UTAH AND POLYGAMY.
Correspondence of The N.Y. Tribune.
WASHINGTON. Feb. 4, 1855.
The progress of events denotes that the irre-pealable settlement of the questions embraced in the Compromise of 1850 is soon to be disturbed. The Territorial Government of Utah is one of the fruits of that settlement. As that anomalous community of Mormons grows in importance, the question becomes daily more serious, How shall it be treated? That it is environed by grave em-barrassments, is apparent to the most superficial. The subject came before Congress the other day by indirection, and the opinions expressed, and the votes given, indicate a decided dissatisfaction with the idea of surrendering the reins of gov-ernment of the Utah Territory into the hands of the Mormons. A way of escape from the exist-ing state of things has been suggested by a parti-tion of the Territory among its neighbors on the East and West; extending the limits of Califor-nia and Oregon to the East, and those of Kansas and Nebraska to the West, till they join each other in the heart of Utah. The suggestion is not devoid of merit, and may be found to be the best practicable method of peaceably eradicating the degrading and corrupting doctrines of the Mormon priesthood.
Apropos to this subject, I subjoin a curious and striking extract of a private letter from a lady, which has fallen into my hands, that touches upon a point in the social relations of the Mormons, of exceeding interest, which, in the hands of a capa-ble writer, might be expanded into a tale of sur-passing power. A perusal of the graphic and moving extract referred to, will show that I al-lude to the internal struggles of the early and de-voted Mormon wife, with the fell influences of the religious superstition that holds her in its fatal grasp.
It requires no great insight to perceive that it is the leaven of the womanhood of modern civil-ization among the Mormons, carried thither by them, which preserves that body from the fecu-lence of utter corruption. It is an influence which is hourly growing weaker, as a matter of course, and must ultimately be overshadowed and destroyed by the growth of a system of gross debauchery. I extract from the letter as follows:
* * *—"You ask me to give a little more in detail the incident in the cars, that occurred as we were crossing the Alleghanies, of which I briefly spoke when we met. I could not half tell you the story now, after the vividness with which it impressed me has so nearly passed away, and if I could, it would not pro-duce the effect it did upon me. I heard it after weeks of anxiety had weakened my system, when my long and wearisome journey had left me but the strength of a child, and my restless and excited mind seized upon it in all its reality without the melioration always lent to a subject by our own indifference to, and per-sonal disconnection with it. A wrong done to another becomes an outrage when practised upon ourselves. I had, through watching and fasting, become so etherialized as to lose sight of this selfish difference and to see my neighbor as myself. I felt that all wo-mankind had been insulted and sacrificed in the per-son of 'Margaret.' It was my duty not less than hers to avenge it. I could have sent the aggressor tumbling into the gorge of one of those mountain tor-rents, and considered it but retributive justice.
"The Mormon elder came into our car, near the foot of the mountains, and sat near us. He would have been good-looking if he had looked good. He had a peculiar manner—it indicated such perfect satisfaction with himself and the world. I heard him say he had gone to Salt Lake City before the first furrow had been turned in the ground. I listened, for who is not curious concerning that wonderful exodus? I heard him tell of their great temple and how it went on stone by stone, and with each the power of the devil grew less and lees. How new proselytes came pouring in to swell the host that was waiting 'to re-ceive the Christ when he should come to reign a thousand years upon the earth.' He was a man of no reading. His knowledge was (like Mr. Gradgrind's) confined to 'facts,' but he had a natural gift for con-versation, and gave a rapid and skillful outline of his subject in a way that interested you at once. When the night grew dark he came and sat behind us. He had fallen into the hands of a gentleman whose dex-terity in questioning, led him on to speak freely of himself, and so gradually they came to the 'peculiar institution.' He said the women seldom cared to marry men of their own age, that their affections in-clined toward the priests end elders. This convinced me that if the men are all hypocrites, the women are not wholly so, but that they do this for the exaltation of their souls. My lawyer, (for so I shall call the questioner,) asked whether the women were not jeal-ous of each other, especially the younger ones. The Saint answered, 'No.' 'Some few,' he continued, were a little difficult, but it was mostly confined to the young. To be sure his wife felt it when he mar-ried a second lime, the rest had never cared.' 'Did she care so very much?' continued the lawyer. 'Oh, yes; I thought at first it would have killed her. You see when I became a convert, I did not understand that part of it, because my wife and I had been so happy together. We married early, and had scarce-ly been a day apart. When I wanted to go to Salt Lake she did not incline to go, because she did not see so clearly as I the truths of our great religion—but the idea of my marrying was no hinderance. It did not occur to her as possible, and it was not for a long time after I got there that I thought of it myself.'
"'Margaret did not mix with the people. She re-tained her old Eastern ways and was always at home. I had never let her do much work (her hands were too small for that) She was stately in her form, and she had a queer way of twisting her long hair round her head, so it looked like a crown. The folks said she was proud, and one or two who had daughters asked me why I did not take a wife, and if I were not afraid? So it came upon me gradually, while upon her, you see, it fell like a stroke.'
"'You must have found it difficult to break such a thing to her.'
"'Yes, it was hard to do. But at last I said I will do it on Thursday, and on Thursday evening when I came home she was standing in the garden, and I went and put my arm around her, and told her how it had been revealed to me that I must marry again.'
"'What did she say?'
“’Nothing. Not one word. She just gave one scream, I declare I shall never get that scream out of my ears. I believe I should hear it if I were on the Andes. I thought I heard it a minute ago.'
"The sleet rattled against the windows of our car, and the bleak midnight wind swept down the moun-tains, and I thought I heard it too.
"The Mormon proceeded—'And then she fell like one dead. I thought she was dead, but she came to after a while, and, would you believe it, she cover mentioned the subject to me. I could not find it in my heart to say a thing about it again for more than five months. Meantime she had taken a cold, and did not get strong again. I saw she was wear-ing the thought of it about her like a mourning weed, and so, when the seemed a little better, I talked to her about the great principles of our Faith, and how those to whom the spirit revealed itself must follow its dictates, or be forever cast into Hell. And I told her she need not fear my affection for her would be divided, for I had had a vision, in which it was told me that I should love her forever, and that we should never die, but live together and see the thou-sand years of Christ's reign upon the earth, and be by him rewarded for our obedience and willingness now to cast aside our selfish human will and sacrifice to him.'
"‘Margaret was always a true believer. But I had always been wandering in search of a rock of Faith until I anchored here. I had heard from pulpit to pulpit, such conflicting doctrine, I could lay my hand on nothing that seemed secure, and I think she was unwilling to set me adrift again, and so she con-sented. My parting from her was a dreadful one, for she moaned and wept like one in despair, and--I was fool enough to cry too.'
“’I don't wonder,' said his interlocutor. 'If is hard wholly to subdue nature, even at the call of duty;' and he gave a low laugh.
"'When I came back,' continued the Mormon, 'it had been just so all the time. She had never eaten and never slept, but only walked up and down, always, hour after hour'
"'Well, how did she get used to it?’
“'She retained the house I had first built, of course. It was large, and we had no children, and she was very lonely, for I was necessarily much away from her. I went as often as I could, but I married in quick succession two others, and so we were much separated, and she fretted in my absence. At last it was this, or she saw the folly of resisting her fate; she got quiet in her mind—used to it in fact. People do get used to anything, you know. When the iron force of circumstances presses them on every side, and they do not know where or how to resist, they as least grow quiet. She took it into her head, after a while, that she would not live very long, and she said it was not worth while to be separated so much the little time she was here, and if I pleased, the families might all come and live together. I told her she was sensible, and getting used to things. But she only said something to herself about the collapsing sides of an iron shroud, pressing out her life. It sounded like poetry. She always had a way of pick-ing up such odd things out of books.'
"'Did she get well?'
"'No, not yet. Indeed her cough is rather worse, and she is more feeble, but she seems happy enough. She is very kind to every one, especially the two little children, and she will get better when the spring comes. I know she will, because it has been revealed to me that she is to live and dwell with me a thousand I years when Christ shall reign and judge the world.'"
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