New-York Daily Tribune.
THE POLITICAL SECRETS OF MORMONISM.
Correspondence of The N. Y. Tribune.
GREAT SALT LAKE CITY, U. T., MAY 30.
I am induced to offer to the readers of THE TRIBUNE a few remarks on the practical working of Mormonism, inasmuch as a Convention has been held, "counseled by the Prophet, Seer "and Revelator" of the Church, for the purpose of taking such steps as shall insure the speedy admission of "Deseret" (the land of the honey bee), into the sisterhood of States. The view taken by the wiseacres of the Mormon Zion is, that all that is necessary in the premises is, to adopt a Constitution and knock at the national door; and that then there will be no one who will, or, as they say—with the guaranties of the Constitution—who can oppose their admission. They say, in effect, "Has not our champion, 'the Little Giant,' rewarded our devotion to his political interests, by his Kansas and Nebraska bill and does not that bill, as the Hon. Everett of Conn. foresaw, allow us to regulate our own 'domestic institutions' (Slavery and Polygamy) without any interference on the part of Congress? Can those who voted for that bill who voted for it, too, when they were asked, What would they do with Utah when she applied for admission—can they, we say, refuse us the same privileges they grant other Territories?"
But I will not stop to inquire whether the spirit and letter of that sacred document say, that, with necessary qualifications, new States may or shall be admitted. I will not stop to inquire whether that liberty of conscience guaranteed to us can be so far stretched as to protect, a so-called religious community in such diabolical rites and ceremonies as would put to blush the nefarious rites once celebrated in the Temple of Ceres.
The times seem pregnant with circumstances favorable to the desire of the "Latter Day Saints." Just on the eve of a Presidential election, while the public mind is excited and divided by party politics—while, by the real interests of the country is but too often meant the interest of party—just at a time when the patriot might be induced to overlook the importance of such a requisition by his efforts to keep clear the ship of State from entangling alliances, filibustering and actual engagements—at a time when the demagogue, for personal considerations and political advancement, would readily espouse any cause, regardless of consequences, alike indifferent whether his acts would perpetuate our free institutions or establish a damning precedent, utterly indifferent to the consequences incident to the establishment of a sovereign Theo-democratic State—just at such a conjunction they ask, or rather, demand, admission into the Confederacy. This, too, coupled with the greatest moral insult ever thrown into the face of an intelligent Republic whose progress, so far, has depended upon free and unrestricted suffrage, entire independence, and the moral and intellectual attainments of her sons. They ask you to ingraft upon the Union polygamy, "which they call a "Heaven-born institution," with all its concomitant vices and corruptions. They ask you, by your acts, to drag from her elevated position the American matron, and degrade her to the level of an Asiatic slave. They would thus, with your assistance, corrupt and poison the very fountain, the very source of our virtue, our chivalry and our patriotism.
I am aware that to some it may seem incredible that a community embracing, as this does, a re-electable portion of American citizens, should be absolutely governed by one will. To solve this it will be necessary to understand the nature of their religion. The superficial observer or reader would readily suppose that it differed not materially from other religious sects save in polygamy; that even in their "Revelations" there was nothing binding when they conflicted with the reason and good sense of its members; that still less should the edicts of their Prophet be implicitly obeyed when those edicts conflicted with their sworn duties as judges and jurors. But such alas, is the fact. And, when rightly understood the Oriental feature loses part of its deformity by contrast with others as degrading to man, and inimical to our Government. There is a light within the Temple, not intended for vulgar eyes. I will not give you all their forms and ceremonies in their "Endowments" at this time, which are part and parcel of the "ordinances of the “House of the Lord." Suffice that in one of their degrees the candidates are made to kneel at the altar, and with the right hand supporting and the left hand covering the Holy Bible, Book of Mormon and Book of Doctrine and Covenants, they there take upon themselves an oath to obey the Council, even should that Council at the time conflict with what they deem right and proper. They abrogate and annul all allegiance to this and all other Governments. They swear to avenge the murder of their Prophet. It is their oath that makes them Mormons, not the observance of the simple ordinances and sacraments taught and given us by Him "who spake as never man spake."
I would remark, that while the founders of our Republic avowed the principle that we were capable of self-government—and successive years of prosperity and national importance have more than verified it—these peculiar people utterly and practically deny it. An admission on their part, that, with their integrity and good sense, they could legislate for themselves, would destroy the very foundation of their fabric. For, they profess to have restored to them the living, vital power of the Priesthood; and, as a natural consequence, they must give up their wills to him on whom the mantle falls. Should any man offer for office, or advocate any principles without first having received the sanction of the Prophet, or the sanction of their High Council, both he and his pretensions would be blasted. If a theocracy is established—and even if the word demos is attached thereto—it must be apparent to every reflecting mind that all and everything must emanate from the head of the Church. Should this be doubted, I call your attention to all their public acts. Take the Legislature, for instance. Every session H. C. Kimball is elected President of the Council, and J. M. Grant Speaker of the House without any opposition; unanimous votes they invariably receive. These worthies are the Prophet's counselors, and, with him, constitute the First Presidency of the Church. Woe betide that member whose temerity should induce him even to nominate any other. Politically and religiously (they are here synonymes), he would, to use their own significant cant, "be handed over to "the buffetings of Satan." Not a bill or grant emanating from that body—from the most trivial to the most important—from the taking away ferries from old mountaineers who have lived in these vallies for thirty years, to the establishment of impost duties, but first receives the approbation of their Prophet. Signing them after their passage is a mere form. This course accounts for the harmony and unanimity which they boast so much of. Thus, while Egypt's benighted conclaves are divided in feeling, sentiment and policy, the Mormons speak, act and think as one man.
They have at length adopted a Constitution of the Katy-did and Katy-didn't, school. It may be a Slave State and it may be a Free state after its admission. These contingencies are the golden balls thrown on your Olympic courser; but woe to the racer whose eye is attracted from the mark of rectitude by them. If it were Brigham's policy to have this a Slave State (African I mean), it certainly would be such, notwithstanding three-fourths of our population are foreigners of that class who readily affiliate and sympathize with the negro. But African Slavery, of all kinds, suits him least. It is White Slavery, of deeper dye and more degraded form than this or even Russian serfdom, that suits best his purposes.
To you at a distance the ramified extent of his influence may seem incredible. Not a verdict of any importance in the United States District Courts but is decreed in his Council. This may startle some of your readers, and cause them to doubt the veracity of your writer. They may readily ask, Have we not United States officers in Utah, and would they not report if such is the fact? But not only is so much true, but more. In the trial of the Payute Indians for the murder of Captain Gunnison, when the indictment charged them with murder, the evidence all went to establish it, and not a single witness was sworn on the part of defense; and when Chief-Justice Kinny, in his charge to the jury, told them they must bring in a verdict of guilty or acquittal, Brigham Young sent word by one of his pets to the jury, (as one of them then and there acknowledged), to bring in a verdict of manslaughter—which was accordingly done. Judge Kinny was too timid to finally free himself from all blame by remanding the jury; and Colonel Steptoe was also too fearful to avail himself of the powers vested in him by virtue of his "secret mission" to avenge the murder of a brother officer in a summary manner. Another instance was the murder, on the bench, in the suburbs of this city, by one man named - Sharp, of a private soldier belonging to Colonel S.' s command. Sharp made his brags that he had killed the damned Gentile, and the horse the soldier rode was returned to Government—the "Kraal" Why was not that re- ported? It was policy probably. Let it not invalidate anything I may say because United States officers fail to report the many outrages committed not only on citizens and persons in transit, but on law decency and justice. Here they have a Probate Court, self-constituted, in open violation of the organic act on which United States cases, high crimes and the like, are tried, sitting under the eyes of each District Judge; and why is not that fact reported? They say it is not their place to indict—it is the business of the Grand-Jury. But have they ever charged a grand-jury to find a true bill against such judges, jurors, officers and the like connected therewith? There is but one solitary exception on record, and that was in the case of the Hon. W. W. Drummond, and his charge to them completely failed. This plea on the part, of some, and failure on the part of Judge D. will serve to open your eyes to a fact I adverted to, that when their sworn duties as jurors conflict with their obligations to the fraternity, the former become null and void.
Another reason why officers fail to open the eyes of the States to facts as they exist is, the majority of them are Mormons. The Governor, Secretary, United States Marshal, one Supreme Judge, one Indian Agent, one Indian black-smith, and all the Clerks and Deputy United States Attorneys are Latter-Day Saints; and can you expect them to report? Another reason is, in many of the Gentile officers sent here are men of seven principles—"five loaves and two fishes." They come to speculate, and, as such, have but little moral courage or character. They discover, after having been here a short time, that there is no "opening for enterprising men with small capital" in the political line—that should this ever be admitted as a State, all their dreams of standing, like a Cass or a Benton, as a champion for it in the Senate-chamber must fade away. They have not the Latter-Day shibboleth which would admit them to that distinction. They speculate money matters—try to make it in one way, to meet their losses in another. At last they retire from this country with Brigham's patriarchal blessing—we may hope, to that obscurity which is their legitimate sphere.
It would be a matter of the greatest surprise and astonishment to the people of the States, could they only peep into this our Mecca, and see where the confidence and patronage of the Government is placed. Many curious things would here be observed. On one corner may be seen a large three-story Gothic building, whose proportions would attract even the admiration of the Gothamites, containing sixty spirituals (formerly called concubines) under lock and key, prohibited from visiting or receiving company; all these belonging to one man, and that man fed from the Treasury of the United States—that man the Governor of this Territory—that man who, nearly two years since, defied Frank Pierce to turn him out of office, and who, a few weeks since, reverted to this fact as an evidence of his prophetic foreknowledge. Here again may be seen two neat cottages evidencing the fact that their owner is more rural in his tastes than the Governor. These cottages contain six women belonging to, and fed from the fees of the United States Marshal. At short, not magnificent, distances, are hundreds of houses, containing from six to twenty concubines each, owing to their ability and service rendered in building up the kingdom. Now they ask you to admit them, and thus legalize their system. May I not hope the American people will pause and reflect before taking such a step—one which would dim the luster of our national greatness; which would bring with it present disgrace and future infamy—a step which time with it’s finger of scorn would point at as the blackest page in our history. VERITAS.
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