form a "population sufficient" to demand admis-sion into the Union as a State. Men who are unac-quainted with their rights and careless of their privi-leges as American citizens; who are led at the beck of declamatory stump orators, or twisted round the fin-gers of every demagogue; who are but the weight on the lever of political iniquity and corruption, may have the right to demand a hearing and to hold as-cendency; but foreigners from birth, foreigners from inclination, aliens by profession and religion, should come in very imposing numbers and a very formida-ble attitude, in order to extort from Congress preroga- tives and power. They certainly should thus come to justify the bravado of Brigham Young, "We will be "a sovereign and an independent State in the Union, "or an independent nation by ourselves." (Deseret News, Sept. 17, 1856.)
Not only should there be sufficient numbers, but even sufficient members cannot compel admission. "New "States may be admitted into this Union by vote of "Congress." The framers of the Constitution could not have surmised the existence of any similar cir-cumstances to those of Utah. Could they have done so, those advocates of liberty would have made that freedom incompatible with crime. Not doing as much as they might in these premises they did as much as they could. They left the admis-sion of new States optional with the Congress of the Confederacy. Being optional, it is not a question of necessity, but expediency. Before Congress ad-mits Utah it should be asked, Ought Utah to be ad-mitted ? Will it be to the honor of the Union, the benefit of the country, the advantage of the Utah people themselves, or to the advancement of the great interests of the human race of whom all Gov-ernments should be conservators ? The very fullest information and the most rigid scrutiny of facts should be required.
Utah is now a Territory; as such, it is under the control, to a certain extent, of the General Govern-ment. If anything can be done to root out polygamy and other evils, it can be done now. If it cannot be done in Utah as a Territory, to admit Utah as a State will entirely shut it out of all jurisdiction and control. Be the conservative influence of a Judicatory or an Executive little or much at Utah, it is so much influ-ence against crime. It has not been so much as it might have been; may be made more than it has been. To admit them is to give them the unquestion-able right to appoint whom they please, act as they please, conceal what they please, and their isolated state will enable them to sing unnoticed and unknown. It not only shuts out all intervention, but it confirms, by a sort of political acquiescence, their doings. Either their doings are right or wrong. If right, they ought not to be blamed, accused and dragged before the tribunal of the public; if wrong, the powers that be ought to act for the suppression of the evils. But there are two kinds of wrong—ethical and legal. If not to be legally reached by legal authority, they may be ethically reached through legal authority. If they be reached at all, it must be through some authority. To give up all right to intervene is to give up all hope of reaching them. To admit them as a State is to give up all right to intervene, and therefore they should not be admitted.
"But the Judges are unable to discharge their duty." Some of them, if not threatened, cannot but have felt intimidated. Unsupported and unprotected, many things have been left undone which would have been attended to if they had been supported aud protected. Of course they have done some and much good. Their question is not, What is the condition of Utah now ? but, What would have been its condition if we had not gone ? Had the Mormons been entirely neglected and allowed to act as they please—and it is easily con-ceivable how they would nave pleased to act—from the commencement till now, Utah would have been entirely a den of murderers and thieves. Leave the Mormons from now, henceforth, to legislate for them-selves and to execute their own will unobserved; shut out from them the public eye, and shield them from the public voice, and the result will be similar. Con-gress owes it to the many honest, honorable, sincere Mormons themselves to take cognizance of and action in the matter. To admit them into the Union is for Congress to give up the power to do their duty. A Governor and Judges can exercise no legal interfer-ence with the Mormon religion, or even with the prac-tice of polygamy. Until polygamy be made a crime by making a law against it, it cannot be punished as a crime. Popular indignation may denounce and pro-test, but cannot inflict punishment. The Congress of the United States may not be empowered, perhaps, to make such a law; the Legislature of Utah, most of whom are polygamists, will certainly never pass such a law. I am not sure that polygamy, as it is no crime against law, can be any legal hindrance to their admission If they be rejected, it must be on other grounds than polygamy. They urge this practice as a part of their religion; it is not to them—because not in any State where it is prohibited—a crime. If not guilty of crime, so far as polygamy is concerned, they are legally innocent. It would be a very dangerous precedent for Congress to establish to reject an innocent people because of their religion. As polygamy is not good and tenable ground for refusal, if they be refused, it must be on other ground. But while a governor and judges might be unable to legally interfere, they still have much influence as men—much moral influence from their high positions. As men they can induce and persuade—as officials they can aid and protect after they have persuaded. While not transcending their authority as officials, they ought not to neglect all their influence as men confided in by the American people.
If Congress be resolved utterly and forever to put down polygamy, repeal the act organizing Utah Terri-tory, annex the Southern portion to California and the Northern to Oregon; let California and Oregon de-mand assistance from Congress to enable them to en-force the law; if opposition be tendered, let martial law be proclaimed, and a force sufficient be sent to Salt Lake to arrest the polygamists and punish them. I am not sure but this course would not only effectu-ally terminate matters, but prevent future and inevita-ble bloodshed, for to that, I am certain, matters will come at last. If this course be energetic and Jack-sonian in appearance, there is no question of Congress being supported by a vast and almost universal major-ity at home, to say nothing of the sympathy of the world abroad.
Mormonism, whatever its outside pretensions, is in reality a system of conspiracy. Among other of the secret oaths and covenants made in the solemnization of their "endowment mysteries," one is, to continually cherish enmity against the United States Government for the unavenged murder of Joseph Smith, to unite with the Church, or to do all you can (I forget the exact reading of the oath) to overturn and destroy it, and, if unable to do anything yourself, in any case, to teach your children to feel and act thus, that they may accomplish what you intend. The Mormons may quibble as to the exact words, but such was the idea and intention of the obligation. It was accompanied by a sign and token, and the penalty, either for di-vulging or refusing to assist "when the set time should be come," was DEATH! I feel such an oath and so administered, can neither be obligatory in the eyes of God or upright men; and as I will neither help in its accomplishment nor "teach my children to do so," it can be no less right to divulge it and break it entirely, than in part. The misprision of treason is treason itself. To conceal crime is to connive at it, and that is to share the guilt and to accept the respon-sibility of the criminals. As to the penalty, I have but one duty to God and the world, and in the hands of God and the world I confide my safety. The oath was administered to myself, my wite and some others, by an apostle, in the presence of Brigham Young, H. C. Kimball, and others of the leading men, aud was in the midst of other obligations and ceremonies, of which more anon. However many and vehement be the declarations of Brigham Young as to Mormon love for America, Americans and their institutions, there are thousands who live at Salt Lake know how utter-ly such talk is mere mockery, and who feel a constant hope and a constant determination to do all they can to fulfill the above oath. Se-cret Mormonism is an autocracy. Brigham is "King;" he calls himself and is called such. He claims to hold his power from God, and cannot be questioned by man; that men have but one duty, and that is implicit and immediate obediance. The annals of the world can produce but one anal-gous instance of despotism and servility, and that is the Grand Lama of Thibet. As absolute, unquestionable authority over the property, person, life, of his followers is taught and exercised by King Brigham. It is the ultimatum of Mormon pol-icy to make this secret organization the model and the moulder of the world They are superstitious enough to believe that the time will come when they can do so. They even publicly declaim that their outside system shall rise on the war-worn wreck of all other systems; their external polity shall increase into power till it can assume their secret form; and then, say the Moimons, " Brigham shall be King of the world; Jo-'seph Smith shall be Brigham's God, Jesus be Jo-"seph's God, Adam be Jesus's God, and Jehovah be "God to Adam." This may sound, Sir, a farago of nonsense; but it is the Mormon faith, zealousy taught, sincerely believed, and thousands of children are being brought up and educated in such infamous absurdities. Full of this faith, and hoping to share in the temporal glories of such a kingdom, hundreds of their elders are willing to suffer all kinds of hardships in preach-ing, and thousands of neophytes in believing it. To keep up this faith the "authorities in Zion" declaim against American doing, as all readers of The News are aware, and denounce all Congressional interference with the consummation of their dreams.
Either Brigham and the other leaders of Mormonism believe or do not believe their pretentions. If they do, they are in that particular certainly weak-minded; if they do not, they are imposing on the world, and are therefore knaves. To admit Utah as a State is, therefore, to surrender it over into the hands of either designing knaves for the furtherance of their own in-famous objects, or to weak- minded people to work out their own delusion and ruin. From both such issues, I opine it the duty of Congress to protect Utah. I may intrude on your columns with a paper on the sup-pression of Mormonism at a future period.
P. S.—I should like to meet "Merchant of Iowa," if he will leave his address in an envelope to me at THE TRIBUNE office. And am yours truly,
New-York, May 21, 1857. JON. HYDE, jr.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.